The Pacific islands have a proud history of colourful flag carriers, however the majority of the region’s airlines have struggled with their remoteness, the limited investment capability of their home nations and competition from Australia and New Zealand. Polynesian Airlines’ history illustrates all three aspects during its history.
By 1980 Qantas had retired its last Boeing 707s and was unique in having a fleet made entirely of Boeing 747s. This however only lasted until June 1985 when the first of seven 767-200ERs arrived. As with everything in the heavily regulated Australian aviation scene though, getting the aircraft was a bit of a fight...
After many years of solid profits and year-on-year traffic growth the airlines of Australia were hit hard in 1981-82 by a storm of troubles that afflicted air travel worldwide: increased fuel prices, an economic recession and a slump in passenger numbers. This was made worse for Trans-Australia Airlines (TAA) and Ansett by the timing, which matched their introduction of widebody airlines and strike action by engineers.
Ansett was able to delay the introduction of its 767s from December 1982 to May 1983 however TAA already had several A300s in service. Even so the introduction of Ansett's 767s wasn't without its quirks!
On May 12 1997 Delta Air Lines CEO Ron Allen announced his resignation after ten years at the helm and 34 years at the airline. At the time the news seems to have been met with some shock especially as the airline refused to say why exactly he decided to leave.
The surprise was partly because the airline was firmly in the black by 1997 recording profits of around $900 million for the year which itself followed a record $662 million profit in 1996, whilst its stock was up 17% within a year. In retrospect however Allen's departure seems less of a surprise.
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: