Great Moments in Travel History – August 2019

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Pan American World Airways took delivery of the country’s first commercial jet airliner, a Boeing 707-120, on August 15, 1958, four months ahead of schedule. Clipper America, as the aircraft was nicknamed, entered service in October of that year on a flight, with 111 passengers on board, from New York’s Idlewild airport (currently JFK International) to Le Bourget in Paris, France, with a refueling stop in Gander, Newfoundland. The 707 remained in production through 1979 and is credited with having ushered in the jet age.

The Douglas DC-10, the first jumbo jet from Douglas, made its first flight on August 29, 1970, and officially entered into service (with launch customer American Airlines) on August 5, 1971. The tri-jet wide-body aircraft carried up to 380 passengers.

Northeast Airlines merged with Delta Air Lines on August 1, 1972. The former first began operations in 1934.

The Königs Wusterhausen air disaster occurred on August 14, 1972, when an Interflug Ilyushin II-62 crashed shortly after takeoff from Berlin Schönefeld Airport in Germany. All 156 people onboard the plane died, in what was the second deadliest aviation accident at the time, and remains the deadliest aviation accident in Germany.

On August 3, 1973, the Grand Central Hotel, located on Broadway between Bond Street and Great Jones Street in New York City, collapsed, killing four and injuring twelve. Designed by Henry Engelbert, the hotel opened in 1870 and featured an elegant façade with elaborate mansards with dormers in the French Second Empire style.

Chautauqua Airlines, now part of Republic Airways, began operations on August 1, 1974 with a flight from Jamestown, New York, to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

On August 3, 1975, a Royal Air Maroc flight on the way to Agadir Inezgane Airport in Morocco, crashed into a mountain killing all 188 passengers and crew. The incident remains the deadliest ever to involve a Boeing 707.

The deadliest single-aircraft accident in history occurred on August 12, 1985, when Japan Airlines Flight 123 crashed into Mount Takamagahara en route from Tokyo’s Haneda Airport to Osaka. Of the 524 people on board the Boeing 747SR, there were only 4 survivors. The Boeing 747SR was a short-range version of the 747-100 with lower fuel capacity and greater payload capability.

On August 16, 1987, Northwest Airlines Flight 255 crashed at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, killing 156 people, including two on the ground. Of the 155 passengers aboard the flight, the only survivor was a four-year-old child.

On August 1, 1997, the Boeing Company merged with McDonnell Douglas Corp., keeping the Boeing name.

Two hundred and twenty eight out of the 256 people on Korean Air Flight 801 died on August 6, 1997, when the Boeing 747 crashed during heavy rain at Guam International Airport.

On August 2, 1999, the Boeing 757-300 made its first flight. The aircraft is the largest single-aisle twinjet ever built.

The 767-400ER rolled out of the Boeing factory in Everett, Washington, on August 26, 1999. The aircraft is the first Boeing wide-body jet resulting from two fuselage stretches.

The Boeing 737-900 made its first flight on August 3, 2000. The aircraft is the longest 737 variant to date.

On August 5, 2003, a suicide bomber detonated himself and his car outside the lobby of the JW Marriott Jakarta in South Jakarta, Indonesia. Twelve people were killed in the attack, and an additional 150 were injured.

On August 8, 2006, Boeing rolled out the new 737-900ER airplane at its Renton, Washington, facility. Lion Air was the aircraft’s launch customer.

Virgin America began operations on August 8, 2007, with flights from New York and Los Angeles to San Francisco.

Boeing began major assembly on the first 747-8 Freighter on August 9, 2008. The aircraft made its maiden flight on February 8, 2010.

Spanair Flight 5022 crashed after takeoff from Barajas Airport in Madrid, Spain, on August 20, 2008, resulting in the death of 154 people. The McDonnell Douglas MD-82 disaster was the first fatal accident in the 25-year history of Spanair.

On August 27, 2012, Hertz Global Holdings announced that it would acquire Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group. The deal was valued at roughly $2.3 billion.

Ritz-Carlton opened its first hotel in Austria when it unveiled the Ritz-Carlton, Vienna, on August 27, 2012.

On August 22, 2013, ANA Holdings, the parent company of All Nippon Airways, purchased the Pan Am International Flight Academy for $139.5 million. The Flight Academy was the last remaining division of Pan Am, which ceased operations after less than a year in bankruptcy in December 1991.

Regularly scheduled air service between the United States and Cuba resumed on August 31, 2016. A JetBlue Airbus A320 took off that day from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport for Santa Clara at 9:45 a.m., becoming the first flight to that nation island after a hiatus of more than 50 years.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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