707 Service på tværs af Atlanterhavet - Historie

707 Service på tværs af Atlanterhavet - Historie

(10/27/58) Pan Am introducerede 707 trans-atlantisk jetfly den 27. oktober, da dens første 707, kaldet "Clipper America", tog til Paris fra Idlewild, New York.

Qantas ’ Transpacific Flight History

Evnen til at flyve langdistance er noget, flere af os tager for givet. Alligevel er det sket i løbet af et liv. For kun hundrede år siden havde ingen fløjet over Stillehavet. Siden fremkomsten af ​​jetfly er transpacifik flyvning imidlertid blevet et meget omstridt rum. Normalt kæmper ingen hårdere end Qantas for et stykke af handlingen. Her er et kig på Qantas ’ transpacific flyvehistorik.


Amerikansk post over Atlanterhavet med landbaserede fly: Del 2, 1942-46

Del 1 af denne rapport sluttede med indvielsen af ​​trans-atlantisk lufttransporttjeneste via Ascension Island, midtvejs mellem Sydamerika og Vestafrika, af United States Army Air Transport Command (ATC).

Når jeg ser tilbage efter krigen var slut, Hærens luftstyrker i anden verdenskrig redigeret af Wesley Frank Craven og James D. Cate afgav denne dom: "Sandsynligvis havde ingen anden flybase, der blev brugt af lufttransportkommandoen, en så strategisk betydning som på Ascension Island."

Da transportflyvninger først begyndte at bruge øen i midten af ​​havet som brændstofstop i juli 1942, blev luft- og grundtjenester i Afrika transporteret af Pan American Airways-Africa Ltd. (PAA-Africa), ATCs hovedentreprenør, men det arrangementet var kun midlertidigt.

Militarisering af PAA-Afrika

General Henry H. "Hap" Arnold, chef for Army Air Forces, havde i februar 1942 udstedt en ordre om at militarisere PAA-Afrika, men ATC manglede tilstrækkelige ressourcer til at overtage disse flyvepladser indtil senere på året. Pan Ams ledere modstod militarisering til den bitre ende, men uden held. Overgangen skete endelig mellem oktober og december.

Jim Hester fortalte mig historien om, hvordan hans afdøde far, George Hester, blev tvunget til at hverve. (Sønnen arvede sin fars passion for at indsamle.) PAA-Africa havde udnævnt George Hester til senior lufttrafikchef på Accra, Gold Coast:

”Min far fik sammen med en række af de andre centrale ledere i Pan Am Africa valget mellem at acceptere en anden løjtnantkommission med det samme i Accra og få sin løn fra Army Air Corps under deres direkte kommando eller blive sat på den næste tilgængelige flyvning tilbage til USA og straks skulle rapportere til sin lokale rekrutteringsstation for at blive optaget i infanteriet som en privatperson. "

Få forbindelse til Linns frimærke -nyheder:

Hester tilbød at underskrive i stedet som en første løjtnant, og hæren accepterede hans tilbud. Han blev optaget den 2. oktober 1942. Kort tid senere blev han beordret til Maiduguri, Nigeria, som eskadrillekommandør på den flyvebase. Mens han var der, skrev den legendariske krigskorrespondent Ernie Pyle en rapport, der var dateret "SOMMEN I AFRIKA", der fortalte, hvordan GI'er på den fjerne forpost var "fuldstændig skilt fra livet, som de kendte det hjemme."

[Denne rejse] tager dig med ind i dele af det dybeste Afrika, som få amerikanere nogensinde havde set før krigen. Det får dig til at indse mere end nogensinde, hvor fuldstændig global denne krig virkelig er ved at stikke ind i de fjerneste og mindste fordybninger.

Næsten overalt finder du nogle amerikanske tropper, fra kun håndfulde op til tusinder. De bekæmper ikke tropper, de er bygmestre og vedligeholdere af flydromer, der slags fanger vores mængder fly og kaster dem videre til den næste station på deres lange træk fra Amerika til Rusland, Indien, Kina. …

På de mest underligt isolerede steder får de post hurtigere hjemmefra, end vi gør i Nordamerika. …

Den øverstbefalende på dette sted er Lt. George Hester fra Tubac, Ariz. Han tilbragte fem år med American Airlines i USA og med Pan American Airways i Mellemamerika, før han kom hertil. Han kan lide sit arbejde og finder livet interessant og fyldigt.

Ifølge Hærens luftstyrker i anden verdenskrig,

Tvungen tilbagetrækning af den panamerikanske organisation fra Afrika påvirkede ikke sine kontraktydelser på den vestlige halvkugle eller dens flyvende båd, og senere C-54 og C-87, operationer på tværs af Sydatlanten til Afrikas vestkyst. Det opererede endda transporter over Afrika til Mellemøsten og Indien, ligesom andre entreprenører, men efter december 1942 brugte alle fly, der krydser Afrika, baser og faciliteter helt under militær kontrol. …

I slutningen af ​​1942 var flåden, der opererede på det transatlantiske spring, blevet øget til 26 fly-ni C-54’er, fire C-87’ere, fire B-24D’er, fem Stratoliners og fire Clippers.

Cannonball Express

Douglas Aircraft Co. leverede den første C-54 (Air Corps-betegnelse for det landbaserede firemotorede DC-4 Skymaster langdistancetransportfly) i juli 1942. En luftvåbenhistoriker kaldte dette fly for "arbejdshesten, hvor lang rækkevidde og en tung belastning var vigtige overvejelser. ”

I august 1942 tildelte ATC to C-54'ere til Pan Am til Sydatlantisk service. Da overgangen til militarisering af PAA-Afrika var næsten fuldført, indgik ATC kontrakt med Pan Am om at betjene B-24'er og C-54'er på en shuttle service fra Miami til Karachi under transportørens nyoprettede Afrika-Orient Division.

Den første gruppe af Afrika-Orient-transporter forlod Miami den 10., 13., 14. og 15. november til et stævne i Natal, Brasilien. Den 16. november tog de fra Natal med 15 minutters mellemrum, fuldt lastet med passagerer, gods og post til Ascension Island på vej til Accra, deres første tankstop på det afrikanske kontinent.

Da disse firemotors transporter kom til luften over Atlanterhavet, var Pan Ams kontraktrute til Indien blevet døbt Cannonball Express-kørslen. Eksistensen af ​​Cannonball var en militær hemmelighed indtil midten af ​​marts 1944, hvor censurens slør blev løftet, så pressen kunne offentliggøre historien. Den 13. marts New York Daily News rapporterede:

Syv dages rundtur fra USA til Nordindien. ... Det er den nye Cannonball Express -rekord, der blev ringet op af Pan American Airways, der opererer under kontrakt for Air Transport Command. Cannonball har krydset Atlanterhavet 2.200 gange og har logget mere end 14.500.000 miles for at flyve for hæren siden november 1942.

Pan Ams eget blad, Nye horisonter, kaldte det "den hurtigste ekspresservice i luftfartshistorien."

Da virksomhedens reklameafdeling senere forsøgte at rekonstruere oprindelsen af ​​navnet, afgav medarbejderne modstridende regnskaber (hvilket måske alle var sandt). Her er to versioner kopieret fra filen Africa-Orient Division i Pan Am-arkiverne ved University of Miami Richter Library:

I den første bemærkede Jim Howley, en operationsdivisionsrepræsentant i Miami, da han fik at vide, at det første fly snart skulle afgå på en ny køreplan længere end tidligere fløjet, ”Åh, denne går igennem på langdistance som en kanonkugle ! ”

I det andet kaldte en Mr.

Uanset hvad der faktisk skete først, stod navnet fast.

En upubliceret ATC -historie fortalte en mere nuanceret version af Cannonball -indvielsen end Pan Ams nye udgivelser:

Mens al korrespondance i efteråret 1942 i forbindelse med denne rute viser Kairo eller Karachi som terminalerne, var det først i februar 1943, at C-54'erne faktisk kom ud over Accra på en regelmæssig plan.

Men i februar havde Cannonball 60 mandskaber, der flyvede 15 fly i døgnåbne relæer, som fra da af omfattede et flertal af Pan Ams sydatlantiske shuttles. Den øgede kapacitet kom ATC -ydelsen til gode på hele ruten.

Et ATC -dokument med titlen "Resumé of Transportation Operations for ugen, der slutter den 6. februar 1943", viste tilsammen 22.316 pund post, der blev transporteret over den sydatlantiske rute af en flåde på 41 fly, hvoraf 37 var flyvemaskiner, og et efterslæb af 19.292 pund afventer transport. Det viste 6.791 pund transporteret over ruter mellem Afrika og Mellemøsten, med et efterslæb på 5.227 pund, båret af en flåde på 56 landfly.

Cannonball -ruten strakte sig til sidst til Calcutta, hvilket gjorde en direkte forbindelse til ATC -flyvninger over Hump til Kina, hvoraf mange blev drevet af China National Airways Corp., et Pan Am -datterselskab under kontrakt med ATC.

I september 1944 skiftede Cannonball -ruten. I stedet for at krydse Sydatlanten via Ascension Island og derefter over Centralafrika gik den nye rute fra Miami via Bermuda og Azorerne til Casablanca, Marokko og videre over Nordafrika til Indien. På det tidspunkt fløj Pan Am's Afrika-Orient Division flere ton-miles om dagen end alle Pan Ams andre divisioner og datterselskaber tilsammen.

På trods af den enorme mængde i nogle af verdens mest skræmmende og ugæstfrie områder pralede den Afrika-orienterende division med den bedste sikkerhedsrekord for alle ATC's krigstidsentreprenører, med kun to fly tabt, der involverede passagerer og besætninger, ifølge en upubliceret historie i Richter Biblioteksfil.

Trans-atlantisk luftposttjeneste efter militarisering

Efter militarisering var Air Transport Command alene ansvarlig for al transatlantisk civil, militær og officiel post til og fra Afrika og Asien.

I et notat den 27. november 1942 skrev maj. M. J. Deutsch, postofficer i ATC's Afrika-Mellemøsten Wing (AMEW):

AMEW transporterer post til alle eller næsten alle allierede regeringer i verden, enten direkte eller via overførsel til og fra forbindende luftfartsselskaber. Civile mails får fremragende service med lidt eller ingen forsinkelse på noget tidspunkt i AMEW.

Ifølge den upublicerede Officiel historie for den sydatlantiske division, lufttransportkommando:

Et billede af status for transportoperationer på tværs af det sydlige Atlanterhav ... kan fås fra følgende tal [for ugen før den 26. december 1942]: Firemotorede fly til transport: 4 B-24D's 9 C-54'er, 4 C-98'er, 5 C-75'er, 4 C-87'er. … Mailbevægelse (pund) Natal-Afrika 2.737, Afrika-Natal 307 I alt 3.044 I alt for alle ATC-oversøiske ruter 24.681. … Lignende tal for Natal-Miami-kørslen var som følger: To-motorede fly tildelt til transport: 24 C-47’ere og C-53’ere (3 ekstra fly blev tildelt, men var ikke tilgængelige til brug på nuværende tidspunkt). ... Mailbevægelse (pund) 15.285. Postforsinkelse (pund) 745.…

Disse tal viser, at der dagligt var tre fragtfly, der krydser Sydatlanten i hver retning og cirka fire bevæger sig i hver retning på Miami-Natal-løbet. Omkring 60 procent af trafikken i Natal-Afrika og Afrika-Natal var passagerer, 30 procent gods og ti procent post. På ruten Miami-Natal var 61 procent last, 34 procent passagerer og fem procent post. …

Halvdelen af ​​posten fløjet af ATC i udlandet passerede også gennem Natal.

Den 13. maj 1943 beordrede Major Deutsch større postkvoter for hver transafrikanske flyvning og understregede pointeret:

200 pund og 500 pund mail vil blive givet først prioritet på hver 2 motor og hvert 4 motorplan henholdsvis med afgang fra Accra hver planlagt flyvningen eller særlig mission flyvningen, og post, der overstiger denne tildeling, vil blive transporteret på ledig plads, hvis prioritet er fastlagt. Det er endvidere angivet, at det er lufttransportofficerens pligt og ansvar på hver station at se, at forsendelse af post fremskyndes. . . . [G] ood mail service kan aldrig opnås, medmindre den tildelte minimumsprioritet er givet hver fly hver dag.

Faktiske belastninger overskred disse minimum. I løbet af de første 20 dage i maj 1943 var "i gennemsnit 415 pund post på alle to-motorers fly og 600 pund på alle firemotorede fly" blevet transporteret fra Accra.

Efter at de sidste Boeing B-314 (C-98) Clipper-flyvende både blev overført til flåden i maj og juni 1943, var der intet tilbage af det kommercielle luftpostapparat før krigen på disse ruter. Næsten al luftpost mellem Nordamerika, Afrika syd for Sahara, Mellemøsten og Fjernøsten blev nu transporteret med landbaserede fly, uanset om det var militært, diplomatisk eller civilt. (Formelt godkendte Civil Aeronautics Board Pan Ams FAM 18 vinterbådflyvninger med flyvende båd til at indsamle post ved Bolama, Portugisisk Guinea og Fisherman's Lake, Liberia i praksis udelod Pan Am ofte disse stop på grund af de små mængder post, der var involveret.)

Indtil efteråret 1943 transporterede kontraktbærere, hovedsageligt Pan Am, omkring 95 procent af posten mellem Miami og Vestafrika. Hærens luftstyrker i anden verdenskrig forklaret:

Kun få militære besætninger var blevet uddannet til firemotorede fly, fordi op til dette tidspunkt [juni 1943] var næsten alle de C-54'er og C-87'er, der blev tildelt kommandoen, betjent af kontraktskibene, der var ansvarlige for deres egen operationel besætningsuddannelse.

For at afhjælpe denne ubalance etablerede ATC en uddannelsesenhed i Homestead, Fla., Udelukkende som "en firemotors skole med speciale i C-54-undervisning, men også som operationel træning til et antal C-87 og B-14 besætninger. I november 1943 åbnede Ferrying Division 'Fireball' løbet fra Florida til Indien, hvor C-87'er og senere C-54'ere blev ansat. "

Oberst William H. Tunner havde fået kommandoen over ATCs division mellem Indien og Kina, herunder Hump-ruten over Himalaya-bjergene, der forbandt disse lande, i december 1942. Den 30. juni 1943 blev han forfremmet til rang som brigadegeneral.

Fireball Express, en rute parallelt med Pan Ams Cannonball Express -løb, der var begyndt et år tidligere, havde forbindelse til Hump -ruten i Indien. Det mere end tredoblet kapaciteten på den 15.000 kilometer lange flyvebane mellem Amerika og Fjernøsten, hvilket fremskyndede luftpost sammen med passagerer og gods.

I hans erindringsbog Over pukkel, Skrev Tunner:

Det er let at tænke på pukkel som bare en rute faktisk, det var selvfølgelig mange flyruter, adskilt både lateralt og vertikalt, fra tretten baser i Indien til seks i Kina. Først havde vi en smal korridor på kun 50 miles til at rumme tovejstrafik. … Mod slutningen havde vi en korridor på to hundrede kilometer bred. … Gennem denne korridor flyver hver dag i gennemsnit 650 fly, hvoraf et tager af sted hvert andet og et kvart minut af dagens 24 timer. …

Det hele var nyt. Ingen anden luftoperation, civil eller militær, havde nogensinde før forsøgt at holde sin flåde i kontinuerlig drift døgnet rundt, på alle årstider og i al slags vejr. Ingen anden operation havde sådanne ekstremer af vejr og højder. Og vores last var mildest talt varieret-fra V-mail til muldyr til maskiner. Lufttransportens alder blev født lige der på pukklen.

På tidspunktet for Pearl Harbor i december 1941 havde hele Army Air Corps kun besat 11 firemotors transportfly. Da Japan overgav sig, havde ATC mere end 200 C-54'er, der flyver Hump-ruten alene. Hærens luftstyrker i anden verdenskrig opsummerede betydningen af ​​disse resultater:

Vigtigst i det lange løb, uden tvivl, var lufttransportkommandoens overfyldte luftveje til Kina bevist, hvis ikke fødestedet, for massestrategisk luftlift. … Erfaringen fra Indien og Kina gjorde det muligt at forestille sig Berlin-luften fra 1948-49 og at operere den med succes.

Genåbning af North Atlantic Air Transport Service

I mellemtiden havde oberstløjtnant Lawrence G. Fritz, en tidligere barnstormer, luftpostpilot og TWA -vicepræsident, efter at have ryddet post -efterslæbet i den sydatlantiske post i sommeren 1942 taget ansvaret for ATC's stoppede transportoperationer i Nordatlanten. Han begyndte med at udføre et karakteristisk vovehalsstunt.

4. december 1944, nummer af Tid bladet rapporterede:

En dag i efteråret 1942 trådte han ind i en B-24, fløj den ud i Nordatlanten for at søge det værste vejr "front", han kunne finde. Hans fly tog en masse is, mistede flyvehastigheden og faldt i et spin. Fritz, en veteranflyverpilot, rettede hende ud kun få hundrede meter fra vandet. Han kom tilbage og stadig overbevist om, at han havde ret. Han fik i opgave at bevise sin pointe som C.O. [kommandant] i den nordatlantiske division.

ATCs nordatlantiske rute var genåbnet den 13. april 1942, med den østlige terminal flyttet fra Ayr til Prestwick, Skotland. Tjenesten opererede i gennemsnit tre rundrejser om dagen og blev aldrig igen suspenderet efter fjendtlighedernes afslutning. Hovedformålet med denne rute var at transportere presserende militært og diplomatisk personale og kommunikation mellem Washington og London.

De mest presserende breve og pakker blev godkendt "bomberpose" og "bombeflypost", fordi de konsoliderede B-24-befriere, der begyndte disse tjenester, var blevet bygget til at være langdistancebombefly, men var blevet frataget deres våben og konverteret til transporter af hensyn til øget hastighed og rækkevidde. Som det kan ses på forsider fra min samling, var hyppige brugere af disse tjenester krigskorrespondenter og fotografer, der sendte forsendelser til deres papirer.

Trans-atlantisk bombeflypost var en gratis service fra Office of War Information, men der skulle tilføjes luftpostporto til 6 ¢ pr. Ounce militær koncessionskurs for at sikre videre lufttransport inden for USA.

Yderligere transatlantiske landflyveje og udvidelser

I januar 1943, efter at de allierede styrker havde befriet Marokko, Algeriet og Tunesien, blev der etableret en transkontinentale & amp; Western Air-service, der fløj C-54 Skymasters fra Washington via Sydatlanten til Accra, derefter nordpå til Marrakesh, Marokko, for to ugentlige shuttle flyvninger mellem Marrakesh og Prestwick i Skotland, inden de vender tilbage til Washington. Frekvensen af ​​TWA -flyvninger blev fordoblet i februar.

I juli 1943, efter at aksestyrker var blevet drevet ud af Afrika, blev Marrakesh-ruten forlænget til Kairo og Karachi, hvilket lagde grunden til en hurtigere trans-Afrika-service, end det havde været muligt over Centralafrikas krydsninger.

I marts 1944 blev Marrakesh-Prestwick C-54 shuttle erstattet af en C-87 shuttle service med St. , Algeriet, til Napoli, Italien.

Tidligt i 1944 blev der etableret en hemmelig ATC -rute mellem Kairo og Adana, Tyrkiet, via Beirut, Libanon, da Tyrkiet stadig officielt var et neutralt ikke -krigførende land. Besætninger på jorden blev forklædt som civile ansatte i "American Transport Company." En anden ATC -forlængelse løb fra Teheran, Iran, til Poltava, Ukraine.

Også i 1944 åbnede ATC yderligere to trans-atlantiske C-54-ruter, kaldet Crescent og Snowball, over henholdsvis Mellem- og Nordatlanten, der drives af militære besætninger.

Crescent, der stammer fra Wilmington, Del., Repræsenterede en ny rute til Indien via Azorerne, efter at den portugisiske regering havde ophævet restriktioner, der tidligere havde forbudt militære flyvninger fra at lande der og på tværs af Nordafrika.

I en passage, der ikke kunne kreditere Pan Am for procedurer, der var banebrydende på Cannonball -løbet, skrev Tunner i sin Over pukkel erindring:

På Crescent-løb, i øvrigt, havde jeg oprettet en pony-ekspress type operation, hvor friske besætninger overtog på bestemte punkter. Selve flyet gik lige igennem, fra Amerika til dets endelige destination, uden forsinket overførsel af passagerer og gods.

Post, der transporteres på disse flyvninger, burde ikke kunne skelnes fra post, der føres på Cannonball- eller Fireball -flyvninger, medmindre et uheld undervejs forårsagede, at der blev tilføjet et identifikationsmærke.

Snebold, begyndt i juli 1944, gav en anden rute mellem USA og Storbritannien efter de vellykkede D-dages landinger i Normandiet.

Hærens luftstyrker i anden verdenskrig forklaret:

Etableringen af ​​denne nye service afspejlede det åbenlyse behov for en øget luftlift til Det Forenede Kongerige, tilgængeligheden af ​​yderligere antal C-54-fly og eksistensen inden for Ferrying Division af et reservoir af besætninger, der har erfaring med firemotorsdrift. Den oprindelige routing af flyvningerne var fra Presque Isle [Maine] gennem Stephenville i Newfoundland til Valley i Wales og tilbage gennem Meeks Field i Island til Stephenville og Presque Isle.

Den 31. august 1944, fire dage efter at tyske styrker trak sig tilbage fra Paris, landede den første ATC -flyvning på Orly Field, lufthavnen i Paris. Den 4. oktober begyndte ATC rutefart mellem Frankrig og USA, der i gennemsnit var tre rundrejser om dagen.

Fra Trans-Atlantic Origins, en global lufttransportoperation

Ved udgangen af ​​1944 betjente ATC -ruter hvert kontinent, som vist her på det tidligere klassificerede rutekort fra januar 1945.

Jeg har illustreret flere af mine omslag, der blev transporteret over disse ruter, som ikke blev betjent af overflade- eller søværnets alternative midler.

Nordatlantisk luftpost var den store undtagelse i enhver henseende. Under hele krigen gik de fleste mail med overfladeskib mellem New York og Storbritannien uanset afsenderens anvisninger og porto forudbetalt.

Bortset fra post af højeste prioritet, såsom bombefly/bombefly-pose og presserende militær luftpost, er det ikke muligt at bevise, at et brev gik med fly, medmindre det har verificerbare afgangs- og ankomstdatoer som bevis. Selv da varierede transportmidlerne: Pan Ams "Y" -rute, dokumenteret af David Crotty, fløj konsoliderede PB2Y-3 Coronado-flyvende både over Atlanterhavet for flåden.

Efter annullering af Navy -kontrakter i slutningen af ​​1944 restaurerede Pan Am kommercielle Clipper -service mellem New York og Lissabon. American Export Airlines (AmEx) fløj Vought-Sikorsky VS-44 Flying Aces-søfly over sin FAM 24-rute, også mellem New York og Lissabon, men med mindre hyppige mellemliggende opkald. Canada opererede også en nordatlantisk lufttransporttjeneste.

Ikke desto mindre inviterer nogle omslag til analyse, der tyder på en større sandsynlighed for ét valg end de andre, såsom det illustrerede d. 2. januar 1945, omslag fra Schweiz til New York.

Trans-atlantisk luftpost efter den japanske overgivelse

Da anden verdenskrig sluttede, havde Air Transport Command bygget den største luftposttjeneste i historien, med Naval Air Transport Service (NATS) på andenpladsen. NATS var begyndt at afmontere sine transatlantiske tjenester og genoprette dem til kommerciel drift i slutningen af ​​1944, men hæren fortsatte med at beholde og udvide ruter under dens jurisdiktion, selvom den annullerede kontrakter med Pan Am og andre private luftfartsselskaber.

Har ikke kunnet forudse den opposition, hans plan ville fremkalde i kongressens haller, gjorde general Harold L. George et dristigt forsøg på at udvide ATC's myndighed over kommerciel lufttransport, herunder luftpost, til efterkrigstiden.

Han meddelte, at ATC ville demonstrere sin evne og potentiale med en entusiastisk fremmet demonstrationsflyvning rundt om i verden, der planlagde at forlade Washington den 28. september 1945. Flyvningen gik som planlagt, men oprøret i oppositionen satte hurtigt en stopper for hans ordning for fremtiden.

På tidspunktet for den japanske overgivelse i september 1945 ansatte Cannonball Express 175 Pan Am flybesætninger. Hump ​​-ruten blev officielt lukket i slutningen af ​​november, men senere fløj transporter fra Kina over Himalaya til Indien som særlige missioner.

Da Pan Am restaurerede tjenesten mellem New York og Leopoldville via Gander Newfoundland Shannon, Irland Lissabon Dakar, Senegal og Monrovia, Liberia, i januar 1946, blev ruten betjent af en DC-4 Skymaster indtil april, da Pan Am erhvervede nyt Lockheed Constellation-land -baserede fly.

Pan Ams sydatlantiske tjeneste fra Liberia til Brasilien sluttede den 27. maj 1946. Kanonkugletjenesten fortsatte indtil den 25. juni 1946, datoen da den sidste C-54-flyvning vendte tilbage fra Fjernøsten. Det var også, da Miami ophørte med at fungere som luftpostporten til Afrika og Asien.

Gendannelsen af ​​fuldt kommerciel udenlandsk luftposttjeneste konsoliderede alle transatlantiske operationer i New York City.

Aldrig mere havde Pan Am monopolkontrol med udenlandske luftposttjenester, der havde været dets enekontrol før krigen. TWA lagde sine kontrakttjenester fra krigen ind i nye kommercielle ruter, der gav robust konkurrence, selv efter at Pan Am overtog American Airlines -tjenester, der var blevet bygget af AmEx.

For posthistoriske samlere, der specialiserer sig i transatlantisk luftpost, markerede juli 1946 afslutningen på en æra. Som for at understrege denne skillelinje udsendte postkontoret den første nye udgave af Officiel postguide, del II: International post siden juli 1941.



Luftpost

Vores redaktører vil gennemgå, hvad du har indsendt, og afgøre, om artiklen skal revideres.

Luftpost, breve og pakker transporteret med fly. Luftposttjeneste blev indledt i 1911 i England mellem Hendon (nordvest for London) og Windsor for at fejre kroningen af ​​George V. Tjenesten var imidlertid uregelmæssig, og der blev kun foretaget 21 ture. Kontinuerlig regelmæssig lufttransport mellem London og Paris blev etableret i 1919, og en lignende service for pakker i 1921. Andre europæiske luftforbindelser fulgte snart. Regelmæssig luftposttjeneste i USA blev påbegyndt i 1918 mellem Washington, DC og New York City ved hjælp af War Department fly og piloter. Den første transkontinentale luftposttjeneste blev etableret i 1920 mellem San Francisco og New York City.

Lufttransportens overlegenhed til kontinentale og interkontinentale postruter over lange afstande blev hurtigt tydelig. Luftposttjenesten blev udvidet til Egypten, Karāchi, Singapore og andre dele af det britiske imperium i 1920'erne og 30'erne. Regelmæssig transpacifik luftposttjeneste fra San Francisco til Filippinerne (med flere stop imellem) begyndte i 1935, og regelmæssig luftposttjeneste på tværs af Nordatlanten begyndte i 1939. Siden 1946 har luftposttjenester hurtigt udviklet sig til at skabe et netværk, der forbinder Europa og Nord Amerika med alle dele af verden. Der er dog stadig områder som f.eks. I Afrika, hvor luftposttjenester er relativt dårlige eller ufuldstændige. Lufttransport af førsteklasses post uden tillæg er blevet almindelig i Europa og USA. Interkontinentale lufttransport af post ledsages normalt stadig af et tillægsgebyr.


707 Service på tværs af Atlanterhavet - Historie


Western Air Express
begyndte operationer i april 1926 med en flåde på seks åbne cockpit, to passagerer Douglas M-2 biplaner og en kontrakt om at flyve en luftpost returrejse fra Los Angeles til Salt Lake City.

Transcontinental Air Transport, Inc. (TAT) blev udråbt & ldquothe Lindbergh Line & rdquo og inkorporeret i maj 1928 af en gruppe kendte finansfolk og transporteksperter, der mente, at offentlig accept af flyrejser var tæt på hånden. Oberst Charles Lindbergh blev udnævnt til formand for TAT Technical Committee med håbet om, at hans navn ville tiltrække mere finansiering og forretning.

Modige var passagererne i den begyndende æra. Tragiske ulykker skete i disse tidlige år af luftfartshistorien. Selv de begivenhedsløse flyvninger fik passagerernes ører til at ringe og maverne væltede. Hvis et flyselskab tjente penge, og få gjorde det, kom overskuddet fra luftpostsubsidier og ikke passagerer. Ændringer kom i 1930 fra en usandsynlig kilde, generaldirektøren Walter Folger Brown. Han troede, at nationen havde brug for flyselskaber, der transporterede flere mennesker end post. Han indkaldte luftfartschefer til Washington og tilbød dem en aftale. Hvis luftfartsselskaberne ville fusionere til enheder, der var store nok til at give økonomisk mening, ville regeringen give dem en lås på kryds-kontinentale ruter. Efter nogle hårde kompromiser opstod tre store transkontinentale linjer.

1. På den centrale rute gennem St. Louis, TW & ampA dannet den 1. oktober 1930 hvornår Transkontinentale lufttransport og Western Air, Inc.fusioneret.
2. På den nordlige rute gennem Chicago, hvad blev der Forenet kom til.
3. På den sydlige rute gennem Dallas, hvad blev der amerikansk blev dannet.
4. Nord-syd-ruterne langs Atlanterhavet gik til en fjerde sammenlægning, Østlig.

I april 1934 blev flyselskabet TWA, Inc.

Tilsammen blev disse flyselskaber De fire store. Pan American havde monopol på interkontinentale ruter. I næsten et halvt århundrede havde disse fem himlen næsten for sig selv.

Et TWA -nedbrud satte regeringen i luftfartsforretningen i stor stil. Den 5. maj 1935 faldt en TWA DC-2 ned nær Kirksville, Mo. Ulykken dræbte seks mennesker, herunder den amerikanske senator Bronson Cutting i New Mexico. TWA & rsquos nedbrud havde en tendens til at være dobbelt grim, fordi mange involverede kendte mennesker: Notre Dame fodboldtræner Knute Rockne i 1931 og Hollywood-skuespillerinden Carole Lombard i 1942. Men Cutting var mere end velkendt. Han var også elsket af sine kolleger i kongressen. Hans tab forstyrrede lovgiverne så meget, at de oprettede det, der blev Civil Aeronautics Board. For flyselskaberne fungerede CAB som både Big Daddy og Sugar Daddy.

CAB var Big Daddy, da den fortalte flyselskaberne, hvad de kunne gøre, hvor de kunne flyve, hyppigheden af ​​deres flyvninger, hvilke billetpriser de kunne sætte, og hvilke skridt de skulle tage for at sikre sikkerheden. Det var Sugar Daddy, da det satte billetpriser højt nok til at holde flyselskaberne i gang, uanset hvad. Flyselskaberne blev i virkeligheden offentlige forsyningsselskaber med de fire store på toppen. Med overskud alle undtagen garanterede flyselskabsledere behøvede ikke at være kloge i forretningsmåden. Flyselskaberne havde plads til farverige karakterer som TWA & rsquos Jack Frye, en flink pilot, der overtog TWA -formandskabet i 1934.

Frye foretrak cockpittet frem for bestyrelseslokalet og tilbragte så meget tid som muligt ved kontrol af TWA & rsquos DC-3, det mest populære fly inden for flyrejser i midten af ​​1930'erne.

Men Frye havde hovedet på noget større, den firemotorede Boeing Stratoliner. I dag & rsquos standarder ser det fly ud som løget, næsten tegneserieagtigt. Men i slutningen af ​​30'erne var det kun den pressede Stratoliner, der kunne løfte TWA & rsquos-passagerer over det ujævne vejr, som DC-3'erne måtte tære igennem.

De finansfolk, som Frye svarede, holdt sig fra at købe Stratoliners. Der er et spørgsmål om Jack Frye henvendte sig til Howard Hughes eller Howard Hughes Approachede Jack Frye. Det næste blev Howard Hughes, der købte TWA -aktier. Den 26. august 1940 ejede Howard Hughes aktier nok til at opnå en bestemmende indflydelse på TWA.

På godt og ondt ville TWA aldrig være det samme.

Horisonten udvides
Hughes havde noget større i tankerne end Stratoliner. Han forestillede sig et firemotoret passagerfly, der kunne krydse Amerika nonstop med uhørt hastigheder højt over vejret.

Lockheed Aircraft blev approocheret, og de blev enige om at designe et fly til specifikationerne for noget til hans specifikationer. Resultatet var Lockheed Constellation, et triple-tailed passagerfly, hvis strømlinede kurver gav det en næsten feminin nåde.

Konstellationen blev kendt som & ldquothe Connie & rdquo for en generation af piloter og kom til at symbolisere TWA og Hughes. Men i sidste ende ville Connie bare bringe TWA ned. Inden Lockheed kunne redigere til at bygge Connies til TWA intervenerede Pearl Harbor. The Army Air Forces commandeered Connie production which finally got under way in 1944.

On April 17, 1944 Frye and Hughes flew the prototype Connie from Lockheed&rsquos plant in Burbank, California to a bunch of eager generals in Washington DC. The Connie touched down in the record time of 6 hours and 58 minutes.

As it taxied past the waiting newsreel cameras the generals turned purple with rage because Hughes had painted the Connie, which he didn&rsquot own, in the red and white livery of TWA and not in the olive drab of the Army Air Forces.

The Army controlled all of TWA&rsquos four-engined fleet and just days after Pearl Harbor, Frye put the airline&rsquos fleet of Stratoliners at the Army&rsquos disposal.

The Stratoliners flew passengers around the globe for the Army with TWA pilots in the cockpits, TWA mechanics servicing the planes and TWA dispatchers doing the planning.

After the war Frye&rsquos patriotism paid off big. All that overseas flying for the Army gave TWA the experience it needed to spread its wings internationally. Even before the war ended TWA put in for a piece of the postwar pie. In 1943 Frye applied for a batch of new routes including London and Paris.

On July 5, 1945, overseas routes were awarded to TWA. On February 5, 1946, TWA began scheduled international service with Lockheed Constellations.

In so doing TWA trod on the toes of Pan Am and its aristocratic chief Juan Trippe. Before the war Pan Am stood alone among America&rsquos airlines in flying across the Atlantic and now it hardly welcomed competition. But if Pan Am had to make room Trippe said he&rsquod accept competition from tiny American Export Airlines. Trippe didn&rsquot know that tiny American Export was merging with giant American Airlines. In 1944 Trippe got the bad news that TWA and American would join Pan Am in spanning the postwar ocean. Trippe pulled all the strings he could in Congress but to no avail.

On Feb. 5, 1946 the first international flight dubbed &ldquoThe Star of Paris,&rdquo a TWA Connie, lifted off from New York&rsquos LaGuardia Airport destined for Paris via Gander and Shannon. Although American soon pulled out of international service TWA stayed the course. TWA continued to expand international service with inaugural flights to Rome, Athens, Cairo, Lisbon and Madrid during the spring of 1946.

TWA was now a major domestic and international air carrier. In 1947 TWA offered the first scheduled transatlantic all-cargo service. On October 30 1955 they put Super G-Constellations into international service from Los Angeles to London.

TWA got a boost from its domestic routes which fed passengers to its transatlantic flights while Pan Am was limited to international flights. Pan Am thought of itself as America&rsquos sanctioned overseas flag carrier and it stuck up its corporate nose at foreign officials and airlines. TWA behaved differently, pitching in to help foreign airlines get off the ground. With their attitude of helping TWA won good friends and a good reputation. In 1950 TWA changed the &ldquoW&rdquo in its name from &ldquoWestern&rdquo to &ldquoWorld&rdquo as befitted its new span.

The Downside of Glamour
At home, thanks to Hughes&rsquo Hollywood connections, TWA developed the reputationa as the glamour airline. When the Hollywood movie stars flew they tended to fly TWA. The airline&rsquos press agents made sure the newspapers got pictures of the rich and famous boarding TWA&rsquos Connies. Hughes vexed his dispatchers by holding flights until dawdling stars could arrive. Big-time Hollywood columnists like Hedda Hopper and Louella Parsons received red-carpet treatment with TWA limousines toting them to and from airports.

Publicity like that attracted hordes of first-time fliers to TWA. Most were well-heeled vacationers who could afford the steep fares of the postwar era. But the glamour image had two big drawbacks. First most of TWA&rsquos routes ran east and west which was fine for summertime vacationers but weak in the winter when vacationers head south. Before long TWA began bleeding financially each winter. This became a chronic condition up to the end. Second the business passengers could have taken up the winter slack but they tended to shun glitzy TWA. They wanted steady, sober service. They wanted the kind of service they associated with United and American. While TWA flew stars its rivals snared the most desirable passengers, the full-fare, frequently flying executives.

Hughes Interests: Airplanes-TWA-Girls
When Hughes died on April 5, 1976 he had long been a recluse in Las Vegas. He had become an emaciated, physically ill, paranoid individual worth about $2 billion, much of it from the sale of his TWA stock in 1965. In the obituaries, his eccentricities overshadowed his accomplishments. As a teen he had inherited his father&rsquos fabulously successful Hughes Tool Co. He rode it through the oil booms that followed and invested part of his profits in Hollywood. There he made some movies daring in their scope like &ldquoWings,&rdquo an aerial epic made in 1930 and &ldquoThe Outlaws,&rdquo a 1940s Western (Hughes invented the WonderBra for Jane Russell tyo wear as she starred in this movie.). But airplanes remained Hughes&rsquo first love and in the 1930s he designed and flew a string of record-breaking speedsters that put him on Page One across the nation.

And it was a plane of his own design that would put Hughes on the path to his bizarre end. While developing the XF-11, a recon plane, Hughes crashed the prototype in Beverly Hills in July 1946. He came close to dying and before long Hughes withdrew from public view. Although he owned a controlling interest in Hollywood&rsquos RKO, he ran the studio from afar and seemingly by whim. This whimisical trait in controlling TWA would become wearily familiar to his underlings at TWA.

Hughes never held a corporate position at TWA. He didn&rsquot have to because he owned the company. But his meddling exasperated TWA&rsquos executives who tended to quit in frustration. Historian Serling called Hughes &ldquothe George Steinbrenner of commercial aviation, a well-intentioned owner who picked capable managers and then drove them crazy.&rdquo Take Carter Burgess, TWA&rsquos president in 1957, the year Hughes decided to &ldquoborrow&rdquo a brand-new Super Constellation. With a co-pilot and a flight engineer conscripted from TWA&rsquos ranks Hughes took off in June for a brief test flight to Montreal.

Six months later, Hughes still had the plane, gallivanting around the Caribbean at the controls. Burgess implored him to return it so TWA could put it to productive use. Hughes refused, whereupon Burgess quit. Hughes hardly cared as his flight engineer Bill Bushey later recalled, &ldquoI gathered from that long time with him that he liked three things, airplanes, TWA and girls.&rdquo Trouble is, he liked the wrong kind of airplanes.

A Bad Case of Jet Lag
In 1952, Hughes spurned an invitation to buy the first jetliner, the British-made Comet. &ldquoIt isn&rsquot safe,&rdquo he said and it wasn&rsquot. A string of disastrous Comet crashes bolstered the public perception of jets as unsafe.

Boeing stood on the brink of changing all that. In 1954 Boeing flew the prototype of a military tanker also designed as a jetliner, the 707. Hughes was having none of it because he had played no part in designing the 707. The planes he worried most about were the propeller-driven Douglas models flown by American and United. In 1955 Hughes committed TWA to buying 25 upgraded Connies, easily a match for the Douglas prop planes flying in the colors of United and American.

Shortly after Hughes signed the Connie contract, rival Pan Am ordered 707s. The jet age was under way and TWA had already been overtaken by other airlines upgrading to jet aircraft.

TWA would be the last of the Big Four to switch totally to jets. In 1958, three years too late, Hughes woke up to the inevitability and finally ordered more than $400 million worth of jetliners and engines. By that time the boom-or-bust nature of the airline business meant he really had no money to pay for them. TWA entered the jet age when it took delivery of its first 707 in January 1959. Convair 880 jet service began on January 12, 1961 to serve TWA&rsquos domestic routes.

In 1959 after some financial sleight of hand from Hughes TWA started flying its first jet on the San-Francisco-New York route. For one month that lone 707 constituted TWA&rsquos entire jet fleet. Long after its rivals were whisking passengers about on jets TWA was chugging them along in Connies. Not until 1967 did TWA retire its last Connie after a flight on April 6 from New York to Lambert Field. Hughes, perhaps with dreams of a Son Of Connie, approached Convair with an idea for something different, a smaller jetliner called the Convair 880. The concept was right but the airplane wasn&rsquot. Hughes&rsquo meddling made the 880 even more of a financial drain on TWA as well as on Convair. The airline&rsquos lenders finally got to TWA&rsquos board and TWA&rsquos board finally got to Hughes. On Dec. 29, 1960 he put his stock into trust and abdicated his reign over TWA&rsquos operations.

From Gold to Doldrums
In many ways the 1960s were a Golden Age of air travel. The airlines zipped past the railroads as a mass mover of Americans who delighted in jet-engine speed and jetliner luxury. In fact luxury was how the airlines competed. Government barred them from competing on fares, so they competed on frills which included in-flight movies, free cocktails, and nubile stewardesses in leggy uniforms. For the most part the airlines served an elite clientele. High fares shut out low-end travelers. In the 1960s flying was a coat-and-tie affair. But it couldn&rsquot last and it didn&rsquot. In fact the system was already falling apart in America&rsquos two largest states, Texas and California. There the small airlines flew strictly within state borders and thus beyond the CAB&rsquos regulatory reach.

These airlines (Southwest was one) could and did compete on fares. Some people in government began to think of price competition as a way to strip away the elitism attached to air travel. Washington heard a new buzzword: &ldquoderegulation.&rdquo Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy picked it up as an issue and in 1977 President Jimmy Carter handed the chairman&rsquos chair at the CAB to a believer in deregulation, Alfred Kahn.

On June 30, 1961 Howard Hughes&rsquo control of TWA was challenged when Charles Tillinghast, Chairman of the Board of TWA filed suit against the Hughes Tool Company for violations of the Sherman Act and the Clayton Anti-Trust Act. A default judgment was issued against the Hughes Tool Company for failure to produce Howard Hughes for pretrial examination. In 1966 Howard Hughes and the Hughes Tool Company lost control of TWA and the airline became a publicly owned company.There were numerous other lawsuits to come over the years dealing with the ownership and control of TWA including a $35 million settlement received by Carl Icahn in 1993.

During April 1964 the first of sixteen 727&rsquos were delivered and s hortly thereafter twenty DC-9&rsquos were ordered. Twelve 747s were ordered in 1967 the $410,000,000 order was the largest in the carrier's history. After three decades of service the last of the Constellations were retired and TWA then became the first all jet airline. On August 1, 1969 TWA inaugurate d transpacific and round the world service.

After United broke ranks with the industry and endorsed deregulation, Congress went along. In 1978 deregulation became the law of the land. TWA was woefully unready. The 1960s had been flush times. TWA led the industry in profits in 1965 and it branched out as TW Corp., a holding company for hotels and restaurants as well as planes. For a few brief, shining years in the 1960s TWA even went truly &ldquotrans world,&rdquo spanning the Pacific as well as the Atlantic. But tough times arrived in the 1970s when TWA began accepting deliveries of jumbo-jet 747s that it couldn&rsquot fill with passengers. TWA became the first airline to introduce 747 schedules non-stop service from Los Angeles to New York on February 25, 1970.

At first deregulation did what its backers hoped it would do. It lured new airlines like People Express into the game and slashed fares. But gradually TWA&rsquos old-line rivals came up with ways to fight back.

1. Computerized reservations systems. Not only did the computers streamline ticket sales, they also gave airlines like American and United a mother lode of data on who flew where on what days, at what time and how often.
2. Yield management pricing. Using the computer data American pioneered the tactic of selling different seats on the same flight for wildly different fares. Tourists who booked early could fly cheaply while expense-account executives who flew at the last minute paid full fare. The computers let the airlines pinpoint how many seats to sell at which fare except at TWA, which was late going online. As investment analyst Brian Harris put it in an interview with Reuters, &ldquoTWA had a guy with paper and a pencil.&rdquo
3. Frequent-flier programs, to mollify the executive paying full-fare to sit beside a hippie flying for half the price. Again, others led, while TWA followed.
4. Two-tier wage scales which paid new employees of old-line airlines the same lower wages that upstarts like People&rsquos Express were paying. American pioneered TWA again lagged.
5. Hub &ldquofortresses&rdquo in which an airline dominates a &ldquohub&rdquo city with flights to and from &ldquospoke&rdquo cities. True, TWA snagged St. Louis in the 1970s but other airlines ran multiple hubs out of bigger-wheel locales like Chicago, Dallas and Atlanta.
6. Inland starts for international flights. For example American could fill a twin-engined 767 for a European flight with passengers at such central cities as Dallas. TWA relied on its international passengers to endure the hassle of changing planes to board a jumbo 747 at New York&rsquos Kennedy Airport.
7. New and more efficient planes. Gradually TWA&rsquos fleet aged into the oldest flown by any major airline. The planes were safe enough but the fuel and maintenance bills grew ever more frightful. In 1983 TW Corp. decided to spin off its ailing airline. The value of TWA&rsquos stock sagged below the airline&rsquos net worth and the wolves began to gather.

On January 1, 1979 Trans World Airlines, Canteen Corporation and Hilton International had formed the parent company named Trans World Corporation. TWA was spun off by the parent corporation in February 1982 and became a separate entity. Although TWA&rsquos money was used to purchase Hilton Hotels, Canteen Corporation, Century 21 and others, when the airline was spun off the money was never returned to the airline. At this time the airline was loosing money and Ed Meyer became Chairman of the Board.

In November, 1984 Ed Meyer attended a symposium in Los Angeles hosted by Drexel Burnham. In attendance at that symposium was Carl Icahn and Meyer made a presentation regarding the fact that TWA was undervalued as a corporation. Immediately Icahn began buying TWA stock and Ed Meyer then got Frank Lorenzo to attempt to take over TWA. The unions joined forces with Icahn in order to block Lorenzo. The choice was between bad and worse Icahn being bad and Lorenzo being worse.

On September 26, 1985, Carl Icahn acquired controlling interest in TWA. On October 26, 1986, TWA acquired Ozark Airlines and merged Ozark into TWA operations. Icahn took the company private on September 7, 1988. When Icahn sold the London route authorities to American Airlines, District 142 challenged the sale. The DOT, however, approved the sale with the exception of the St. Louis-Gatwick and Philadelphia-London authority which Icahn later sold to USAir for $50 million.

Icahn Takes the Controls
As the wolves began gathering Frank Lorenzo stood first in line. He had started with tiny Texas International and then grabbed up Continental and later Eastern. Lorenzo flew Continental into bankruptcy on purpose so he could void its union contracts.

TWA&rsquos executives knew that some corporate raider would grab TWA and they leaned toward Lorenzo. Their reasoning was that unlike the other raiders Lorenzo was at bottom an airline man. He&rsquod treat TWA as an airline and not as a Christmas tree laden with candy-cane assets to pluck off. But TWA&rsquos unions dug in their heels. Anybody but Lorenzo they said. They got Carl Icahn. In fact they all but seduced Icahn by offering him alone contract concessions. In return corporate raider Icahn promised to keep TWA intact, promising to grow it with new airplanes.

Icahn filed for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the Federal Bankruptcy Code on January 30, 1992. On November 3, 1992, TWA emerged from bankruptcy with $1.8 billion in debt, most of which was secured with TWA&rsquos assets. Six months later, the Creditor&rsquos Committee announced an agreement with the three unions: IAM, IFFA, and ALPA for concessions in exchange for equity in the airline.

But soon enough the workers soured on Icahn who was in fact a corporate raider in it to make a huge profit no matter the tactics. In the early spring of 1986 his flight attendants struck. Icahn simply hired low-wage subs. For several months the newcomers learned on the job, bumbling their way through. Icahn loved it after all, the newcomers cost less. He never seemed to care that above all else what an airline sells is its service. TWA lost its reputation for excellent inflight service during this long strike. Icahn moved TWA corporate headquarters to Mt. Kisco, NY which was close to his home.

On December 31, 1985 District Lodge 142 reached an agreement with Carl Icahn establishing the first ESOP wherein the employees would own 15% of the company and the Icahn group would own 85% of the company . Once again TWA was first , this was the first ESOP in airline history. The agreement was made possible by the assistance of General Vice President John Peterpaul and Grand Lodge Representative Tim Connolly.

Icahn made war on his own workers and in turn the workers took it out on the only people they could, the passengers. Abroad a string of terrorists targeted TWA, long a symbol of the United States. Passengers started to shun TWA.

One flight is largely like another with the only thing setting them apart is the level of service provided. A fumbling flight attendant or a surly ticket agent can bleed an airline of passengers.

But in the short run Icahn made money. Early in 1988 he boasted that he had turned TWA around. In reality he invested none of the profits in airplanes except for the 50 small jetliners he picked up when he merged plucky little Ozark Air Lines into TWA in 1986 giving himself a lock on the St. Louis hub. What Icahn did was move money around with the slick sleight of hand that gave the 1980s such a bad name. In the end he would claim that he lost millions on TWA but many would insist that he drained TWA to invest in other ventures and then walked away with hundreds of millions. The bottom line was that Icahn loaded TWA with debt with the interest payments alone the big killer of what was left of TWA.

When the balance sheet slumped Icahn horrified TWA&rsquos unions by selling off prime assets in the form of gates and landing slots at Chicago&rsquos O&rsquoHare. He sold off the priceless routes to London&rsquos Heathrow Airport, the hub for much of the world. In 1992 after TWA filed for a prepackaged bankruptcy the airline came close to collapse. Pilots and machinists averted it by coming to terms with TWA. But as part of the deal Icahn had to go. He cashed out early in 1993 leaving the airline in the hands of its creditors and its employees. U.S. Sen. John Danforth, an old foe of Icahn, hailed the change by saying, &ldquoPeople who believe in the airline are going to be running the airline. You really respect them for what they&rsquove endured and the spirit that is theirs.&rdquo

As for Icahn, aviation writers Barbara Sturken Peterson and James Glab summed him up this way in their book Rapid Descent, &ldquoHe lurched from one idea to the next, with little regard for their eventual impact on the company. Under regulation, Icahn might have been saved from himself. But a regulated airline would have held no interest for the likes of Icahn.&rdquo

Carl Icahn resigned as Chairman of the Board and relinquished all control and interest on January 8, 1993. T he employees owned 45% equity and creditors owned 55% of the airline when it emerge d from reorganization on November 3, 1993.

Ascent and Descent
The new employee-owners had their work cut out for them. As investment analyst Glenn Enge told the Associated Press, &ldquoThe brand name TWA is well-known but that doesn&rsquot mean it&rsquos well-liked.&rdquo Still, TWA workers started smiling in front of the passengers again. They had some good reasons to do so.

The company packed up its papers and moved its headquarters back to St. Louis from Mount Kisco, N.Y. In November 1993 the company emerged from 21 months of bankruptcy with its debt load a lot lighter. In March 1995 23 businesses in the St. Louis area kicked in millions in advance for 110,000 TWA tickets which was a vote of confidence in St. Louis&rsquo new hometown airline. That summer TWA boosted its daily departures from Lambert Field to 348, a record. Another carefully planned trip into bankruptcy lasted only eight weeks, ending in August 1995. Early in 1996 TWA announced plans to obtain new Boeing 757 jets, a step officers hailed as a signal that the lean years were behind. It came to a head on July 17, 1996. That&rsquos when the company proudly announced a profit of $28.5 million for the second quarter, its best showing since 1989 and a sign of better times to come. A few hours later, a TWA 747 went down in flames. So did the optimism. The plane, Flight 800 bound for Paris, blew up off Long Island, shortly after taking off for Paris from New York&rsquos Kennedy airport. All 230 souls aboard perished.

Was it a terrorist bomb? An antiaircraft missile? A structural failure? Months of investigation pinpointed the central fuel tank as the site of the blast but failed to pin down a cause of the blast. Some people began to wonder whether TWA would suffer the fate of Pan Am. Shortly before Christmas in 1988 a terrorist bomb blew a Pan Am 747 out of the sky over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 259. Before long Pan Am folded. The loss of Flight 800 jarred TWA&rsquos corporate structure. Three months after the plane went down Jefferey H. Erickson said he was quitting as the airline&rsquos president thus continuing the managerial merry-go-round.

Within days TWA announced that it had lost $14.3 million in the year&rsquos third quarter, the only major airline to post a loss. The bad news bled over into the new year. In January 1997 the airline cut way back on domestic flights out of Kennedy, suspended service from New York to Frankfurt and Athens, and said it would ground many of its 747s. The surgery pained its pride but TWA said its international operations out of Kennedy were draining the profits run up by its domestic operations in St. Louis.

TWA pride took a few more painful hits in short order. Tiny Transaero, a Russian airline with a handful of planes, said it was considering buying TWA. For the third straight year Fortune magazine listed TWA as &ldquoleast admired&rdquo among 431 corporations.

Det sidste kapitel
For a time TWA seemed to shed drag and gain lift. The company put its creaky fleet of jumbo jets out to pasture. Brand-new jets, smaller and more efficient, started flying in TWA&rsquos brand-new paint scheme. Starting in 1997 TWA watched the clock more closely. From way back in the herd TWA jumped to the top as the industry leader in on-time arrivals. Newspaper stories regularly quoted airline analysts as saying that TWA had taken off and was headed in the right direction. But like Flight 800 TWA never finished the trip.

Among the Bugaboos
Competition from ex-owner Icahn. As part of his buyout deal Icahn got the right to buy big blocks of TWA tickets at wholesale and sell them at retail. Not only was the deal a running financial wound it also gave TWA the shabby image of the poor man&rsquos discount airline. Confusion over what kind of airline TWA wanted to be ensued. For a time TWA courted high-end business travelers with a passion by initiating a business class service but the strategy fell short. TWA&rsquos sudden affection for the high end priced out many of the low-end leisure travelers who usually filled so many seats. At the same time high-end travelers remained wary of TWA. They tended to stick with airlines that had multiple hubs and thus better connections. There were diverging flight paths for costs and revenue and try as it might TWA could never bring its glory-day costs in line with its sorry-day income. A poor credit rating meant that TWA paid dearly for its aircraft leases and couldn&rsquot afford the hedge contracts that let other airlines ride out upward spikes in the price of fuel.

TWA went into 1998 hoping to turn a profit no matter how paltry. After all, other airlines were enjoying a record year. But TWA lost $120 million, its 10th straight year of red ink. Some airline analysts said TWA could muddle through. They likened the airline to a homeowner with a second mortgage and a heavy credit-card debt. Although he&rsquos in trouble, in the long haul he can keep his head above water for now if he can stay current with his bills. Others were less chipper. After the 1998 numbers came in another analyst said, &ldquoWe&rsquove just had the two strongest years ever in the airline industry. They shouldn&rsquot have had a loss of this magnitude.&rdquo It couldn&rsquot go on. After United Airlines cozied up to US Airways in a merger deal, the sky darkened for marginal operators like TWA which had by now become America&rsquos eighth-ranked airline. TWA President Bill Compton spoke bravely in June of the airline&rsquos fixing itself. But just about that time, fuel prices bumped up again.

By year&rsquos end, the stock market had lost all faith in TWA with the share price falling to $1.02, down about two-thirds from where it had started the year.

The news that American Airlines would swallow TWA was marked by sadness but not by surprise. TWA had probably flown on longer than market economics gave it the right to thanks largely to all the employee sacrifices at contract time.

Now the red-and-white birds and the proud name would disappear, just like Eastern, Braniff and Pan Am. TWA ceased flying under American Airlines as an LLC on July 1, 200

Copyright © 2011 The TWA Museum at 10 Richards Road


The role of intelligence

U-123, led by Reinhard Hardegan, took part in the highly successful 'Operation Drumbeat' © Intelligence was the other major factor in this second Battle of the Atlantic. Both sides at various times were able to read the signal traffic of the other. Britain's ability to break the Enigma codes, and the resulting 'Ultra' intelligence was a priceless advantage, particularly after the Royal Navy (not, as a recent Hollywood movie would have one believe, the Americans) seized an Enigma machine from a captured U-boat in May 1941. Armed with information about where U-boats were patrolling, the British were able to move convoys in safe areas, away from the wolfpacks.

A handful of U-boats . accounted for nearly 500 Allied ships.

However, the code-breakers at Bletchley Park had a constant battle to keep their information current. German changes to the naval Enigma code at the beginning of 1942 led to a rise in Allied sinkings, as the flow of Ultra intelligence temporarily ceased.

This problem was compounded by the fact that although the USA had entered the war, it did not immediately put into place some protective measures - such as introducing convoys, and 'blacking out' coastal towns. A handful of U-boats operating on the North American and Caribbean seaboards area in the first half of 1942 accounted for nearly 500 Allied ships. The period of this campaign, called Operation Drumbeat, was the second 'happy time' for the German submariners.


707 Service Across Atlantic - History

Map of volume and direction of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, Voyages: The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database, courtesy of David Eltis and David Richardson, Atlas of the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

The trans-Atlantic slave trade was the largest long-distance forced movement of people in recorded history. From the sixteenth to the late nineteenth centuries, over twelve million (some estimates run as high as fifteen million) African men, women, and children were enslaved, transported to the Americas, and bought and sold primarily by European and Euro-American slaveholders as chattel property used for their labor and skills.

The trans-Atlantic slave trade occurred within a broader system of trade between West and Central Africa, Western Europe, and North and South America. In African ports, European traders exchanged metals, cloth, beads, guns, and ammunition for captive Africans brought to the coast from the African interior, primarily by African traders. Many captives died just during the long overland journeys from the interior to the coast. European traders then held the enslaved Africans who survived in fortified slave castles such as Elmina in the central region (now Ghana), Goree Island (now in present day Senegal), and Bunce Island (now in present day Sierra Leone), before forcing them into ships for the Middle Passage across the Atlantic Ocean.

The slave deck of the "Wildfire" ship brought into Key West on April 30, 1860, illustration, Harper's Weekly, June 2, 1860, courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Scholars estimate that from ten to nineteen percent of the millions of Africans forced into the Middle Passage across the Atlantic died due to rough conditions on slave ships. Those who arrived at various ports in the Americas were then sold in public auctions or smaller trading venues to plantation owners, merchants, small farmers, prosperous tradesmen, and other slave traders. These traders could then transport slaves many miles further to sell on other Caribbean islands or into the North or South American interior. Predominantly European slaveholders purchased enslaved Africans to provide labor that included domestic service and artisanal trades. The majority, however, provided agricultural labor and skills to produce plantation cash crops for national and international markets. Slaveholders used profits from these exports to expand their landholdings and purchase more enslaved Africans, perpetuating the trans-Atlantic slave trade cycle for centuries, until various European countries and new American nations officially ceased their participation in the trade in the nineteenth century (though illegal trans-Atlantic slave trading continued even after national and colonial governments issued legal bans).

Large Canoe and Village Scene, possibly Liberia, mid-19th century, courtesy of University of Virginia Special Collections Library. Example of shallow water vessels used in West and Central Africa to counter European attacks and thwart early attempts at mainland colonization.

ESTABLISHING THE TRADE

In the fifteenth century, Portugal became the first European nation to take significant part in African slave trading. The Portuguese primarily acquired slaves for labor on Atlantic African island plantations, and later for plantations in Brazil and the Caribbean, though they also sent a small number to Europe. Initially, Portuguese explorers attempted to acquire African labor through direct raids along the coast, but they found that these attacks were costly and often ineffective against West and Central African military strategies.

For example, in 1444, Portuguese marauders arrived in Senegal ready to assault and capture Africans using armor, swords, and deep-sea vessels. But the Portuguese discovered that the Senegalese out-maneuvered their ships using light, shallow water vessels better suited to the estuaries of the Senegalese coast. In addition, the Senegalese fought with poison arrows that slipped through their armor and decimated the Portuguese soldiers. Subsequently, Portuguese traders generally abandoned direct combat and established commercial relations with West and Central African leaders, who agreed to sell slaves taken from various African wars or domestic trading, as well as gold and other commodities, in exchange for European and North African goods.

Over time, the Portuguese developed additional slave trade partnerships with African leaders along the West and Central African coast and claimed a monopoly over these relationships, which initially limited access to the trade for other western European competitors. Despite Portuguese claims, African leaders enforced their own local laws and customs in negotiating trade relations. Many welcomed additional trade with Europeans from other nations.

Manikongo (leaders of Kongo) receiving the Portugeuse, ca. pre-1840. The Portuguese developed a trading relationship with the Kingdom of Kongo, which existed from the fourteenth to the nineteenth centuries in what is now Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Civil War within Kongo during the trans-Atlantic slave trade would lead to many of its subjects becoming captives traded to the Portugeuse.

When Portuguese, and later their European competitors, found that peaceful commercial relations alone did not generate enough enslaved Africans to fill the growing demands of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, they formed military alliances with certain African groups against their enemies. This encouraged more extensive warfare to produce captives for trading. While European-backed Africans had their own political or economic reasons for fighting with other African enemies, the end result for Europeans traders in these military alliances was greater access to enslaved war captives. To a lesser extent, Europeans also pursued African colonization to secure access to slaves and other goods. For example, the Portuguese colonized portions of Angola in 1571 with the help of military alliances from Kongo, but were pushed out in 1591 by their former allies. Throughout this early period, African leaders and European competitors ultimately prevented these attempts at African colonization from becoming as extensive as in the Americas.

The Portuguese dominated the early trans-Atlantic slave trade on the African coast in the sixteenth century. As a result, other European nations first gained access to enslaved Africans through privateering during wars with the Portuguese,rather than through direct trade. When English, Dutch, or French privateers captured Portuguese ships during Atlantic maritime conflicts, they often found enslaved Africans on these ships, as well as Atlantic trade goods, and they sent these captives to work in their own colonies.

In this way, privateering generated a market interest in the trans-Atlantic slave trade across European colonies in the Americas. After Portugal temporarily united with Spain in 1580, the Spanish broke up the Portuguese slave trade monopoly by offering direct slave trading contracts to other European merchants. Kendt som asiento system, the Dutch took advantage of these contracts to compete with the Portuguese and Spanish for direct access to African slave trading, and the British and French eventually followed. By the eighteenth century, when the trans-Atlantic slave trade reached its trafficking peak, the British (followed by the French and Portuguese) had become the largest carriers of enslaved Africans across the Atlantic. The overwhelming majority of enslaved Africans went to plantations in Brazil and the Caribbean, and a smaller percentage went to North America and other parts of South and Central America.

Elimina Castle, or St. George Castle, Gold Coast (present day Ghana), from the Atlas Blaeu van der Hem, 1665-1668. The Portuguese established Elmina on the Gold Coast as a trading settlement in 1482. It eventually became a major slave trading post in the trans-Atlantic slave trade. The Dutch seized the fortress from the Portugeuse in 1637.


Working the Lakes

Miners, loggers, and farmers sent the riches of the Midwest to market across the Great Lakes.

In the mid-1800s, the people streaming into the Midwest&mdashand the grain, lumber, and iron pouring out&mdashcreated a maritime industry across the Great Lakes. Fleets of ships served industries around the lakes and helped create thriving port cities, such as Cleveland, Milwaukee, and Chicago. For all their value and beauty, the waters were dangerous, too. Thousands of ships lie at the bottom of the Great Lakes.


The Merchant Marine Were the Unsung Heroes of World War II

“The sailor from the merchant ships was in those days known to America as a bum,” the former mariner and author Felix Reisenberg wrote. “He was associated with rotgut whiskey, waterfront brawls and quickie strikes that held up big passenger ships at New York, New Orleans and San Francisco . . .”

Relateret indhold

The era was the earliest stages of the United States’ involvement in World War II, and Nazi Germany was already bringing the war right to the nation’s shores – with shocking results. U-boats devastated merchant shipping off the U.S. East Coast and Gulf Coast, attacking vessels within sight of beaches in Virginia, North Carolina and Florida, and at the mouth of the Mississippi River. America was too undermanned and ill-equipped to defend its own shoreline. U-boats used the glow of American coastal cities to silhouette merchant ships for torpedo strikes, like ducks in a carnival shooting gallery.

On those ships were not military personnel but merchant mariners -- civilian volunteers with the U.S. Merchant Marine, hauling vital war cargo for the Allies. Merchant mariners were the supply line that provided virtually everything Allied armies needed in order to survive and fight on foreign battlefields. The seamen had no military standing or government benefits, but they possessed an unusual variety of courage and gave their lives for their country as valiantly as those in the armed forces did.

Surviving a U-boat attack often meant running a gauntlet of dangers, including fire, explosions, icy water, sharks, flaming oil slicks and long odysseys in open lifeboats. “You were taking a chance, that’s for sure,” recalled Jack Rowe, a merchant mariner from tiny Gwynn’s Island in Mathews County, Virginia. “But a lot of people were taking chances. You couldn’t just say, ‘Why me?’”

The Mathews Men: Seven Brothers and the War Against Hitler's U-boats

Standing lookout on a merchant ship was nerve-racking, especially around dawn and dusk, when the colors of the sea and sky merged into a gray haze, and any ripple of motion or flash of color might be the plume of a torpedo. “Occasionally a man will get the jitters and will be noticed walking the deck at night when he should be asleep,” recalled mariner Raymond Edwards. Once a torpedo struck, every moment became precious and every decision irreversible. “Even two seconds could mean the difference between life and death for any member of the crew. Running in the wrong direction might cut a sailor off from all means of escape. Jumping overboard at the wrong spot or at the wrong instant might easily cost a life. If a sailor is lucky enough to be alive after a torpedo hits his ship, it takes quick thinking and fast action to get him off the ship and into a lifeboat. Many are saved by sheer luck.”

The U-boat war was particularly unforgiving to merchant mariners. The Merchant Marine suffered a higher casualty rate than any branch of the military, losing 9,300 men, with most of the losses occurring in 1942, when most merchant ships sailed U.S. waters with little or no protection from the U.S. Navy. In March 1942 alone, 27 ships from six Allied nations were sunk off U.S. shores. Statistically, America’s coastal waters were the most dangerous, the scene of half the world’s sinkings. The experience of being torpedoed was so common that the president of the Boston Seaman’s Club founded a 󈬘-Fathom Club” for those who had survived it. “I hope the membership won’t become too large,” he added, but it grew larger every day as rescue ships brought oil-soaked survivors to the docks at Halifax, Boston, New York, Norfolk, Morehead City, Miami, and Havana. Many of the mariners who survived torpedo attacks went right back to sea, often sailing through the same perilous waters, only to torpedoed again. One mariner was torpedoed ten times.

Despite their sacrifices, the members of the 40-Fathom Club were viewed by the American public with some ambivalence. Mariners were in such demand that shipping companies had lowered their standards and filled out crews with drunks, idlers, thieves, brawlers, and card sharps. The Merchant Marine’s image was further eroded by the presence of Communists in the maritime unions, although most mariners had no interest in radical politics.

But they were deplored by some Navy leaders for refusing to bend to military discipline. Other critics complained the mariners’ wartime bonuses raised their pay higher than that of military men— ignoring the facts that mariners received no government benefits, paid income taxes, and earned money only when their ships were at sea. If their ships were torpedoed, they stopped getting paid the moment they hit the water. They were off the clock when swimming for their lives. And their civilian status would shut them out of a lifetime’s worth of military benefits including health care, money for college and low-interest loans.

Not everyone piled on the Merchant Marine. President Franklin D. Roosevelt praised mariners in speeches, and his wife, Eleanor, credited them with “supreme courage” and suggested they be issued uniforms. Helen Lawrenson, a writer for Collier ’s magazine, waded into a dingy seamen’s bar in Greenwich Village and was charmed by a group of mariners who went by the names of Low Life McCormick, No Pants Jones, Screwball McCarthy, Foghorn Russell, Soapbox Smitty, Riff Raff, and Whiskey Bill. Ten of the twelve mariners she met had been torpedoed at least once, and one of the other two complained, “I feel so out of place. I’m a wallflower, a nobody.” Lawrenson wrote that the mariners cut decidedly unromantic figures, guzzling “vast and formidable quantities of beer” while belting out sea ditties with raw lyrics. Beneath the surface, however, she found them intensely patriotic, casually fearless, and wise to the workings of the world. “They were the best informed, the most widely traveled, and the most truly sophisticated men I have ever met,” she concluded.

Det New York Times characterized merchant mariners as the war’s unsung heroes: “No one steps up to the bar to buy them drinks. No moist-eyed old ladies turn to them in the subway to murmur ‘God bless you.’ The cop on the beat, gentle with the tipsy soldier or the unsteady gob [Navy man], is apt to put his nightstick to the britches of a merchant sailor who has tippled heavily in the town’s bars to celebrate his rescue from the sea.”

Most of the mariners who sailed against the U-boats are gone now. The few thousand who remain have come to regard Memorial Day as a celebration that has never fully included them. But it’s still not too late to remember, belatedly, how much we owe them.

Fra THE MATHEWS MEN: Seven Brothers and the War Against Hitler's U-boats by William Geroux, published by Viking, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC Copyright © 2016 by William Geroux.


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