Great Moments in Travel History – October 2019

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A Boeing 787 Dreamliner with ANA livery

A Boeing 787 Dreamliner with ANA livery

The Douglas DC-9 Super 80 twin-engine jetliner made its first flight on October 18, 1979. The plane is the sixth and largest version of the popular DC-9 series.

On October 11, 1984, Aeroflot Flight 3352 crashed into maintenance vehicles on the runway at Omsk Airport in Siberia. All 174 people onboard the plane, as well as four on the ground, died in the accident, which remains the deadliest aviation disaster to occur on Russian soil.

On October 28, 1990, United Airlines agreed to buy Pan American World Airways’ London routes for $400 million. The deal gave United Pan Am’s gateways in Los Angeles; New York; Washington, D.C.; San Francisco; and Seattle. Pan Am sold the remainder of its route network the following year and ceased operations on December 4, 1991.

The formal go-ahead was given for the Boeing 777 jet transport on October 29, 1990, with an initial order by United Airlines of 34 airplanes and 34 options. The 777 was the first jetliner to be 100% designed using computers.

On October 28, 1995, the world’s deadliest metro disaster occurred when a train caught fire in the subway system of Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. Nearly 300 people died in the incident, and an additional 265 were injured.

On October 30, 1999, EgyptAir Flight 990, originating in Los Angeles, crashed in the Atlantic Ocean on its way to Cairo, Egypt, killing all 217 people on board. The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board reported that the pilot intentionally caused the crash, while Egyptian authorities maintained that the crash was the result of mechanical failure.

The Linate Airport disaster occurred on October 8, 2001, when a Scandinavian Airlines McDonnell Douglas MD-87 collided with a Cessna Citation CJ2 in Milan, Italy. All 110 people onboard the MD-87, as well as the four onboard the Cessna and four people on the ground, were killed in the accident.

On October 3, 2004, Donald W. Douglas Jr., former president of the Douglas Aircraft Company, died at age 87.

Boeing marked the completion of its 757 commercial airplane program as the 1,050th and final 757 rolled off the production line on October 28, 2004. The aircraft has a two-member crew glass cockpit and supercritical wing design.

On October 22, 2005, Bellview Airlines Flight 210 crashed shortly after takeoff from Murtala Muhammad International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria. All 117 people onboard the Boeing 737-200 perished in the crash.

The Charles Hotel, a Rocco Forte property, opened in Munich, Germany on October 4, 2007. The hotel is named after Sir Rocco’s father, the late Lord Charles Forte.

Boeing delivered its first South Carolina-built Dreamliner on October 5, 2012, to Air India. The aircraft was assembled at the plane manufacturer’s North Charleston facility, and was Boeing’s 28th delivered Dreamliner.

The Ritz-Carlton, Chengdu opened its doors on October 11, 2013. The hotel is situated on the site of a former palace overlooking Tianfu Square in the center of the city. Chengdu is the Chinese terminus of the ancient Southern Silk Road and one of China’s fastest growing cities.

On October 21, 2013, a judge formally approved American Airlines’ plan for reorganization after the carrier’s stay in bankruptcy court.

Transaero Airlines, Russian’s second largest carrier, shut down on October 26, 2015. Aeroflot had announced plans to acquire Transaero just one month before, although it later decided not to proceed with the transaction.

Lufthansa retired its fleet of Boeing 737 aircraft on October 31, 2016. The last flight of the carrier’s 737 fleet, a 737-300, traveled from Frankfurt to Hamburg, where a special ceremony commemorating the aircraft’s 48-year presence in the airline’s fleet took place.

On October 31, 2017, American Airlines announced plans to close its St. Louis, Missouri, pilot base and also to retire its fleet of MD-80 aircraft.

The crash of a Lion Air Boeing 737 Max into the Java Sea was the first of two crashes of the now grounded aircraft and launched multiple investigations into the aircraft’s flight control systems including the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS, that pushes down a jet’s nose and, in the case of the two crashes, put the aircraft into unrecoverable dives.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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