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Blast From The Past! World Airways Set To Return?

When we first heard rumors, we thought it might be an April Fools joke.  But a quick check of the calendar proves that today is November 8th and April is way in the past.  This seems to be real news!

A recently-formed company called 777 Partners acquired the intellectual property of World Airways Inc. The company plans to launch long-haul 787 service between the US and Asia along with Latin America. According to the press release, they are negotiating with Boeing and intend to acquire 10 Boeing 787 aircraft.

Ed Wegel, Founding CEO of World commented, “World has a rich and storied history dating back to 1947. It was once the world’s largest independent charter airline, and served the US military and other clients with great distinction for many years.

“Today, we are proud to begin preparations to launch scheduled operations from the US to Asia and Latin America. We will be partnering with low cost, short haul carriers in the US and in the regions we serve to provide connecting traffic to and from our initial planned gateways. We plan to announce our new brand look and feel within the next few weeks, under the direction of our Founding CMO, Freddie Laker.”

777 Partners says that World Airways will be the first US-based long haul low-cost carrier.  While that is true, the airline is far from the only LCC flying wide-body jets.  Airlines like WOW, IcelandAir, Norwegian, and Level have launched international low-cost flights in recent years, mostly between the US and European destinations.

About World Airways

World Airways has a very storied and unique history. First launched in 1948, the airline always had close ties to the government, winning a number of government contracts to fly military, cargo, and sometimes even clandestine operators to far away destinations. Based in Oakland, World Airways one of the primary carrier to fly troops and cargo into and out of Vietnam during the War.  World Airways had a number of unique accomplishments. It was the first airline to operate the hinge-nosed version of the Boeing 747. It also was the last airline out of DaNang.  In 1975, World Airways received considerable attention as it was the last western airline to fly out of DaNang as it was falling to the North Vietnamese.  It rescued 268 people on a very overloaded Boeing 727.

After the war, World Airways continued to fly government contracted freight and passengers along with a number of civilian charters for schools, sports teams, and tours.  In the 1990s, it acquired a fleet of MD-11s to replace tired DC-10s.  The airline later added a few 747-400s to the fleet to handle growing demand after 9/11. World was acquired by American Trans Air’s parent company in 2006.  It ceased operations in 2014, blaming high fuel prices and the reduction of military contracts in the wake of sequestration and the downsizing of contract airlift requirements in the Middle East after American troops exited Iraq and reduced their presence in Afghanistan.

This new version of World Airways is expected to be headquartered in Miami.

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