Southwest Airlines Pilot Hat Badge 2nd Issue Type I
San Francisco, CA 1946-1968
In 1946, investors, many of which were Hollywood notables, got into the airline business, pending government approval. They were awarded a three-year experimental charter from the Civil Aeronautics Board on May 22, 1946 for their feeder service. Scheduled passenger service under the name Southwest Airways began on December 2, 1946, using war surplus C-47s, converted for civilian use. The initial routes were situated along the Los Angeles to San Francisco corridor. The airline name changed to Pacific Air Lines on March 6, 1958. Stiff competition from large rival Pacific Southwest Airlines was a factor in Pacific Air Lines joining forces with Bonanza Air Lines and West Coast Airlines in a three-way merger, forming Air West in 1968. Air West, later Hughes Airwest, merged into Republic Airlines in 1980, which became part of Northwest Airlines in 1987, and finally part of Delta Airlines in 2008.