Lögberg-Heimskringla - 02.10.1992, Blaðsíða 3

Lögberg-Heimskringla - 02.10.1992, Blaðsíða 3
Lögberg-Heimskringla • Föstudagur 2. október 1992 »3 lceland's f irst airline: a nation takes to the air Continued from last issuo On March 10,1944, Loftleiðir was founded and on April 6 the same year ran its maiden passenger flight between Reykjavík and ísafjördur in the West Fjords. Loftleiðir also took on herring surveillance during the summer, and this task was nearing its completion when the Stinson crashed on take- off. Some time earlier, however, Loftleiðir had already bought two other aircraft; a Stinson and a Grumman seaplane. Operations of both air- lines expanded significantly during the following years. Flugfélag íslands pur- chased three Catalina seaplanes, one of which was used on the company's first international flight to Scotland on July 11, 1915. Later the same summer two flights were made to Copenhagen. Flugfélag íslands also bought two other aircraft, a Norseman and a Grumman seaplane. Loftleiðir bought a total of seven aircraft in 1945-46, mostly from the U.S. Air Force. Regular scheduled flights between Iceland and Scotland were introduced in 1946. Flugfélag íslands made an agreement whereby Scottish Aviation handled the service, using Liberator air- craft, former bombers converted to accommodate passengers. Of the two airlincs then in Iceland, KeflaVfk Airport — showing Leifur Eirlksson Loftleiðir was the first to acquire an air- craft specifically for international ser- vices, a Skymaster D(M purchased in the summer of 1946. The plane was scheduled to begin passenger flights in the autumn of that year, but the American company which had been contracted to install the passenger com- partment went bankrupt, delaying deliv- ery until July 1947. Named Hekla, the aircraft arrived in Iceland for the first time on June 15, 1947, and was wel- comed by a large crowd at Reykjavík Airport. Loftleiðir immediately began operating it in international services mainly from Iceland to Britain and Denmark. In addition, the airline under- BILLBOARD FAMILYl FUNERAL COUNSELLORS The Powcr of the Word: Some Reflections on "The Icelandic Academy" a lecture by Professor Viðar Hreinsson, Department of Icelandic Language and Literature, on Friday, October 9, 1992, at 7:30 p.m. in the Senior Common Room at the University College, University of Manitoba. There is a reception to follow in the Senior Common Room. Admission is free. with free parking in B-Lot. This is sponsored by the Department of Icelandic Language and Literature. Please RSVP by October 6 to 474-9551 if you wish to attend. This space is provided monthly by Neil Bardal Inc, Family Funeral Counsellors, for the use of community groups. If your group would like to use this space, give us a call 949-2200. terminal which was opened in April 1987. took long-distance charter work for for- eign parties, for example flying from Europe to South America. Loftleiðir purchased a second Skymaster in 1948, which was named Geysir and made the company's maiden flight to the U.S. on August 26, 1948, under authorization for transatlantic flights which Loftleiðir had been granted on the basis of the Chicago treaty of 1944. Aiming to solve financial problems which resulted from difficult operations in 1949 and 1950, Loftleiðir leased both its Skymasters to the U.S. airline Seaboard & Western. On its maiden flight carrying cargo from Luxembourg on September 14,1950, Geysir crashed on Vatnajökull glacier in the central highlands of Iceland. The entire six-man crew survived, but were unable to indi- cate their location bccause the aircraft's radio equipment had been destroyed. Two and a half days after the crash, the crew managed to reach the emergency transmitter in the plane's rubber liferaft and sent out an S.Ö.S. Around the same time, visibility on the glacier improved and the Loftleiðir Catalina which was searching for the lost aircraft spotted the wreckage on the glacier. An American military DC-3 ski-plane was brought in to try to rescue the stranded crew, but despite a perfect landing on the glacier it was unable to take off again and had to be left behind. A ski-patrol from Akureyri rescued the crew of Geysir. Loftleiðir bought the ski-plane as scrap and sent out an expedition to try to retrieve it in April, 1951. The aircraft was completely buried beneath snow when the party arrived, but they dug it out and dragged it down from the glaci- Minnist í ERFÐASKRÁM YÐAR er using two bulldozers. It was found to be completely undamaged and was flown to Reykjavik. With the price that the aircraft fetched when it was sold, Loftleiðir managed to make a signifi- cant step towards putting its finances back on a firm footing. Loftleiðir's operations reached a low in 1951-53, and some of its owners wanted more operations. Others disagreed, in partic- ular some of the pilots, and enlisted Sigurður Helgason, then a Reykjavik business- man, to help win control at a historic shareholders meeting in 1953. Shortly afterwards, Alfreð Elíasson became president of the company. The 1953 meeting also marked the beginning of a new policy at Loftleiðir. The airline strengthened it's co-opera- tion with the Norwegian Braathen's S.A.F.E. charter line, and began advertis- ing lower transatlantic fares than carriers in IATA: "We are slower, but we are lower," as it's advertising slogans said. On May 21,1955, Loftleiðir intro- duced scheduled services between the U.S. and Luxembourg via Iceland. Flights began irregularly, but grew steadily to make Luxembourg the most important gateway of the many &erved by Loftleiðir in Europe. Since the I >C-ls proved unprofitable on the long transat- lantic journey, Loftleiðir soon tumed its attention towards renewing its fleet, pur- chasing two Cloudmaster DC-6Bs in 1959 and 1960. With their introduction, two simultaneous developments occur- red. The airline's passenger traffic in- creased sharply, and its dispute with the IATA airlines over discount fares grew fiercer. Three more Cloudmasters were bought over the next two years, and Loftleiðir stepped up its Luxembourg- U.S. services via Iceland. Tempers flared in the airline world over the question of low fares, and Loftleiðir was subject to pressure from various quarters. There were positive sides to the fares war for Loftleiðir. intensive coverage of the dispute brought free publicity for its low fares. The company soon needed still greater fleet capacity and purchased several Canadair CL-44s at the begin- ning of 1964. Originally designed to carry cargo, these aircraft were modificd and stretched to seat 189 passengers, making them the largest civil passenger aircraft in use in transatlantic service at the time. Load factor was high, with young people in particular taking advan- tage of the low fares offered. For a while, Loftleiðir became known as "The Hippies' Airline." Continued next week TAYLOR McCAFFREY CHAPMAN, SIGURDSON Barristers & Solicltors 4th Floor - 386 Broadway Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 3R6 Winnipeg............................................Phone 949-1312 Gimli....................................................Phone 642-7955 23 Stitt Street, Winnipeg Beach..........Phone 389-2999 Mr. David King ettenos 'm Smli and Riverton on the finst end third Fridey of each month end Mr. Tim Teytor in Winnipog Baech in the aftemoon on the second end fourth FVSday of eech month. Öffica hours are neld in Gimli et 3rd Ave. and Centre St. betwean tha hours of 9:30 a.m. - 12:00 noon end 4 - 5 p.m. In Riverton, Mr. Kiig ottenda at the Riverton Villoga office between the houra of 1:30end 3 p.m. Office houre are held et Winnipeg Beach between 2 and 4 p.m. in the Winnipeg Beach offica of Gimli Credit Union.

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