World Airways, Inc., was an American airline headquartered in Peachtree City, Georgia in Greater Atlanta. For the most part, the company operated non-scheduled services. World Airways ceased all operations on March 27, 2014.
World Airways was founded in 1948 by Benjamin Pepper with the introduction of ex-Pan American World Airways Boeing 314 flying boats. Edward Daly, however is thought of as World's founder. He bought the airline in 1950 for $50,000 and proceeded to acquire DC-4s.
World got its first government contract in 1951 and has had a substantial amount of government business since then.
Later, World acquired DC-6s and Lockheed Constellations. World entered the jet era in the late 1960s with Boeing 707s and 727s. In the early 1970s, World acquired Douglas DC-8s.
World became a key military contractor during the Vietnam War, flying troops and equipment between the war zone and World's base at Oakland International Airport. On March 29, 1975, World operated the last airlift flight out of Đà Nẵng, Vietnam. Two 727s were flown to Đà Nẵng, one of which landed with Daly aboard. Thousands rushed the airplane and it took off on a taxiway under heavy fire. The aircraft with Daly aboard started its takeoff roll with the 727's back airstairs still down with Daly fending off additional people trying to leave due to over capacity (The film of this was later broadcast on the CBS Evening News on March 30, 1975). When the airplane landed at Saigon, there were 268 people in the cabin and possibly 60 or more in the cargo holds. World did not return to Đà Nẵng until April 17, 2002, then with an MD-11 aircraft to pick up a team of people resolving Missing-In-Action cases from the Vietnam War.
Also, in the early 1970s, World operated three Boeing 747 aircraft and was the launch customer for the "flip nose" front-loading variant of the 747. Later, World acquired DC-10s that were retired in 2010. World experienced heavy losses in the 1980s as a result of an attempt at scheduled service. In the late 1980s, the company moved its headquarters from Oakland to Washington Dulles International Airport, acquired Key Airlines from Bain Capitals' Presidential Airways, and established ties to Malaysia Airlines. World was burdened financially as its cash was siphoned off by parent WorldCorp to support a telecommunications venture in which the parent had invested. During the first Persian Gulf War, World did a substantial amount of profitable business for the military, enabling the addition of the MD-11 to the fleet. During the mid-1990s, World operated the military passenger trunk route from Osan Air Base, Korea and Kadena Air Base, Okinawa to Los Angeles, using MD-11 aircraft. World has been headquartered near Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport.
The airline received a substantial amount of its business from the military, especially in its role connecting American bases in the U.S. to the Middle East. It also thrived on passenger and freight contracts with private organizations, such as the Jacksonville Jaguars of the National Football League, as well as wet leases to other airlines. With such wet lease arrangements, World Airways essentially functioned as a cargo airline arm or subsidiary, of another airline in which a separate division would not be an efficient use of an airlines resources.
In 2006, World Airways became a subsidiary of World Air Holdings, Inc. On April 5, 2007, World Airways returned to its Oakland and Bay Area roots where they were headquartered from 1956 to 1987. It was later acquired by ATA Holdings Which was renamed Global Aero Logistics, in a transaction valued at $315 million. With this, ATA's President, Subodh Karnik became the head of all three certificated airlines autonomous operations, ATA Airlines, North American Airlines, and World Airways. In 2007 GAL moved its operation to the World Airways building in Peachtree City, Georgia. Robert Binns was named Chief Executive Officer of GAL in April 2008 and Charlie McDonald was named president. Larry Montford became COO of World Airways. All three have since left the airline.
On March 27, 2014, World Airways announced the immediate cessation of all operations. At the time of its closure, World's fleet consisted of MD-11 trijet aircraft both in freighter and passenger configurations and of 747-400 freighters.
World Airways operated scheduled international and domestic passenger service with its McDonnell Douglas DC-10 wide body jetliners during the 1980s. Destinations served included:Baltimore, MD - via Baltimore Washington International Airport (BWI)
Frankfurt. Germany (FRA)
Honolulu, HI (HNL)
Kansas City, MO (MCI)
London, England - via London Gatwick Airport (LGW )
Los Angeles, CA - via Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
Newark, NJ - via New Jersey Newark International Airport (EWR)
Oakland, CA - via Oakland International Airport (OAK)
Orlando, FL (MCO)
San Francisco, CA - via San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
Washington, DC - via Washington Dulles Airport (IAD)
As of March 2014, the World Airways fleet consisted of the following aircraft, with an average fleet age of 19.8 years:
World Airways's corporate headquarters were in Peachtree City, Georgia in Greater Atlanta.
In the 1970s World Airways had its headquarters on the grounds of Oakland International Airport in Oakland, California in the San Francisco Bay Area. In the 1990s World Airways had its headquarters in unincorporated Fairfax County, Virginia, near Herndon, in Greater Washington DC. In 2001 World Airways moved its headquarters to Peachtree City from Fairfax County.September 19, 1960 (1960-09-19): a DC-6A/B took off from the Agana Naval Air Station on the island of Guam for a night time VFR flight to Wake Island. The plane made a right turn after takeoff and climbed continuously until striking Mount Barrigada. The plane struck the mountain 300 feet above airfield elevation and slid into thick underbrush. There were 90 occupants on board with 80 fatalities. The probable cause was the failure of the pilot to comply with published departure procedures.
September 8, 1973 (1973-09-08): World Airways Flight 802, a DC-8 operating on a cargo flight for the Military Airlift Command, crashed into high ground while on approach to Cold Bay Airport, Alaska. All six people on board were killed. The probable cause was the captain's deviation from approved instrument approach procedures.
September 20, 1981 (1981-09-20): an in-flight accident took place on a DC-10 from Baltimore to London. Flight attendant Karen Williams was killed when she became trapped in the lower galley elevator of the double-deck aircraft. An electrical malfunction and human error were both blamed as the cause. The rising elevator trapped the flight attendant between the top of the elevator shaft and a serving cart that she was apparently trying to release from its locking device.
January 23, 1982 (1982-01-23): World Airways Flight 30, a DC-10 landing at Boston's Logan International Airport under icy conditions and limited visibility slid off the end of the runway and plunged into Boston Harbor, separating the cockpit section from the rest of the aircraft. Two passengers were missing and were reported as fatalities. However, no bodies were found in the very shallow water. The main cause of this accident was the Massachusetts Port Authority's failure to provide adequate runway braking reports to the crew although previous aircraft had reported little to no braking action prior to World's landing.
May 6, 2009 (2009-05-06): a DC-10-30 with registration N139WA operating as flight 8535 from Leipzig, Germany for the Military Airlift Command experienced a firm landing at Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI). As a result of the captain's response to the firm landing, the plane's nose wheel struck the runway hard two times. The aircraft blew one of its front tires and had to execute a go-around before landing successfully. Several passengers were injured, including the first officer, who suffered back trauma. The age of the aircraft (29 years 11 months at the time of the accident) and the extent of damage to the front landing gear and fuselage resulted in the aircraft being written-off as scrap.