The Douglas DC-4 originated from the unrelated first DC-4 (which was renamed the DC-4E) that had proved too complicated and lacking in performance prior to World War Two. The advent of the war interrupted the new DC-4s use as a commercial airliner and after the first prototype was constructed nearly 1,170 came off the production lines for the military in a large number of variants. The basic types were named the C-54 Skymaster (for the USAAF) and the R5D (for the US Navy).
During the late 1970s and early 1980s Boeing 707-320s were retired in large numbers by the US majors and most went on to have second careers in the third world - often in beautiful liveries. Sadly African nations and their airline's seemed to succumb to rampant corruption (and the effects of wars) as the 80s went on and few of the Sub-saharan airline's remain with us today. Aeroclassics has made a good array of lovely 707s but there are plenty more still to be made. Following part1's look at North Africa in thi spart we go south of the Sahara.
During my childhood in the 80s, on the rare occasion I could get my dad to drive me up to Heathrow (Gatwick was my local and my dad was not a spotter) I was always thrilled by the variety of airlines on show.
Africa was an especially exciting location for interesting airlines. With Britain's colonial ties and business centre most English speaking African nations could be seen at Heathrow. Some of the more affluent airline's could afford new equipment so for example Ghana Airways, Air Zaire and Nigeria flew DC-10s, SAA 747s and Egyptair A300s, but well into the 90s most African flag carriers based their fleet around what they could afford. Near universally these were second-hand Boeing 707s.
Transportes Aereos de Centroamericano was founded rather bizarrely in 1931 by a New Zealand pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force - Lowell Yerex, in Honduras. Yerex dreamed of creating a network of TACA's throughout Latin America but though initially successful political machinations with Pan Am and others as well as various dictatorships saw all the airlines except the one in El Salvador disappear. In 1940 Yerex sold control of the company only to be forced out in 1945. TACA acquired a local San Salvador based airline in 1947 and it was this which would go on to form the future airline TACA International.
The race to be the first US airline with Jets was won by those who purchased Boeing 707s, however in the south both Eastern and Delta were not 707 customers and the race was still on for first jet service in Atlanta. Eastern in the 1950s still dwarfed Delta and was set to get its DC-8s much sooner than its competitor, that is until Eastern's Eddie Rickenbaker decided to shoot himself in the foot. Rickenbacker was notoriously spendthrift and upon learning that Douglas's first DC-8s would be underpowered compared to later build aircraft he promptly switched Eastern's early orders to later DC-8-21s. Delta then cheekily stepped in and tookup the early deivery slots leaving Eastern in its jet trails.
The Boeing 787-8 rather missed the boat in China due to its huge development delays, however China Southern proudly welcomed its first aircraft in 2013 wearing a unique scheme. The CZ 787 fleet can nowadays be seen across the globe from Europe to the USA and Australasia supporting their fleet of 777s and A330s. With the 787-9 picking up orders with Air China and Hainan Airlines it is likely that in the future further 787s will grace the China Southern fleet.
In the early-1990s Mesa Airlines was the largest independently owned regional airline in the USA. It already operated multiple separate divisions (Air Midwest, America West Express, CalPac, FloridaGulf Airlines, Skyway Airlines etc). Mesa had started code-sharing with America West (AWA) at Phoenix in late 1992 bringing its Essential Air Services routes under the AWA Express banner and replacing AWA's unusual mainline DHC-8 flights. As America West prepared to leave bankruptcy protection in 1993 Mesa was one of the four partners in AmWest Partners which controlled over 75% of the airline's stock. As part of the deal to leave bankruptcy it was agreed that Mesa would setup a new airline division to operate F70s and two were ordered in December 1993. They would be the first F70s in the USA and the new airline would be named Desert Sun Airlines...
I'm Richard Stretton: a fan of classic airliners and airlines who enjoys exploring their history through my collection of die-cast airliners. If you enjoy the site please donate whatever you can to help keep it running: