Airlines: Flying to Success Upside Down

Under Ted Baker, its penurious founder, National Airlines shielded the windows of its Miami headquarters from the sun with brown wrapping paper. When Lewis Maytag Jr., heir to a washing machine fortune, bought Baker out 15 months ago, the first thing he did was to invest in vertical blinds.

The change was an augury; National has been looking better ever since—and so have its books. For the year just ended, the earnings of the eighth largest U.S. domestic airline climbed to an estimated $6,500,000 from $4,300,000 last year. Only two years ago the...

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