Provincetown-Boston Airline Pilot Hat Badge 2nd Issue
Boston, MA &
Naples, FL 1949-1986
On November 30, 1949, PBA was founded by John Van Arsdale in Provincetown, Massachusetts. By 1953, PBA expanded with more airplanes and pilots. Since demand for travel to Provincetown and Hyannis falls off during the winter months, in 1957 a cooperation arrangement with Naples Airlines of Naples, Florida was started, allowing the PBA aircraft to be used in Florida during the winter months. By 1958, PBA had taken over Naples Airlines and merged the two airlines together. In the following years, the route network in Florida and New England was expanded. During the early 1980s the company expanded both in the north and in Florida. Soon thereafter, an interline agreement was signed with Delta Air Lines, and in 1982 PBA became a regional feeder fo Eastern Airlines. The expansion and integration of all the new routes, aircraft and personnel brought about technical, safety and administrative shortcomings, which culminated in a crash on September 7, 1984. One person was killed and five injured, in the crash. The aircraft was mistakenly fueled with the wrong type of aircraft fuel. In November 1984, the FAA grounded the airline for this and other safety violations. In December 1984, the airline was allowed to return to the skies, but then days later had another fatal crash. Mechanical problems were to blame for this crash. Confidence in the airline was lost, and the company was losing money. PBA filed for bankruptcy. In May 1986, People Express was approved to take PBA out of bankruptcy. People Express had also purchased Frontier Airlines and Britt Airways. People Express itself started having financial difficulties from its own expansion and difficulty competing with established major airlines. On September 15, 1986, People Express agreed to a merger with Continental Airlines. PBA's CEO ran foul of the FAA for multiple alleged violations of federal regulations, and in the 1980s the airline was effectively put out of business by the FAA, before being purchased by People Express. In September 1988, Texas Air completed the consolidation of PBA with Bar Harbor Airlines. On February 1, 1987, People Express completed their merger with Continental Airlines. Texas Air Corporation controlled both Continental Airlines and Eastern Airlines. PBA flew as Eastern Express and Continental Express. Continental eventually spun off Continental Express into a private company, renamed ExpressJet Airlines. PBA just faded away.