Air Florida operated jet service within Florida cities, but in 1978 it started flying beyond Florida and into other states. Air Florida was able to have a large presence on the Northeast-to-Florida market for quite some time during the 1970s and 1980s.
On January 13, 1982, an Air Florida Boeing 737 (#N62AF) en route to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, crashed into Washington, DC's 14th Street Bridge and fell into the Potomac River shorty after taking off. A total of 74 passengers and crew died, as well as five motorists; only four passengers and one crew member survived. It was discovered that the cause of the crash was that the plane's engines had been frozen by the snow just prior to the crash. Despite the freezing weather and snowy conditions, the crew failed to activate the anti-ice systems.
Air Florida tried several times to buy out Western Airlines during the 1980s, to increase their presence in the West and begin flights to Mexico and Western Canada. However, the negotiations with Western, which eventually went to Delta Airlines, only got Air Florida 16 percent of the California based company.
Air Florida eventually folded during the late 1980s.