1946: The Debut of an Airline in Hawaii

July 26, 1946

The Hawaii-based Aloha Airlines made its debut. (At the time, Hawaii was a U.S. territory; it became the 50th state in 1959.)  Aloha Airlines was originally established as Trans-Pacific Airlines by Rudy F. Tongg, Sr., one of Hawaii’s wealthiest and most flamboyant businessmen, as a competitor to Hawaiian Airlines. Tongg envisioned a transoceanic airline linking California, Hawaii, and China. 

Tongg’s enterprise started out with 14 employees and commenced operations with a World War II-surplus Douglas C-47 (DC-3) aircraft flying from Honolulu on the island of Oahu to the island of Maui as well as the large-scale settlement of Hilo (on the island of Hawaii). By the end of its first year, the company was flying four aircraft. 

Aloha Airlines steadily grew in popularity and scope over the years. One of the ways in which this airline set itself apart from the competition was the use of singing, hula-dancing, and ukulele-playing flight attendants who entertained passengers on board. After retiring its final DC-3 in 1961, the company became only the second American airline to operate an all-turbine fleet. Aloha Airlines ceased operations in 2008, with all of its cargo flights transferred to Aloha Air Cargo.      

Photo Credit: Stefan Ehrbar (licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en)

For more information on Aloha Airlines, please check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aloha_Airlines

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