Shortly after the end of World War II, surplus military aircraft entered the civilian market in large numbers. This triggered an explosion of airlines, often flown by the abundant number of veteran pilots. The Douglas C-47 was a mainstay in many of these airlines and freight companies. Not satisfied with simply transporting cargo, two former Air Corps officers, Fred P. Dollenberg and Raymond W. Baldwin Jr. set up Winged Cargo Inc. with its headquarters at NorthWest Philadelphia Airport. This company utilized gliders to carry extra cargo.
The Aeromarine Plane and Motor company was an early American aircraft manufacturer that was formed in 1914 and pioneered the civilian aviation market. Its subsidiary, Aeromarine Airways, started regularly scheduled flights between major US cities. By the summer of 1922, Aeromarine Airways operated daily flights between Cleveland and Detroit. Within two months, the aircraft had carried 4388 passengers thereby sparking optimism within the company that the general public would accept aviation as an attractive and integral part of transportation. However, this optimism was soon dashed as the flying boat Columbus (Pictured far top) suffered engine trouble and crash landed on heavy seas, claiming the lives of four passengers. Soon after, one of the flying boats from the Aeromarine fleet was destroyed in a Havana Harbour due to a storm.
Air Transport and Travel Ltd. (AT&T) was founded by aviation pioneer and newspaper proprietor, George Holt Thomas. He also founded the Aircraft Manufacturing company Limited (Airco) in 1911 and the company produced thousands of aircraft, mostly designed by Geoffrey de Havilland, for the British military. AT&T initially operated relief flights from Folkestone to Ghent using a fleet of former military Airco DH.4A biplanes but after the war entered the growing market for civilian aviation.
Trans International Airlines (TIA) was a non-scheduled Charter Airlines that operated regular charter flights between the US and Europe and saw service briefly in the Vietnam War. The airline, acquired by Entertainment and travel mogul Kirk Kerkorian, was riding the postwar boom in commercial aviation as a sea of former air force pilots and demilitarised aircraft flooded the civilian industry. It held the honour of being the world’s largest charter airline with the acquisition of Saturn Airways in December 1979.
During the administration of Calvin Coolidge, the US government looked to Pan Am as an extension of US foreign policy which would allow economic expansion into Latin America and the Caribbean. The US government “awarded Pan Am every foreign airmail route for with bids were invited”. The success of Pan Am was largely attributed to the diplomatic genius of the company’s founder and visionary, Juan Trippe, and the Foreign Mail Act. This Act, passed with the purpose of regulating the international mail service, stipulated that only airlines capable of operating with scale while upholding the dignity of the United States would be allowed to carry mail. Not only that, the Act stated that contracts would only be granted to companies that were given invitations by Latin American Countries. Trippe maintained good relations with leaders of these countries thereby securing air routes.