75th Anniversary: ACW through the decades

Here are just a few of the thousands of stories covered in Air Cargo World and its predecessors, ever since its inception during World War II.


  • Air Transportation magazine is launched in October by John F. Budd in New York City.
  • American Airlines begins first U.S. transcontinental, all-cargo air service, using DC-3 freighters.


  • United Airlines launches DC-3 Cargolines service from New York to San Francisco in October.


  • Allied nations form the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to coordinate airline regulatory issues and create a system of global aviation treaties.


  • In June, pilots from the famous “Flying Tigers” squadron, who flew combat missions over China and Burma, form a new cargo airline in Long Beach, Calif., called Flying Tiger Line, serving trans-Pacific routes.
  • 57 airlines meet in Havana, Cuba, to form the International Air Transport Association (IATA), and establish the Cargo Accounts Settlement System to coordinate forwarder payments to air carriers.


  • John Emery founds Emery Air Freight in New York City.
  • The Airborne Flower Traffic Association of California is created to fly flowers from Hawaii to the U.S.
  • Ken Thomas forms Thomas Nationwide Transport, a.k.a. TNT, in Sydney.
  • Roy Farrell and Sydney de Kantzow launch an air cargo business in Shanghai that would later move to Hong Kong to become Cathay Pacific.


  • The U.S. and China sign a civil aviation agreement allowing both nations to hold reciprocal landing rights, allowing Pan American Airways (Pan Am), Trans World Airlines (TWA) and Northwest Airlines to operate in China.


  • The “Berlin Airlift” begins in June – a joint effort by the U.S., Great Britain and France to send food, medicine and other supplies to Berlin during a blockade by the Soviet Union.


  • The U.K.’s de Havilland begins flights of the Comet in July, ushering in the “jet age” to commercial air service.
  • Full-time air cargo journalist Richard Malkin writes a memorable series of first-person articles on the 15-month Berlin Airlift in Air Transportation.
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