Braniff International Airways : A Brief History

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Braniff International Airways: A Brief History

The Beginnings
When thinking about airline companies, most people naturally gravitate to the big name carriers of current times. Delta, American, United, and Southwest usually top the list of companies that come to mind when discussing airline companies. Throughout history, however, a multitude of airlines have operated in the United States and abroad. Some of these merged or were bought by other companies forming the mega airlines we see today. Others were not so fortunate. The airline industry is a complicated business with high costs and narrow profit margins. Many airlines have simply succumbed to these challenges unable to turn a profit. One of these companies, most people have
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The economic downturn frightened many plane owners into exiting the aviation industry. Braniff saw this as opportunity, and significantly increased their fleet by purchasing used aircraft at a discounted rate. This expansion put the company in financial distress and nearly collapsed. However, in 1934 Braniff was awarded an air mail route which revived the company by providing steady income for years to come. The 1930’s also brought change in the leadership of Braniff. Tom Braniff was elected president of the company and Paul Braniff became Executive Vice President. Also, in 1935 Charles Beard joined the Braniff team as General Traffic Manager. This would prove to be an important addition in subsequent years. In 1936 Paul Braniff left the company and Mr. Beard was promoted to Executive Vice President.
The Good Times
With the air mail route secured, the company began to expand even more. By 1936 Braniff had established its hub in Fort Worth Texas, and expanded its coverage as far north as Chicago and as far South as Brownsville and Houston Texas. They also moved to expand their fleet by adding 7 DC-2 aircraft to their inventory. With the new and improved aircraft also came another first for Braniff. In 1937 the company chose their first flight attendants or “Hostesses” as they were then called. Braniff continued to expand through mergers and route expansions to include South America and Mexico by 1947. They added now iconic planes such as the DC-3 and

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