August 1, 2013

The Lesser Known Airlines of JFK, Part II

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Written by: Jason Rabinowitz
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Yesterday, we published an article called The Lesser Known Airlines of JFK, and we got some great feedback from our readers. We now present to you The Lesser Known Airlines of JFK, Part II.

Copa Airlines

Nope, that's not a United 737. It's Copa!

Nope, that’s not a United 737. It’s Copa!

Panama City based Copa may just be bizzaro United. Well. technically, bizzaro Continental. Back in 1998, Continental snatched up 49% of Copa, and up to 51% in 1999. Ever since, Copa’s livery has been extremely close to Continental’s globe logo. Although United no longer has any ownership stake in Copa, their tail designs remain extremely similar. Copa mostly flies the Boeing 737-800, with a few of the -700 variant, as well as the Embraer E-190. You will only spot their 737s at JFK, however.


A TACA Airbus with the older livery departing JFK off runway 31L

A TACA Airbus with the older livery departing JFK off runway 31L

Transportes Aereos del Continente Americano, or TACA, operating as and merged with Avianca, but with their own identity (at least for now), is the flag-carrier of El Salvador. Got all that? Good. TACA has a fleet mostly comprised of the Airbus A320 family, including a few Embraer 190’s for regional flights. TACA operated between one and four times out of JFK to El Salvador Int’l Airport (San Salvador). In 2008, TACA updated their corporate image and livery, but their old livery can still be seen quite frequently.

Meridiana / Meridiana Fly / Eurofly / Air Italy

Air Italy 767

Air Italy 767

Yes, we have another confusing one. Once flying to JFK as Eurofly with an Airbus A330, Eurofly merged with Meridiana in 2010 forming Meridiana Fly, but the Eurofly livery remained until last year. Starting in the summer of 2013, Meridiana subsidiary Air Italy commenced seasonal service from Naples (Capodichino) to JFK with a Boeing 767-300, replacing Eurofly. Their two 767s are another couple of those planes that just can’t seem to find a stable home. I-AIGJ started life in 1995 with Britannia Airways, alternating custody with Britannia Deutschland until 2002, when Aeris got a hold of it for just over a year before going to Blue Panorama Airlines, then North American Airlines in 2007, finally landing at Air Italy in 2009.

Uzbekistan Airways

Uzbekistan Airways

Uzbekistan Airways

Uzbekistan Airways is scheduled to come into JFK every Thursday and Sunday from Riga International airport in Latvia….usually. Uzbekistan Airways was formed in 1992 and took over the operations of the Uzbekistan division of Aeroflot after the fall of the Soviet Union. Currently, the airline isn’t swimming in cash. If you go to their website, you can’t book a flight. You can, however, buy an airplane. At the top of the page, visitors are presented with a banner, reading “Looking for the right aircraft? Uzbekistan Airways offers a number of aircraft for sale.” What do they have for sale? Three Airbus A310’s, and three Avro RJ85’s. They are also selling “Eastern-made aircraft and engines,” including the Tupolev TU-154M, Tupolev TU-154B, Yakovlev YAK-40, Cargo Ilyushin IL-76TD. Hard times, indeed.

Norwegian Air Shuttle

A Norwegian Air Shuttle Airbus A340, operated by Hi-Fly

A Norwegian Air Shuttle Airbus A340, operated by Hi-Fly

Norwegian Air Shuttle, a European low cost carrier, is one of JFK’s newest airlines, but we really can’t quite count them just yet. While service has officially started this summer, they are operating their service from Oslo, Norway, with a leased Hi-Fly A340. In September, Norwegian plans to start operating the Boeing 787 Dreamliner to JFK, one of the very first airlines to do so, after LOT Polish. Norwegian’s livery is quite distinct, with a red nose section, white fuselage, and individual portraits of noteworthy Scandinavians on the tail. Their first 787 has a portrait of Sonja Henie, Norwegian Olympic Champion.

XL Airways France

Like Air Italy, XL Airways France is a high density, seasonal European tourist airline. While a Delta Airbus A330-300 seats 298 passengers, XL Airways France crams a total of 408 passengers into their aircraft. Comfy! Initially operating flights from JFK to Paris (CDG), XL Airways France has recently expanded service, offering flights to Marseilles in the south of France. XL is often much cheaper than their legacy carrier competitors, but watch the weight of your bags. They have a hard limit of one checked bag of up to 44 pounds, and charge quite a lot if you are over. Unlike most European tourist airlines, however, XL actually advertizes flights in the United States.

Air Europa

Madrid based Air Europa is the third largest airline in Spain, and their only destination in the United States (really, almost all of North America) is JFK, although it is seasonal. Air Europa flies an Airbus A330-200 to New York, but currently has 8 Boeing 787-8’s on order. Once upon a time, Air Europa was the parent company for Air Dominicana, the new flag carrier of the Dominican Republic. Air Dominicana went belly up in 2009.

So, that’s it! Did we leave any airline out that you want to know a bit more about? Let us know!

About the Author

Jason Rabinowitz



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  • ujwaltrivedi

    XL Airways France

    • Jason


  • Joseph Tar Schmidt

    Jet airways maybe? … they’ll be REALLY rare after september …

    • Jason

      not a JFK airline anyore

      • Joseph Tar Schmidt

        ah. September 2012! Nevermind!

  • swisschoc

    Some airlines are strange newcomers, watch out for the Fly by Night, charter companies.

  • gabriel Trabanino

    TACA and Copa are one of the greatest airlines in Latin America. Maybe is no knowed in USA like in Latin america. TACA operates in 3 main hubs: San Salvador San Jose and Lima. Thats why the Peruvian flag in TACA A321. I am a little surprised because TACA has 5 frecuencies to KJFK 3 from san salvador one from San Jose and another one from Guatemala. TACA also flies to Miami Washington Orlando Dallas Newark Houston Chicago Los Angeles and San Fransisco, to los angeles and DC has 3 frequencies daily from san salvador. last in 2013 start to operate a A330 in Lima Peru Air Europa is a low cost from Madrid Spain, I flown on it from madrid-frankfurt and is great to be a low cost airline is really huge airline. But I dont live in NYC and se a lot of planes of American Airlines Delta United etc, I think that the latin airlines go small with it sorry for my bad english Im from san salvador
    Nice day 🙂