Continental Air Services, Inc

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Continental Air Services
Founded April 1965
Commenced operations September 1965
Operating bases Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Vientiane Airport, Laos, Seletar Airport Singapore, Don Mueang International Airport and Tan Son Nhut Airport, South Vietnam
Fleet size See Fleet below
Parent company Continental Airlines
Headquarters Los Angeles, California , United States

Continental Air Services, Inc, better known as CASI, was a subsidiary airline of Continental Airlines set up to provide operations and airlift support in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. CASI was formed as the South-East Asia Division of Continental in April 1965 with operations starting in September 1965 using approximately 22, mainly STOL, aircraft. Contintental paid over a million US dollars for BirdAir (Bird and Sons) and its 350 employees and 22 aircraft. CASI aircraft in Laos were registered as Air Continental. As of 1998 Continental Airlines still operated in the Pacific Islands.[1]

Organization[edit]

CASI, as a Nevada Corporation, was officially located at One East First Street, Reno, Nevada but its headquarters was located at 7300 World Way West, Los Angeles, California. CASI maintained Overseas Offices in Bangkok Thailand, Vientiane (Laos), & Saigon (South Vietnam).[2] CASI’s Southeast Asia headquarters was in Vientiane, Laos, with operations bases at Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Vientiane, Laos, Singapore, Bangkok, Udorn, Thailand and Saigon, Vietnam.

CASI’s original purpose was to operate aircraft and ground facilities to support projects involving construction, oil exploration and engineering companies as well as contracts with USAID and other government agencies.[3] Since CASI was operating under US government contracts CASI had a liaison with the US government, Pierre Salinger, who was designated as Vice-Present of the operation. Because CASI operated in the southeast Asia region to assist the US government at the conclusion of the war Continental Airlines (CAL) was granted a contract with the Micronesian Trust Territory to set up and operate an airline (Air Micronesia) in the Micronesian islands for a designated period (6 years). After the 6 years CAL was to turn over the operation to the Trust Territory authorities but that never happen for a number of reasons. Today, CAL, now United Airlines, continues to operate in that region with a base in Guam.

Uniforms[edit]

Initially CASI uniforms were locally made khaki uniforms which were manufactured in different parts of Laos, Thailand or Vietnam. Some shirts are 2-pocket, others are 4-pocket safari-type jackets. Later CASI uniforms consisted of white shirts and black trousers. Most CASI pilots were issued the baseball cap. A few of the early CASI pilots were issued the "bus driver" hat. Wings were both US-made and Laotian-made and were worn in Vietnam but not in Laos.[4][5]

Fleet[edit]

Continental Air Service Pilatus PC-6 Porter Short-Take-Off-and-Landing (STOL) aircraft in Laos

CASI/Bird Air were known to operate the following aircraft:[6]

Total fleet: 37 to 45 aircraft by 1976

CASI occasionally leased its assets to others such as:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ P.6 Wings of Air America, A Photo History by Terry Love
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-06-21. Retrieved 2009-12-29. 
  3. ^ Martin Best, The CIA’s Airlines: Logistic Air Support of the War in Laos 1954 to 1975, Martin Best - Air-America.Org. 2002.
  4. ^ http://www.air-america.net/casi4.htm
  5. ^ "I was with CASI from 12/1968 to 12/1970. My home was in Vientiane, Laos for that period of time. The company uniform, while I was there, was military style khakis with military style black "jump" boots. We were issued baseball caps with a CASI logo and our wings were embroidered fabric that I believe were the same as Continental Airlines flight crew wings. I still have both my First Officer and my Captains wings." - Howard (Duke) Morton
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-06-21. Retrieved 2009-12-29. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Kenneth Conboy and Don Greer, War in Laos 1954-1975, Squadron/Signal Publications, Inc., Carrolton, Texas 1994. ISBN 0897473159
  • Kenneth Conboy with James Morrison, Shadow War: The CIA's Secret War in Laos, Boulder CO: Paladin Press, 1995. ISBN 0-87364-825-0
  • Kenneth Conboy and Simon McCouaig, The War in Laos 1960-75, Men-at-arms series 217, Osprey Publishing Ltd, London 1989. ISBN 9780850459388
  • Roger Warner, Shooting at the Moon: The Story of America's Clandestine War in Laos, South Royalton VE: Steerforth Press, 1996.

External links[edit]