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5 Lost Asian Airlines of the 1990s

by Matt Falcus

Airlines come and go regularly, particularly during times of trial for the aviation industry, or for individual countries.

Often airlines will fall victim to changing trends in air travel or passenger preferences, such as with the widespread rise in the number of low cost carriers from the 1990s onwards.

Asia, like anywhere else in the world, has not been without changes in its airlines, and some did not last very long at all.

Here are 5 lost Asian airlines of the 1990s. How many do you remember?


China Northern Airlines

B-3486 China Northern Airlines Xian Y-7-100

A Chinese domestic and regional carrier which had a varied fleet of narrow- and wide-body aircraft, including Airbus A300s, McDonnell Douglas MD-80s, MD-90s and Airbus A321s.

China Northern was based at Shenyang and existed from 1988 until it was merged into China Southern in 2003.



JetPix (GFDL 1.2 <http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html> or GFDL 1.2 <http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html>), via Wikimedia Commons

While this airline existed from 1979, as the national carrier of the island nation of Sri Lanka, it was in the 1990s that we lost it from our skies when it was rebranded as SriLankan Airlines.

AirLanka had this familiar red and white livery, and operated classic types like the Lockheed TriStar and early Airbus A340s.



Kampuchea Airlines

Kampuchea Airlines (Orient Thai) | Lockheed L1011 Tristar 1 | HS-LTA | Hong Kong International

This airline from modern-day Cambodia lasted from 1997 to 2004, and operated BAe 146 and Lockheed L1011 TriStar aircraft from its Phnom Penh base. It also later leased a Boeing 757 prior to its collapse.


Alyemen Airlines

Perry Hoppe (GFDL 1.2 <http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html> or GFDL 1.2 <http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html>), via Wikimedia Commons

Part of the family tree of what we know today as Yemenia is a series of airlines and names like Alyemda Air and Alyemen Airlines. By the 1990s it was operating aircraft like the Airbus A310 and Boeing 737-200.

In 1996 it was rebranded Yemenia, and is today struggling to survive amid the civil war raging in the country.


China Northwest Airlines

B-2702 British Aerospace 146-100 China Northwest Airlines

Like China Northern Airlines, this was one of the original six carriers founded in 1988 upon the breakup of CAAC. It operated an eclectic mix of aircraft, from the Airbus A300, A310 and A320, to the Tupolev Tu-154, BAe 146 and Xian Y-7 turboprop.

In 2002 China Northwest Airlines was merged into China Eastern Airlines.



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