Pacific Northern Airlines

Pacific Northern Airlines (PNA) started as Woodley Airways in 1934 with a single airplane and a valuable airmail contract. Arthur G. Woodley, a pioneer known for his integrity, colorful language, and quick temper, founded it. Arthur was a dedicated supporter of his airline, employees, and passengers. Woodley Airways significantly contributed to air travel in Alaska, including creating its own communications system, utilizing instrument flight procedures, and being the first to operate multi-engine aircraft. In the 1940s, Woodley started services from Anchorage to Bristol Bay, Seward, Kenai, Juneau, Cordova, and Yakatut. In 1945, the airline changed its name to Pacific Northern Airline after incorporating with investors and purchasing two Boeing 247s for new routes. The Boeings were replaced in 1946 by four ex-Army C-47s. Alaska Airlines and PNA operated intra-state routes, while PanAm and Northwest operated flights outside Alaska. PNA's big break came in 1951 when they were awarded the Anchorage-Seattle and Juneau-Seattle routes, putting them in direct competition with PanAm and Northwest Orient. 

L749 Pna

PNA initially bought four C-54s/ DC-4s for the routes but switched to three ex-Delta L749s in 1955 for more seats and speed. Two more Connies joined the fleet in 1956, and PNA bought the three leased L749s from Aviation Financial Services. By mid-1957, Constellations operated three times daily on the Seattle - Anchorage route. Between 1957 and 1959, three further L749 aircraft completed the fleet after the two leased Connies returned, enabling the withdrawal of the remaining DC-4s. In May 1959, the CAB granted a Seattle-Kodiak service. 

2556 N1593V L749 PACIFIC NORTHERN SEA 1958 60959 1 xlarge

The Connies regularly operated with Speedpaks on their scheduled passenger service, as although the passenger loads were often low, there was always plenty of cargo to be shipped around Alaska and between Alaska and Seattle.


The Connies always took care of me. We had a mechanic on duty in Kodiak and Juneau, but depended on the reliability of the old Connie at the smaller stops along the route (King Salmon, Homer, Cordova, etc.).”

"Woody" Lloyd Woodward a retired PNA and Western Airlines pilot from Seattle

The lease of an additional L749 made it possible to offer 53 scheduled services throughout Alaska in 1961. 

In 1960 and 1961, PanAm, Northwest Orient, and Alaska Airlines placed jets into service on their Alaska-Seattle routes. PNA tried to keep up with the Constellations but finally bought two B720s in 1962. In 1965, the CAB revoked PanAm's Alaskan routes, citing excessive competition, which put PNA in an even stronger position. This received the attention of Western Airlines, which proposed a merger. Although Western and Pacific Northern had their most profitable years, the CAB agreed to the merger. The two airlines merged in 1967, with Arthur Woodley joining the Western Airlines Board of Directors. Western took over the six Connies and fully integrated them by 1 July 1967. Western merged with Delta Airlines in 1986.

Link to the PNA Connie Tales - Pacific Northern Airlines and the Lockheed Constellation




1955 - 1966
1955 - 1967
1955 - 1967
1956 - 1957
1956 - 1957
1957 - 1967
1958 - 1967
1959 - 1960
1960 - 1967
1961 - 1962
1966 - 1967


Pacific Northern Airlines Constellation Gallery