'OVER EMPIRES AND OCEANS' - PIONEERS, AVIATORS AND ADVENTURERS - Forging the International Air Routes 1918-1939 (Published by Tattered Flag Press)
By Robert Bluffield
The Americans, as inventors of heavier-than-air powered flight had briefly courted with a passenger airline across Tampa Bay in 1914, yet it took a further nine years for mail to be flown coast-to-coast. In 1919 a British company made the first international scheduled flight between London and Paris, but the continuation of regular services was thwarted by a less-than-enthusiastic government that allowed its generously subsidised French competition, for a short time at least, to fly cross-Channel passenger schedules unimpeded.
Meanwhile, in South America, the Germans, forbidden under the Versailles Treaty from any major aircraft-building, were establishing cunning supremacy by forming airlines throughout South America and in China. While America awaited a transcontinental passenger service, Juan Trippe’s Pan American Airways was crossing swords with Ralph O’Neill of New York, Rio and Buenos Aires Line (NYRBA) for air supremacy between the US, Brazil, Argentina and elsewhere in Latin America, which led to the formation of arguably the world’s greatest airline.