This Week In Business Travel History – 26 February 2012
The first commercial railroad in the U.S. was chartered in 1827. The Baltimore & Ohio (B&O) Railroad Company was intended to compete with the Erie Canal, and link the port of Baltimore with the Ohio River.
In 1847, Congress authorized the U.S. Postal Department to issue postage stamps. On the same day six years later, in 1853, Congress also authorized the first transcontinental railroad survey.
The Diplomatic Appropriation Act was signed in 1893, authorizing the rank of United States Ambassador, and creating a whole new breed of international business travelers.
In 1931, Imperial Airways began scheduled services from England to Africa aboard Armstrong Whitworth Argosy aircraft. In November 1939, Imperial merged with British Airways to form BOAC (British Overseas Airways Corporation). In March 1974, BOAC joined with British European Airways to form British Airways.
Asia’s oldest airline, Philippine Airlines, was founded in 1941. Philippine still operates today and carried over 9 million passengers between 2010 and 2011.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) began operating in 1947. The IMF was born at the Bretton Woods conference at the Omni Mount Washington Resort in 1944.
In 1949, the first nonstop flight around the world took place in a Boeing B-50 (known as the “Lucky Lady II”) flown by Captain James Gallagher. The trip, which began and ended in Forth Worth, Texas, took 94 hours and 1 minute, and featured four mid-air refuelings.
The first Lockheed C-5A Galaxy rolled out of the manufacturing plant in Georgia and was displayed by the U.S. Air Force in 1968. At the time, the Galaxy was the largest plane in the world, a title now held by the Antonov An-225.
In 1969, the maiden flight of the Concorde took off from Toulouse, reaching an altitude of 10,000 feet. The supersonic aircraft stayed aloft for only 27 minutes before the pilot decided to land.
President Richard Nixon (pictured with Mao Tse-Tung) ended his historic weeklong visit to China in 1972. His trip ended 25 years of isolation between the countries and shifted the balance of the Cold War in the United States’ favor.
Finally, in 2005, businessman Steve Fossett became the first person to fly an airplane around the world solo, non-stop, and without refueling. Fossett flew an incredible 25,000 miles in 67 hours and 2 minutes. Sadly, he perished two years later in 2007, when the plane he was piloting crashed in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.