Great Moments in Travel History – May 2013

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A United Airlines 777 in London

A United Airlines 777 in London

American Airlines Flight 191 crashed near Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport on May 25, 1979.  All 271 passengers and crew were killed, as well as two people on the ground.  Prior to the September 11, 2001 attacks, the crash was the deadliest commercial aircraft accident in U.S. history.

On May 4, 1991, shortly after takeoff from Bangkok, Thailand, Lauda Air Flight 004 crashed.  All 223 passengers and crew aboard the Boeing 767 lost their lives.

The first Boeing 777 was delivered to launch customer United Airlines on May 17, 1995.  The aircraft was placed into service in June of that year.

On May 30, 1995, the Boeing 777 became the first airplane in aviation history to earn U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval to fly extended-range twin-engine operations (ETOPS) at service entry.

American Airlines placed an order for 20 Boeing 757-200s on May 2, 2000.  The order brought the total to 1,009 orders for 757s from operators around the world.

On May 16, 2001, Boeing delivered the first 737-900 to launch customer Alaska Airlines.  The model is the longest 737 variant to date.

With the delivery of a 737-800 to ATA Airlines on May 14, 2004, only six years after delivery of the first model, Boeing’s Next-Generation 737 family reached 1,500 deliveries in a shorter time than any other commercial airplane family.

Following an order from Air France for five 777 Freighters (with options for three additional airplanes) on May 23, 2005, the Boeing 777 Freighter was launched.

On May 23, 2006, Boeing delivered the last two of the 156 Boeing 717 airplanes produced to Midwest Airlines and AirTran Airways, marking the end of commercial airplane production in Southern California, which was started by Donald Douglas in the 1920s.

Final assembly began on the first 787 Dreamliner on May 21, 2007.  The Dreamliner is the company’s most fuel-efficient aircraft, and is constructed primarily of composite materials.   It was first put into passenger service in late 2011 but was grounded temporarily at the beginning of 2013 due to problems with its high-tech lithium-ion batteries.

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