Philippine Air Lines

The Philippine Aerial Taxi Company was organized in December, 1930, to fly a shuttle service for mining businessmen. PATCO, flying Bellanca Skyrocket monoplanes, grew into a full-fledged airline and became the first scheduled carrier in the Far East.

In 1940, PATCO ceased operations and Philippine Air Line was formed to operate on the former company’s franchise. The airline was incorporated on February 25, 1941, flying two Beechcraft Model 17 single-engine biplanes. World War II intervened in PAL’s regular growth, both in airplanes and routes, including a proposed service to Hong Kong.

In February, 1946, PAL started operations again, with five Douglas DC-3s, and other airplanes, but found two other airlines already in operation. That August, PAL chartered two four-engine Douglas DC-4s and opened international service to the United States’ West Coast, and to points in the Far East. At the end of the year, PAL delivered passengers to San Francisco, Oakland, Honolulu, Guam, Shanghai, Bangkok, and Singapore.

Steadily, PAL grew. On June 1, 1957, a viscount was introduced into the Manila-Hong Kong route, followed by a second then a third in 1959. Fokker F-27s were next in 1960. On June 20, 1962, the DC-8 made its first scheduled flight to the United States. Two years later, DC-4s were placed in trans-Pacific service.

Excerpted from the book Above the Pacific by Lieutenant Colonel William Joseph Horvat, 1966.

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