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Transamerica

By Patrick Mondout

Kirk Kerkorian's Los Angeles Air Services began operations in 1948. The airline was renamed Trans International Airlines (TIA) in 1960. Kerkorian took TIA public in 1967 and used the additional cash to build a casino in Vegas call The International (later the Las Vegas Hilton). He managed to get Barbra Streisand and Elvis to perform and the new hotel and those two helped to set Vegas attendance records. In the early Super70s, he bought MGM Studios in Hollywood and returned to Las Vegas to build the MGM Grand hotel (now Bally's).

The financial services giant Transamerica began diversifying in the 1960s and ended up owning a movie distributor, a car rental agency, a machinery manufacturer, and yes this airline - though it did not change it's name to Transamerica Airlines until 1979.

After buying TIA in 1968, Transamerica acquired Universal Airlines and Saturn Airways in the Super70s. TIA was a cargo and charter airline until deregulation. On November 2, 1979, scheduled passenger flights began for the first time on a New York-Shannon-Amsterdam route, which was just the beginning of several transatlantic routes.

Transamerica

N4866T - a Transamerica DC-8 as seen in Ontario International, California, May 1985.

Image courtesy of AirNikon. Find more of his photos at Airliners.net

 

An inability to operate profitably left Transamerica, which was divesting itself of its non-core businesses, looking for a buyer for the airline. It could not find one and shut down Transamerica Airlines on September 30, 1986.

Slogans:

Known Fleet: Lockheed L-188 Electras, Boeing 747s, McDonnell Douglas DC-8s, DC-10s.

References:
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.
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.
Shook, Robert L. Jackpot! Harrah's Winning Secrets for Customer Loyalty. John Wiley & Sons, 2002.
Szurovy Geza. Classic American Airlines. Motorbooks International. 2003

 

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FLYING FACTS

Airline: Transamerica

AKA: Trans International Airlines (TIA)

Location: US

Flew: 1948 - September 30, 1986

Status: No longer exists


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