Saturday, March 29, 2014

News from America - World Airways - US Troop Carrier for 63 Years - Shuts Down Operations

I was distressed to read this week that U.S. charter airline World Airways has ceased flying amid a failure to find financing, four months after its parent company - Global Aviation Holding - blamed U.S. Government budget cuts for a sharp squeeze in business, putting the airline into bankruptcy.

World Airways was founded in 1948 and has notably transported U.S. troops around the world starting in 1951, when the U.S. entered the Korean conflict.  It continued to carry U.S. military personnel and equipment to various countries around the world where troops fought and trained - including to Rockhampton Airport where U.S. troops trained in the nearby Shoalwater Bay Training Area (SWBTA) during Military Exercises including Talisman Sabre 2011 (as shown below).

In recent years, World Airways operated a fleet of McDonnell Douglas DC-10 and MD-11 aircraft, along with Boeing B747-400 jumbos to transport passengers and equipment.

World’s parent, Global Aviation Holdings, blamed the airline’s latest financial difficulties on the U.S. Air Mobility Command, the Air Force unit that transports military personnel and supplies, which cancelled its 2014 contract with the company as the military adjusted to a tighter budget. That decision stripped World of $54 million in revenue, the company said in its November 2013 filing in Delaware - World’s second Chapter 11 filing within a year.

A second charter airline operated by Global Aviation, North American Airlines, continues to fly. North American was founded in 1989 and operates passenger charter flights using B767-300ER aircraft.  It depends less on military transport business.

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