Transatlantic Services: Their Beginning

Transatlantic Services: Their Beginning

To the most important things responsible for the globalization of the world that we enjoy today is definitely flying and specifically the advent of Transatlantic Flight. In the beginning of the 20th century, the only thing holding the world back was the Atlantic Ocean that was separating the powerful United States with the ancient Europe. It was a powerful combination that would allow the globalization of the world when the time came. However, in the beginning of the 20th century the main problem was the aerodynamic complications that prevented the planes at the time from crossing the Transatlantic. The internal vibrations and other complications prevented such long range and long duration flights. Thus, the only way to cross the Atlantic from the United States to Europe and specifically England was to go across with a transatlantic ship. For this journey, a transatlantic ship took about 7 days to cross the vast gulf of the Atlantic Ocean.

However, all of that changed when the daring and brave aviator Charles Lindberg crossed the Atlantic in a plane in 1927. It signaled beginning of a new era when the traveling between the two continents would become commonplace someday. As soon as the 1930’s started air carriers at the time started experimenting with transatlantic flights. Of course the first experiments were empty flight but the slowly and slowly carriers started carrying postal mail with the transatlantic flights. At the time, there were two major carriers: British Imperial Airways and Pan American Airways, which would in time, become the flag carrier of the United States. Both of these airlines started to cross the Atlantic and deliver postal mail across the two continents. However also Deutsche Air was a powerful competition as it carried mail between South America and West Africa. Although it was some time before investors would start commercial flights with passengers, these ail mail routes provided the necessary expertise for the transatlantic flight. A postal flight across the Atlantic Ocean was concluded in less than a day.

Another major problem at the time was the availability off suitable landing strips for transatlantic flights. The necessary concrete just wasn’t there and thus instead of land planes, ship planes called the Flying Boats were used for Transatlantic flights. These flying boats were easily capable of landing in water with the fuselage acting as the landing gear or a boat.

It was perhaps Pan AM vision that allowed transatlantic flights to become really successful and commonplace. Juan Trippe, who was the founder of PAN AM quickly saw that transatlantic flights would be a major business someday and he quickly negotiated for routes and stopping points along the way like the Bahamas. He also ordered a special flying boat to be produced the legendary B-314 which would continue to serve the PAN AM fleet for decades to come. It was able to carry 74 passengers and it had a galley and sleeping quarters aboard. At last, the big day came when in June 28, 1939 PAN AM had its first commercial flight with passenger across the Atlantic. This first flight was between New York and France and the passengers were charged 5 for a one way trip. It was the beginning of an era where PAN AM would dominate the world with its famous Clipper Service that flew across the Atlantic continuously and dominatingly.

Although the World War II proved to be slow in business due to world affairs, after the war the pace of aeronautics and commercial flights across the Atlantic picked up speed. It was also a time of boom for American carriers as the carriers pf Europe were war weary. Three major American carriers were present at the time: The famous PAN AM, the American Export Company and Transcontinental and Western Airlines (T W A). Especially right after World War II, these American carriers were especially dominant in the world market for transatlantic flights. However as the wounds of the war were getting licked, European Air Carriers also begun to emerge as competitors I the Transatlantic Air Market. Airlines such as the Belgium Sabena and the Dutch Royal Airways like the KLM would also provide a stiff competition to the American Carriers. However, the transatlantic carrier PAN AM proved to be the most famous and the most powerful of all the airlines in the Transatlantic route until its collapse in 1991. However, it was responsible for pioneering the way and joining the two continents together. By the advent of the 1950’s, Air Travel between the two continents of the Atlantic Ocean had become commonplace and the world was on its way to becoming a one big global community.

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