This Week In Business Travel History – 11 March 2012
Standard Time, the synchronization of clocks within a time zone, was first adopted in the United States in 1884, thanks to a decision by the railroad industry to adopt five standard time zones.
The first main line electric train in the United Kingdom started service in 1904, with a trip from Liverpool to Southport.
In 1927, Pan Am (Pan American Airways) was founded as an air mail and passenger carrier that operated between Key West and Havana. Its innovations, which ranged from computerized reservations systems to jet aircraft to jumbo jets, shaped the airline industry for many decades. Pan Am served as the unofficial flag carrier of the United States until it ceased operations in 1991.
In 1932, Newark Airport completed the installation of landing aid equipment to support additional night landings. Newark Airport still handles over 30 million passengers each year- many of whom arrive at night.
The Convair Liner, the first twin-engine pressurized airplane in the U.S., was tested this week in 1947.
Ten years later, in 1957, a Boeing 707 prototype aircraft flew from Seattle, Washington to Baltimore, Maryland (a distance of 2,350 miles or 3,782 km) in 3 hours 48 minutes, averaging 611 mph (983 km/h)
KLM inaugurated its first intercontinental jet service in 1960, flying a Douglas DC-8 from Amsterdam to New York. KLM has since merged with Air France (in 2004), but still operates under its original name, and is the oldest airline in the world to do so.
Herb Kelleher (pictured) and Rollin King incorporated Air Southwest in 1967. Four years later, the company evolved into Southwest Airlines, which today operates over 3,300 low-cost flights each day. Kelleher is also celebrating his 81st birthday this week on the same day that Southwest CEO Gary Kelly turns 57. Happy Birthday Herb and Gary!
In 1983, a Boeing 767 finally landed after a nonstop flight of 5,499 miles from Lisbon, Portugal to Seattle, Washington. This set the distance record for a twinjet airliner in commercial service.
The Blizzard of 1993 (also known as the “Storm of the Century”) began its two days of ruining travel plans as it moved across the North American east coast. Nearly every airport from Nova Scotia to Georgia was closed at some point during the 30-hour storm, inconveniencing countless business travelers.
The Canadian low-cost airline Jetsgo ceased operations and filed for bankruptcy in 2005. At one point, Jetsgo was the third-largest Canadian Airline, and served 29 destinations in North America.
Finally, in 2005, China’s first privately owned carrier, Okay Airways, began operations with a flight from Tianjin to Changsha. The airline is headquartered in Bejing, and operates both passenger and cargo flights.
(Photo: Courtesy of Southwest Airlines)