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World Airways

Benjamin Pepper started World Airways on March 29, 1948 with a fleet of three Boeing 314 Clippers. Edward Daly bought the company in 1950 and added Douglas DC-4s.

World Airways won a number of government contracts during the Vietnam War to carry personnel in and out of the region. The early Super70s were successful years for World Airways and Daly wanted to expand. This was difficult in the era of CAB regulations but Daly got his wish with the passing of the Deregulation Act of 1978.

World Airways

N108WA - a World Airways DC-10 as seen in Oakland, January 1983.

Image courtesy of AirNikon. Find more of his photos at


World Airways ordered DC-10s and an additional 747 and expanded service from coast to coast. A pair of misfortunes derailed his plans, however. On April 11, 1979, World began service between Los Angeles and Oakland to Newark and Baltimore. But the crash of an American Airlines DC-10 in Chicago left all DC-10s grounded. Just when the FAA lifted the restriction, their pilots, flight attendants, and mechanics all went on strike.

While deregulation allowed World to fly wherever it could safely, it also allowed its competitors to due the same and fare wars took their tolls on most airlines including World. Mounting losses caused the company to rethink their strategy and it essentially abandoned scheduled passenger service by the late Awesome80s.


Known Fleet: Boeing 727s, 747s, McDonnell Douglas DC-10s, MD-11s.

Davies, R.E.G. Airlines of the United States Since 1914. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1982.
Hengi, B.I. Airlines Remembered: Over 200 Airlines of the Past, Described and Illustrated in Colour, Hinckley, England: Midland Publishing, 2000.
Heppenheimer, T.A. Turbulent Skies: The History of Commercial Aviation. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1995.
Johnson, Jeff S. World's Colorful Past. Airliners Magazine, Sept/Oct 1994.
Norwood, Tom W. Deregulation Knockouts, Round One. Sandpoint, ID: Airways International, 1996.
Petzinger, Thomas. Hard Landing: The Epic Contest for Power and Profits That Plunged the Airlines into Chaos. New York: Times Books, 1997.
Szurovy Geza. Classic American Airlines. Motorbooks International. 2003


Share Your Memories!

What do you remember about World Airways? Were you an employee? Have you any interesting stories to share? Share your stories with the world! (We print the best stories right here!)

Your Memories Shared!

"Clark AFB, 1967. MAC flt, World 374 waiting for take-off clearance. The Philippene heat was unbearable in the cockpit and the gasper couldn't keep us dry. I was World's station mgr for Clark, riding the cockpit jump seat on a Boeing 707-320C with a load of soldiers bound for Travis AFB. We were number one to go but the military tower kept allowing several KC135's go ahead of us. After about 20 minutes, the heat was getting to the head stu who began to wilt and complain as she stood next to the navigator's seat watching the tankers jump ahead of us.

Squinting his eyes, and with his best Clint Eastwood voice, Captain Dan McCarthy said for everyone to hear, "If they let this next tanker go ahead of us, I'm going to get him!" Our Stu looked puzzled - and sure enough the tower let another KC135 taxi around us. The Stu's eyes got big and round as Dan applied power to the port engines and wheeled the 707 around to track the tanker as it taxied by in front of us. Then Dan hit the stall warning stick-shaker which sounded and felt like a machine gun going off in the cockpit. Our Stu screamed and gasped in dis-belief as Dan shouted, "Got him!" Then we all laughed as the tension of the long hot wait was broken with our turn to roll."




Image courtesy of AirNikon. Find more of his photos at

Airline: World Airways


Location: US

Flew: 1948 -

Status: Still flying

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