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Time Capsule

Alaska International Hercules


Alaska International Air serviced construction of the Alaska Pipeline using Lockheed Hercules aircraft in the late 1960s. It was then called Interior Airways, a cargo carrier that launched in 1946. Shortly after changing its name, the carrier took delivery of this Lockheed L-100-20 Hercules, N105AK, in 1973. The aircraft was first delivered to Delta Air Lines in October 1966.

The civilian Hercules numbers were low.  Production began with 21 L-100s, the first of which was delivered to Continental Air Services in September 1965. Two longer versions—the L-100-20 and the L-100-30—both of which were larger and more economical, only pushed the delivery numbers to 114 at the end of the civilian production cycle in 1992.

The military version, however, is one of the most successful military programs spanning five decades with over 2,300 transports produced. It is still in production as the C-130J Super Hercules by Lockheed Martin.  The extremely versatile aircraft can be used in combat; aerial refueling; search and rescue; firefighting; weather reconnaissance; medevac and resupply of ground forces.

Alaska International Air bought regional passenger/cargo carrier Great Northern Airways in 1980, and in 1984 changed its name to MarkAir. The airline flew Boeing 737-200 combis.

MarkAir bought several air taxis and began codesharing with Alaska Airlines in the 1980s. Although it was Alaska’s largest airline by 1990, Alaska Airlines canceled its codesharing agreement with MarkAir. After expansion to the Lower 48 and competition from Alaska Airlines, the carrier filed for bankruptcy in 1992.  After restructuring as a low-fare carrier and moving its hub to Denver, the carrier finally shut its doors in 1996.

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