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Far away places with strange-soundin’ names/Far away over the sea/Those far away places with the strange-soundin’ names/are callin’, callin’ me, sang Bing Crosby on his round-the-world trip in 1958. The 1950’s were the golden age of aviation—the jet engine made commercial transatlantic travel feasible, and faster. “Wonder filled names like Kashmir, Delhi and Shalimar” were now only “21/2 days by TWA.” At five miles a minute, the age of the traveler had arrived.
The demand for transatlantic travel picked up after World War II. However, the European airlines were in too weak a position to take advantage of the demand. Here, American carriers, such as Pan Am, AOA and the relative newcomer TWA were able to fill the new needs. On March 1, 1948 Howard Hughes, eccentric billionaire and major stock-holder in TWA received rights to fly to European destinations. The airline changed its name from Transcontinental and Western Airlines to Trans World Airlines. TWA’s Constellation aircraft now competed with Pan Am (which under it charismatic Juan Trippe first dominated transatlantic and then global routes) all the way east to Bombay and the Middle East.
TWA flew thrice a week from New York to Bombay, flying via Europe, North Africa, the Middle East into India and then proceeding to far East, dropping mail en route. Along with Pan Am flights it connected almost all major cities in Europe to the rest of the world. By the late 1950’s the transcontinental route had become the world’s most trafficked route, and the faraway places were just a little more than a day away.
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