|Founded||March 29, 1948|
|Ceased operations||March 27, 2014|
|Parent company||Global Aviation Holdings|
|Headquarters||Peachtree City, Georgia, United States|
|Key people||John Graber, CEO|
World Airways was founded in 1948 by Benjamin Pepper with the introduction of ex-Pan American World Airways Boeing 314 flying boats. Edward Daly, however is thought of as World's founder. He bought the airline in 1950 for $50,000 and proceeded to acquire DC-4s.
World got its first government contract in 1951 and has had a substantial amount of government business since then.
World became a key military contractor during the Vietnam War, flying troops and equipment between the war zone and World's base at Oakland International Airport. On March 29, 1975, World operated the last airlift flight out of Đà Nẵng, Vietnam. Two 727s were flown to Đà Nẵng, one of which landed with Daly aboard. Thousands rushed the airplane and it took off on a taxiway under heavy fire. The aircraft with Daly aboard started its takeoff roll with the 727's back airstairs still down with Daly fending off additional people trying to leave due to over capacity (The film of this was later broadcast on the CBS Evening News on March 30, 1975). When the airplane landed at Saigon, there were 268 people in the cabin and possibly 60 or more in the cargo holds. World did not return to Đà Nẵng until April 17, 2002, then with an MD-11 aircraft to pick up a team of people resolving Missing-In-Action cases from the Vietnam War.
World Airways garnered considerable international attention in 1977 when a West German passenger named Erwin Kreuz, while on a charter flight from West Germany to San Francisco, California, mistook Bangor, Maine, a refueling stop, for San Francisco. Kreuz was feted by officials both in Maine and San Francisco.
Also, in the early 1970s, World operated three Boeing 747 aircraft and was the launch customer for the "flip nose" front-loading variant of the 747. Later, World acquired DC-10s that have been retired in 2010. World experienced heavy losses in the 1980s as a result of an attempt at scheduled service. In the late 1980s, the company moved its headquarters from Oakland to Washington Dulles International Airport, acquired Key Airlines from Bain Capitals' Presidential Airways, and established ties to Malaysia Airlines. World was burdened financially as its cash was siphoned off by parent WorldCorp to support a telecommunications venture in which the parent had invested. During the first Persian Gulf War, World did a substantial amount of profitable business for the military, enabling the addition of the MD-11 to the fleet. During the mid-1990s, World operated the military passenger trunk route from Osan Air Base, Korea and Kadena Air Base, Okinawa to Los Angeles, using MD-11 aircraft. World has been headquartered near Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport.
The airline still receives a substantial amount of its business from the military, especially in its role connecting American bases in the U.S. to the Middle East. It also thrives on passenger and freight contracts with private organizations, as well as wet leases to other airlines. With such "wet lease" arrangements (also known as "ACMI" standing for aircraft, crew, maintenance, and insurance provided by the airline and fuel and other fees paid by the chartering entity), World Airways essentially functions as a cargo airline arm or subsidiary, of another airline in which a separate division would not be an efficient use of an airlines resources.
In 2006, World Airways and North American Airlines became subsidiaries of World Air Holdings, Inc. North American had both charter and scheduled operations to Georgetown, Guyana in South America; Accra, Ghana; and Lagos, Nigeria in west Africa. North American discontinued this service in May 2008.
On April 5, 2007, World Airways returned to its Oakland and Bay Area roots where they were headquartered from 1956 to 1987. It was later acquired by ATA Holdings Which was renamed Global Aero Logistics, in a transaction valued at $315 million. With this, ATA's President, Subodh Karnik became the head of all three certificated airlines autonomous operations, ATA Airlines, North American Airlines, and World Airways. In 2007 GAL moved its operation to the World Airways building in Peachtree City, Georgia. Robert Binns was named Chief Executive Officer of GAL in April 2008 and Charlie McDonald was named president. Larry Montford became COO of World Airways. All three have since left the airline.
On 27 March 2014 World Airways announced the immediate cessation of all operations.
Scheduled passenger service
- Baltimore, MD - via Baltimore Washington International Airport (BWI)
- Frankfurt. Germany (FRA)
- Honolulu, HI (HNL)
- Kansas City, MO (MCI)
- London, England - via London Gatwick Airport (LGW )
- Los Angeles, CA - via Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
- Newark, NJ - via New York Newark International Airport (EWR)
- Oakland, CA - via Oakland International Airport (OAK)
- Orlando, FL (MCO)
- San Francisco, CA - via San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
- Washington, DC - via Washington Dulles Airport (IAD) `
In several cases, World was the only airline ever to operate wide body jet aircraft on certain domestic routes with an example being Los Angeles (LAX) - Oakland (OAK).
As of March 2014, the World Airways fleet consists of the following aircraft, with an average fleet age of 19.8 years:
|McDonnell Douglas MD-11||3||0||355||355|
|McDonnell Douglas MD-11F||4||Cargo|
In the 1970s World Airways had its headquarters on the grounds of Oakland International Airport in Oakland, California in the San Francisco Bay Area. In the 1990s World Airways had its headquarters in unincorporated Fairfax County, Virginia, near Herndon, in Greater Washington DC. In 2001 World Airways moved its headquarters to Peachtree City from Fairfax County.
In popular culture
- A World Airways Boeing 707 (N374WA) was chartered for use in the 1972 film Skyjacked and was also used for one Episode of Charlie's Angels. It was Season 2, Episode 4, Title: Angel Flight, Original Air Date: October 5, 1977. The Aircraft wore the titles "Global Airways". This same aircraft was used in the Dirty Harry 1973 film Magnum Force under the "Sovereign Airways" titles.
- A World Airways Boeing 727 (N693WA) was chartered for use in the TV movie Mayday at 40,000 Feet wearing the titles "Transcon Airways".
- A World Airways DC-10 was spotted near the beginning of the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie Commando (1985) during the era of World's scheduled service. The scene takes place in Los Angeles (LAX) with a Western Airlines DC-10 (N908) actually used for the movie. (At the time this movie was filmed, Western Airlines aircraft N904 and N905 were acquired by World Airways on lease due to World's need for additional capacity for its scheduled service.)
- A World Airways MD-11 was spotted in Airplane Repo during the "International Situation" episode.
- A World Airways DC-10-30 was used in the night ground scenes in the movie Hostage Flight.
Incidents and accidents
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (January 2011)|
- On September 19, 1960, a DC-6A/B took off from the Agana Naval Air Station on the island of Guam for a night time VFR flight to Wake Island. The plane made a right turn after takeoff and climbed continuously until striking Mount Barrigada. The plane struck the mountain 300 feet above airfield elevation and slid into thick underbrush. There were 90 occupants on board with 80 fatalities. The probable cause was the failure of the pilot to comply with published departure procedures.
- On September 8, 1973, a DC-8 operating on a cargo flight for the Military Airlift Command from Travis AFB to Clark AFB via Cold Bay and Yokota AFB crashed into Mount Dutton at an altitude of 3500 feet. All six persons on board were killed. The probable cause was "the captain's deviation from approved instrument approach procedures. As a result of the deviation the flight descended into an area of unreliable navigation signals and obstructing terrain."
- On September 20, 1981, an in-flight accident took place on a DC-10 from Baltimore to London. Flight attendant Karen Williams was killed when she became trapped in the lower galley elevator of the double-deck aircraft. An electrical malfunction and human error were both blamed as the cause. The rising elevator trapped the flight attendant between the top of the elevator shaft and a serving cart that she was apparently trying to release from its locking device.
- On January 23, 1982, World Airways Flight 30, a DC-10 landing at Boston's Logan International Airport under icy conditions and limited visibility slid off the end of the runway and plunged into Boston Harbor, separating the cockpit section from the rest of the aircraft. Two passengers were missing and were reported as fatalities. However, no bodies were found in the very shallow water. The main cause of this accident was the Massachusetts Port Authority's failure to provide adequate runway braking reports to the crew although previous aircraft had reported little to no braking action prior to World's landing.
- On May 6, 2009, a DC-10-30 with registration N139WA operating as flight 8535 from Leipzig, Germany for the Military Airlift Command experienced a firm landing at Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI). As a result of the captain's response to the firm landing, the plane's nose wheel struck the runway hard two times. The aircraft blew one of its front tires and had to execute a go-around before landing successfully. Several passengers were injured, including the first officer, who suffered back trauma. The age of the aircraft (29 years 11 months at the time of the accident) and of the extent of damage to the front landing gear and fuselage resulted in the aircraft being written-off as scrap.
- "Contact Us." World Airways. Retrieved March 15, 2014.
- Dunning, Bruce. "Dunning's Frantic Flight". CBS News. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
- "History of World Airways". World Airways, Inc. 2009. Retrieved March 17, 2009.[dead link]
- Kristin Bender (Jun 14, 2005). "Vietnamese make sentimental trip back to homeland". Oakland Tribune. Retrieved March 17, 2009.[dead link]
- Ben Mutzabaugh (Apr 6, 2007). "ATA to buy World Air, North American Air". USA Today. Retrieved March 17, 2009.
- "World Air Holdings Agrees to be Acquired by Global Aero Logistics Inc.". World Airways, Inc. April 5, 2007. Archived from the original on April 5, 2007. Retrieved March 17, 2009.
- departedflights.com, World Airways Sept. 1, 1982 route map
- departedflights.com, World Airways Oct. 28, 1984 route map
- departedflights.com, Feb. 15, 1985 Official Airline Guide (OAG)
- departedflights.com, World Airways Feb. 10, 1986 system timetable
- http://www.worldairways.com/company-at-a-glance.php "World Airways At a Glance (Fleet)"
- "World's Charter Airlines." Flight International. October 10, 1974. 466.
- "World Airline Directory." Flight International. March 25–31, 1998. 103.
- "History of World Airways."[dead link] World Airways. Retrieved on September 29, 2009.
- "McDonnell Douglas DC-8-63CF N802WA Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved January 20, 2011.
- World Airways Disputes Claim
Media related to World Airways at Wikimedia Commons