Air Transport World

Tennessee Airways' conservative manner produces dynamic stability.

Stuart Adcock admonishes the visitor to call him "Stu." Adcock, 41, is greying slightly, tanned and trim; he isn't the image of a staunch conservative.

Listening to him discuss the operating philosophy of his six-airplane Tennessee Airways belies the first-impression image. Beneath his casual dress and dynamic work patterns beat the heart of a conservative airline pilot, operator and owner.

And that balanced persona, perhaps more than any other factor, accounts for the survival and apparent success of seven-year-old Tennessee Airways.

"Uncontrolled growth is not a goal of this airline," Adcock told ATW. "Finding satisfaction in what we started out to do is the goal, and I think we're succeeding."

Tennessee Airways certainly hasn't enjoyed "uncontrolled growth" in recent years. After carrying 4,100 passengers from June 1, 1978, to the end of that year, enplanements shot up to 19,000 the next year. In 1980 and 1981, Tennessee Airways flew 27,000 and 48,000 passengers, respectively. In 1982 the airline flew 50,000 passengers; in 1983 54,000. Enplanements dropped almost imperceptibly last year to more than 53,000 the first decline since Adcock started the company.

However, Tennessee Airways' revenue passenger-miles rose 12.4% to slightly more than 10 million last year, continuing a trend started in 1979. That mileage gain resulted from the application of Adcock's overriding attitude toward his business. "We're still here to pursue business as a local-service airline," he stresses. "That's why we started Knoxville-Dulles (Washington, D.C.) non-stop service last fall. …

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