The Early Years (1948-1960)
The history of Global Aviation Holdings Inc., begins with the founding if its oldest subsidiary, World Airways, in 1948. World Airways has provided charter airline service continuously for 61 years, originally offering passenger service between New York and San Juan with a fleet of three Boeing 314 Clippers. Baroviche Steamship Company acquired the company briefly before entrepreneur Edward Daly bought the fledgling airline for $50,000 in 1950.
One of Daly's first moves was to lease a Douglas DC-4 in 1951. That same year, World received the first of what would be many government contracts. World provided supplemental airlift to the U.S. military during the Korean conflict, and in 1956, received a contract to fly refugees fleeing the Hungarian revolution from Europe to the United States. That was the first of many humanitarian missions World would operate in the years ahead.
A succession of contracts and new aircraft followed new authority in 1959 to operate domestic non-scheduled services. World expanded from a pair of DC-4s at the beginning of 1960 to a fleet of eight DC-6As, four Lockheed Super Constellations and three Lockheed 1649A Starliners by the summer of 1962, the same year that World became the first U.S. charter airline to enter the jet age with the acquisition of new Boeing 707s.
The Vietnam Era (1960-1976)
More so than any other airline, World played a major role during the Vietnam conflict by moving military personnel and materiel across the Pacific. By the late 60s, World had a fleet of six newly acquired Boeing 727-100s, five 707-373Cs, and had broken ground on the World Air Center at Oakland International Airport. In March 1971, World bought three Douglas DC-8-63CF convertible freighters and would add three more in 1973. World also added a single Boeing 747 passenger aircraft to its fleet in 1973.
In March 1975, Ed Daly took two 727s to Saigon to make 20 evacuation flights from Da Nang under government charter. When the U.S. Embassy canceled the contract after only three flights, Daly directed three 727s to Da Nang to rescue women and children, although only one landed. The "Last Flight From Da Nang" garnered worldwide media attention as Daly and the World crew fought off thousands of would-be passengers seeking refuge on the aircraft, dodged bullets and grenades, and ultimately carried more than 300 people to safety in Saigon.
A week later, Daly directed a daring rescue of 57 Vietnamese orphans aboard a World DC-8 cargo aircraft, carrying them from Saigon to Oakland. The arrival was greeted with a sea of media, and President Gerald Ford immediately implemented "Operation Babylift," which utilized charter, scheduled airline and military aircraft to bring approximately 3,000 Vietnamese orphans to safety in the United States.
Deregulation and Scheduled Service (1976-1990)
Following deregulation of the airline industry in 1978, World became one of the first scheduled low-fare airlines, operating transcontinental and international routes for six years from its headquarters and hub in Oakland, California. World incorporated first-class lounges, stylish flight attendant uniforms and a marketing program featuring celebrity George Burns. The Company returned to charter-only service in 1987 and subsequently added the first nose-loading Boeing 747 freighter and ordered six McDonnell Douglas DC10-30 aircraft.
As World returned to its charter roots, it operated a single aircraft type, the DC10-30, and concentrated on serving the military as well as tour operators and other airlines requiring short-term supplemental lift. This strategy proved successful and World expanded its fleet again in the early 1990s with the addition of new McDonnell Douglas MD-11 aircraft. The MD-11s in both passenger and cargo configuration complemented the existing DC10 fleet and allowed World to offer even greater capability to it customers. Moving its headquarters to Herndon, Virginia, in 1988, World was closer to its primary customer, the U.S. military.
Middle East War Era and Now (1990 to Present)
World continued to play a key role around the globe from the 1990s to the present, providing humanitarian flights to Bosnia and Somalia, and flying troops and materiel during Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. World continues to be a leading provider of passenger and cargo support for the U.S. military, not only during peacetime, but also during major conflicts such as the war on terrorism in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The company moved its headquarters from Herndon, Virginia to Peachtree City, Georgia in 2001, occupying a new office built for its needs. The company changed structure in 2005 with the formation of World Air Holdings, Inc., maintaining World Airways as a subsidiary and acquiring North American Airlines
which had a complementary fleet of 757 and 767 aircraft.
The spirit and commitment to public service has continued since the Ed Daly era. World Airways carried the U.S. Paralympic Team to and from Athens, Greece in 2004 and Beijing, China in 2008. World jets also carried emergency water supplies to hurricane-ravaged Florida in September 2004 and emergency equipment to Islamabad, Pakistan in 2005.
World operated the first U.S. aircraft, and the first wide-body aircraft, into Xian, People's Republic of China, from Nuremberg, Germany under a contract with Lufthansa Cargo Charter.
In 2007, World Air Holdings was acquired by Global Aero Logistics to create a new holding company that would consist of three airlines: ATA Airlines,World Airways and North American Airlines. ATA ceased all charter and passenger services in the second quarter of, 2008. .In early 2009, the company went through a name and branding study and Global Aviation Holdings was adopted as the name for the new holding company.
Presently, World Airways and North American Airlines are subsidiaries of Global Aviation Holdings, the largest commercial provider of charter air transportation for the U.S. Military, and a major provider of worldwide commercial global passenger and cargo air transportation services.
More detailed current information about World can be found on this web-site. Additional information about Global Aviation Holdings and North American Airlines can be found at www.glah.com and www.flynaa.com, respectively.