Karachi Connies: PIA's L-1049s
National Airlines had been at war with its much larger rival Eastern almost since it came into existence and the feud between the two airlines irascible larger than life leaders, George Theodore Baker and Eddie Vernon Rickenbacker was legendary. Baker loved nothing more to get one over on Rickenbacker and the two airlines competed heavily for traffic on the North-South routes between cities like New York and Miami. Speed was the name of the game in the 1940s and 50s and whoever was fastest had a clear advantage with passengers.
Sociedade Anônima Empresa de Viação Aérea Rio-Grandense – VARIG was founded in May 1927 by a German immigrant who was also an ex-WW1 pilot. The influence of WW2 and Brazil's eventual allied status put an end to any German involvement but the airline's development progressed well postwar with the addition of DC-3s and C-46s. In 1949 it gained permission to begin international services to the USA, though services did not begin until 2 August 1955 after the delivery of 3 L-1049G Super Constellations. Two years earlier international services to Buenos Aires had begun with C-46s.
REAL (Redes Estaduais Aéreas Limitadas) was formed by two ex-TACA pilots in 1945 starting operations with 3 DC-3s. Several smaller airlines were purchased in the and in 1951 international routes began.
Canada's major two airlines both sprung from railroad companies at quite a late stage, when it was clear war was approaching and aviation was growing rapidly in the neighbouring USA. Trans Canada Airlines was started by the Crown Corporation Canadian National Railways (CNR) in 1937. From 1943-1947 TCA operated the Canadian Government Trans-Atlantic Air Service to provide trans-Atlantic military passenger and postal delivery service using Avro Lancastrian (modified Avro Lancaster) aircraft. Postwar the service became a civilian route.
Air Ceylon came into being even before independence in 1948 when the airline was setup the year before with a trio of war surplus DC-3s. The aircraft were used for route proving trials, pilot training and flood relief operations prior to the December 10th start of scheduled operations.
The Taiwanese flag carrier began operations in December 1959 as a charter airline with scheduled operations not beginning until 1963. The fleet consisted of DC-3s and DC-4s until a single, ex-Flying Tigers and Trans International, Super Constellation was purchased in late 1966.
This was joined in February 1967 by the first of a pair of new Boeing 727-109s. International services to South Vietnam, Hong Kong and Japan were started with the L-1049 and 727s.
In late 1959 Malcolm MacIntyre became CEO and President of Eastern. By April 1960 it was an airline with 17,800 employees and a huge fleet of piston engine propliners, including 48 DC-7Bs, 38 L-1049s, 18 L-749s, 7 DC-6Bs, 20 CV-440s and 56 Martin 404s as well as 40 turboprop L-188 Electras and 4 DC-8 jets. MacIntyre would go on to have many battles with Eastern's dominant personality, Eddie Rickenbacker, but amongst his many challenges was what to do with such a diverse fleet. The L-1049s were a particular issue.
Now Delta had never been much interested in the Connie itself having been a loyal Douglas customer and having opted for the DC-6, DC-7 and DC-7B. However the 1953 takeover of Chicago & Southern (see http://www.diecastaircraftforum.com/...air-lines.html ) saw Delta receive six L-749As from C&S. Not fitting with Delta's fleet they were disposed of in under a year.
Soon afterwards however the airline had the need for aircraft to operate new vacation package coach services and the Connie was ideal.
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: