MARCO ISLAND AIRWAYS
Also see The History of Airline Service at Marco Island which features more photos and info about Marco Island Airways.
Marco Island Airways was founded on September 25, 1972 by the Deltona Corporation, an enormously successful real estate development company that owned much of Marco Island on the west coast of Florida. Initially, the fleet consisted of a trio of Beech 99s leased from Texas International. Beechcraft B-99 N1923T is pictured at Miami circa 1972.
A route map based on Marco Island Airways January 1, 1974 timetable. This was the airline's sole route during the 1970s. Map generated by the Great Circle Mapper copyright Karl L. Swartz.
Marco Island Airways began adding ex-Southern Airways Martin 404s to the fleet in September 1973. The airline would eventually fly six of the type and a seventh aircraft was used for spares. N969M is pictured in the original blue, turquoise and gray color scheme.
A stunning view of Martin 404 N968M on the runway at Miami on July 15, 1979. Photo courtesy of Paul Thallon.
Marco Island Airways added a Tampa - Marco Island route in 1980. Martin 404 N968M is seen at Tampa in 1981.
Marco Island Airways became an Air Florida Commuter carrier in Spring 1980, operating contract flights between Miami and Key West. When Southern International Airways went out of business in December 1981, Marco Island Airways assumed their Air Florida Commuter flights to the Bahamas destinations of Freeport, Rock Sound, North Eleuthera, Marsh Harbour, Treasure Cay and Georgetown. Four aircraft were painted in full Air Florida colors with the Marco Island logo on the tail. N968M is seen lifting off from Miami in March 1983. Photo copyright Bob Garrard.
In 1981, Marco Island Airways and Florida Airlines proposed a merger of the two companies to form Air Omni. Although the merger never happened, Air Omni titles were applied to at least two Florida Airlines 404s.
High-frequency flights between Tampa and Lakeland began on August 15, 1981. These are the routes flown at that time, excluding Air Florida Commuter contract services. Map generated by the Great Circle Mapper copyright Karl L. Swartz.
Piper Navajos were flown in addition to the Martin 404s in the early 1980s, mainly on the short-lived Tampa - Lakeland route. Note the shortened Marco Airways titles.
Martin 404 N969M pictured at Miami in 1984, with shortened Marco Airways titles and Air Florida colors.
Following the demise of Air Florida, Marco Airways continued to serve the Bahamas. This route map is based on the July 15, 1984 timetable. Map generated by the Great Circle Mapper copyright Karl L. Swartz.
PBA acquired Marco Airways and its fleet of six Martin 404s on October 5, 1984. Unfortunately, only a month later, on November 10, the FAA suspended PBA's operating certificate over safety violations. Even though the airline returned to the skies a few weeks later, the Martins remained grounded and would never re-enter service. N967M, N40425 and N982M are pictured at Naples on November 12, 1984, two days after the shut-down began. Photo courtesy of Paul Thallon.
Many of the Martins remained parked at Naples through the late 1980s and into the early 90s. N967 is pictured on April 25, 1988. It was scrapped at Naples sometime around 1995. Photo courtesy of Aad van der Voet.
Sad ending: The cockpit section of an unidentified Marco Airways Martin 404 appeared on eBay in 2008. There were no takers.