That’s right. Seventy-five (75) years ago today, the Civil Aeronautics Act was signed into law and the Civil Aeronautics Authority was formed. Responsible for determining the routes that air carriers can serve, and regulating the fares, the Civil Aeronautics Authority, later split into the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) and the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) by Roosevelt in 1940, the two authorities split from the Civil Aeronautics Authority collectively oversee air traffic control, safety programs, airway development, safety rule-making, accident investigation, and economic regulation of the air carriers you depend on everyday to get your air freight to or from its US destination.
With air travel and air shipping an integral part of everyday life, it’s sometimes tough to imagine that the first controlled, powered, and sustained heavier-than-air human flight occurred only 110 years ago (on December 17, 1903) and that the first attempt to move freight by air occurred only 103 years ago on November 7, 1910, when Phil O. Parmalee carried two bolts of silk on his Wright Model B from Dayton to Columbus, Ohio. The first round-the-world shipment was only 74 years ago when Kellog’s Corn Flakes sponsored the first air express round-the-world shipment that departed Battle Creek, MI on February 22, 1939 and arrived back on March 22, 1939. Furthermore, the first commercial airline dedicated to cargo did not emerge until two years later, in 1941, when the big four airlines banded together to create Air Cargo Inc. Civil aviation and commercial air cargo hasn’t been around all that long. The only shipping mainstay that is younger is the freight container, which revolutionized ocean shipping in 1956 and has done more for global trade than any government or treaty ever did.
So let’s all wish the Civil Aeronautics Authority a happy 75thbirthday and drink a Keith‘s*. It’s clear they did something right!
* 75 is a Keith number, after all!