Brasil has always had an interesting and colourful civil scene and like many South American nations its aviation history is now a graveyard of great names as airlines have been mismanaged and found themselves unable to compete with startups in the deregulated era.
So Varig, VASP, Transbrasil and Cruzeiro Do Sul now find themselves consigned to the history book and replaced by TAM, Gol, Azul and others. Transbrasil must surely be the most colourful of the Brasilian airlines of the past...
Transbrasil began operations in 1953 as Sadia. Growth in the 1960s and the acquisition of TASSA enabled the purchase of Heralds and initiation of services on the Rio-Sao Paulo airlink. BAC One-Elevens arrived in 1970 and the Transbrasil name was adopted in 1972, with the first Boeing 727s arriving in 1974. Transbrasil adopted colourful schemes in the 70s influenced by Braniff.
PT-TCA is seen here in the blue version of the 1970s scheme. TCA was originally N341PA delivered to Pan Am new as ‘Clipper Shooting Star’ in September 1966. She became N727GB when sold to IAL and was on-leased to Arrow Air as N727BB. After two years she joined Evergreen International as N722EV and in 1987 she became part of the Federal Express fleet as N143FE. She was withdrawn from use in 2003.
PT-TCB is shown here in the orange version of the 1980s Rainbow scheme. TCB was originally N342PA delivered to Pan Am new as ‘Clipper Golden Age’ in October 1966. Transbrasil continued to add twenty more 727s mainly ex-Braniff machines during the 70s and several of the later aircraft replaced the earliest. By 1979 the fleet was entirely 727s and was the largest of the type in South America. TCB became N727LJ when returned to her lessor and on-leased to Arrow Air. After two years she joined Evergreen International as N723EV and in 1987 she became part of Federal Express’ fleet as N144FE. She was withdrawn from use in August 2004.
Transbrasil’s 727s were all gone by 1989 when the airline began international services. The 737-300 was their primary replacement on intra-Brasilian routes. Transbrasil however was severely mismanaged and also found itself unable to compete with new entrants like TAM. Sadly they went out of business in late 2001.
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: