American Overseas Airlines

American Overseas Airlines

airline=American Export Airlines
fleet_size=14 (1 PBY-4, 3 SV-44, 1 DC-3, 2 C-47, 7 C-54
callsign=Am Ex
ceased=1948 (merged into American Overseas Airlines)
headquarters= New York City, New York
airline=American Overseas Airlines
fleet_size=33 (2 SV-44, 1 DC-3, 2 C-47, 6 C-54, 7 DC-4, 7 L-049, 8 Boeing 377)
callsign=Am Over
ceased=1950 (merged into Pan American World Airways)
headquarters= New York City, New York

American Overseas Airlines (AOA) was an airline that flew between the USA and Europe between 1945 and 1950.


American Export Airlines (AEA), commonly known as Am Ex, was founded in April of 1937 as a wholly owned subsidiary of the shipping company American Export Lines. Transatlantic surveys were done with a Consolidated PBY-4 flying boat and in 1939 AEA placed an order for three Vought-Sikorsky VS-44 flying boat aircraft, dubbed 'Flying Aces', which were named after the parent company's Four Aces. That same year, AEA made an application to the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) for routes across the Atlantic from the United States to the United Kingdom, France and Portugal. On July 15, 1940, and despite protests by Juan Trippe the president of Pan American World Airways (PanAm), President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave his approval to AEA for a seven year temporary certificate to serve Lisbon from its base at New York's La Guardia Flying Boat dock. Later services were also flown to Foynes, Ireland. These operations ceased at the end of 1944 when AEA started operations for Air Transport Command (ATC) flying Douglas C-54 Skymasters mainly from the United States to North Africa. [ [ American Export Airlines Vought-Sikorsky VS-44A ] ]

AEA could not begin their their New York–Ireland flying boat service until June of 1942, due in part to stiff resistance from PanAm. In 1945 AEA was awarded transatlantic rights covering northern Europe, and the airline cut its strings with the shipping company. Following interest from American Airlines, who wanted to break into the overseas market dominated by PanAm, the CAB approved the acquisition of AEA by American Airlines on July 5, 1945, and formed American Overseas Airlines (AOA). AEA's name remained until November 1948 when AEA fully merged with rest of AOA's operations. The new entity started operations with six C-54's at the end of AEA's ATC contract. [ [ Szurovy, Geza and Martin Berinstein. (2004) "Classic American Airlines" St Paul, Minnesota: Zenith Imprint.] ISBN 0760316562]

AOA inaugurated its presence on October 24, 1945, with their "Flagship New England" (N90904) making a flight from Boston, Massachusetts, to London via Gander and Foynes. This route became AOA's strongest round-trip route. It was the first international carrier to serve Philadelphia International Airport and Shannon Airport.

AOA was acquired by PanAm but on May 17, 1950, CAB ruled against the merger. [ [ TRANS WORLD AIRLINES, Inc. v. CIVIL AERONAUTICS BOARD et al.; SPARKS et al. v. CIVIL AERONAUTICS BOARD] ] However, President Harry Truman overturned the board's decision and AOA merged into PanAm on September 25, 1950. With the merger, PanAm secured access to Paris and Rome.

Accidents and incidents

On October 3, 1942, AEA's "Excalibur" (NC41880) crashed on takeoff at Botwood, Newfoundland when flaps inadvertently extended to landing position, causing aircraft to stall immediately after liftoff. In the crash, 5 out of 11 crew and 6 out 26 passengers were killed. [ US Navy and US Marine Corps BuNos]

On October 3, 1946, AOA's "Flagship New England" (N90904) crashed into a steep ridge enroute from Stephenville Airport in Stephenville, Newfoundland, to Shannon Airport. The plane crash happened 7.1 miles past the departure runway. There were 8 crew and 31 passenger fatalities; no survivors. The crash investigators determined "The action of the pilot in maintaining the direction of take-off toward higher terrain over which adequate clearance could not be gained." [ [] ]



Consolidated PBY-4:
* "Transatlantic" (NC18997)
Douglas C-54 Skymaster:
Vought-Sikorsky VS-44:
* "Excalibur" (NX41880; later as NC41880)

As AEA and AOA

Vought-Sikorsky VS-44:
* "Excambian" (no NX; later as NC41881)
* "Exeter" (no NX; later as NC41882)

Douglas DC-3:
* "Helsinki" (N25686)
Douglas C-47 Skytrain:
* (N90907)
* "Nairobi" (N90908)

Douglas C-54 Skymaster:
* "Flagship America" (N90901); also named "Stockholm"
* "Flagship Frankfurt" (N90902)
* "Flagship Oslo" (N90903)
* "Flagship New England" (N90904)
* "Flagship Glasgow" (N90905); also named "Berlin"
* "Flagship Copenhagen" (N90906); also named "Chicago"


Douglas DC-4 Skymaster:
* "Flagship Keflavik" (N90909)
* "Flagship Shannon" (N90910)
* "Flagship Reykjavik" (N90911)
* "Flagship Washington" (N90912); also named "Prestwick"
* "Flagship Amsterdam" (N90913)
* (no "Flagship" name) (N90914)
* "Flagship Gander" (N90915)

Lockheed L-049 Constellation:
* "Flagship Sweden" (N90921); also named "Stockholm"
* "Flagship Denmark" (N90922); also named "Copenhagen" and "Oslo"
* "Flagship Great Britain" (N90923); also named "Scotland" and "Oslo"
* "Flagship Holland" (N90924); also named "Amsterdam" and "Shannon"
* "Flagship America" (N90925); also named "Philadelphia" and "Copenhagen"
* "Flagship Éire" (N90926); also named "Amsterdam" and "Chicago"
* "Flagship Norway" (N90927); also named "Detroit" and "Glasgow"

Boeing 377 Stratocruiser:
* "Flagship Scandinavia" (N90941); also named "Flagship Europe" and "Flagship Great Britain"
* "Flagship Europe" (N90942); also named "Flagship Great Britain"
* "Flagship Holland" (N90943); also named "Flagship Europe"
* "Flagship Ireland" (N90944)
* "Flagship Norway" (N90945)
* "Flagship Sweden" (N90946)
* "Flagship Denmark" (N90947)
* "Flagship Scotland" (N90948)


External links

* [ Timetable
* [ Photographs of American Overseas Airlines' airplanes]
* [ Reproduction of an AOA poster]
* [ examples of Zippo lighters for AOA]
* [,9171,777551,00.html?promoid=googlep "Time Magazine", November 18, 1940] —"Pan Am v. Am Ex"
* [,9171,799576,00.html?promoid=googlep "Time Magazine", December 20, 1948] —"The Big Deal"
* [ photograph of AOA's ticket]
* [ postcards showing AOA's Stratocruisers]
* [ portrait] of Alexis Felix du Pont, Jr., Director, American Export Airlines

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