SOURCE: Global Aero Logistics

March 26, 2008 17:58 ET

World Airways Celebrates 60th Anniversary

PEACHTREE CITY, GA--(Marketwire - March 26, 2008) - Sixty years ago this month, World Airways joined the aviation community with a small charter fleet of surplus Boeing 314 Clippers. Today, the Georgia-based company is one of the largest wide-body charter operators in the United States, carrying passengers and cargo in every time zone.

The company is celebrating its birthday on March 29 with a kickoff event that begins a year of activities to observe World's diamond anniversary. Employees and family members will gather for a family day and special events staged at the Delta Air Transport Heritage Museum near Hartsfield Jackson International Airport. Former World Airways executives Hollis Harris, John Ellington, Randy Martinez and Jeff MacKinney will share in the activities.

"World Airways has had a rich history, through good times and bad, on the path to becoming the successful airline it is today," said Larry Montford, World's chief operating officer. "We currently have a fleet of wide-body MD-11 and DC-10 passenger and cargo aircraft, joined this month by our first Boeing 747-400 freighter, all serving our military and commercial customers around the world."

World Airways jets now transport U.S. military personnel on international routes every day, continuing the company's tradition of military service that spans more than 55 years. World is best known for its charter service in Vietnam, making news with the harrowing "last flight from Da Nang" and the heartwarming Operation Babylift from Saigon, which set off a national program that brought more than 3,000 young Vietnamese orphans to the United States in 1975.

Edward J. Daly was the flamboyant, daring CEO who snapped up the infant airline when it was on the verge of failing in 1950, and gave it his special touch until his death in 1984. World conducted numerous humanitarian missions at Daly's direction, including the Hungarian refugee flights in 1956. Daly was aboard the last flight at Da Nang, pistol in hand, as it made its miraculous takeoff, heavily overloaded and surrounded by a panicked mob of South Vietnamese soldiers and refugees.

Daly led the Oakland, Calif.-based company into low-fare scheduled service in 1979 after federal deregulation, launching transcontinental and international service with his fleet of DC-10s. Valiant efforts and marketing with celebrity spokesperson George Burns were not enough to maintain profitability, and World returned solely to charter service in 1987.

The company moved to Herndon, Va., in 1988, followed by the subsequent move to Peachtree City, Ga., in 2001 under Harris's direction. The airline's headquarters remain in the same building Harris built, now shared by its holding company, Global Aero Logistics Inc. World's sister airlines under Global are ATA Airlines, based in Indianapolis, and North American Airlines, based at JFK Airport in New York.

World Airways, a subsidiary of Global Aero Logistics Inc., provides customized transportation services for major international passenger and cargo carriers, the United States military, major freight forwarders and international leisure tour operators. Founded in 1948, World operates a fleet of wide-body aircraft to meet the specialized needs of its customers. For information, visit www.worldairways.com.

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