This historic photo shows Key West as the “Birthplace of INTERNATIONAL FLYING”. It credits the Aero Marine Airways being the first to fly from Key West, USA to Havana, Cuba in 1919. The first passenger flight however is credited to Pan American World Airways (Pan Am) in 1927 also from Key West, USA to Havana, Cuba.
The sign pictured reads: “Birthplace of International Flying. Aero Marine Airways started here in 1919 with three small flying boats, Niña, Pinta and Santa Maria. Flying between Key West and Havana. Radios of those days being large and cumbersome were discarded in favor of carrier pigeons.” Hmm, “Yes co-pilot, turn off our navigational system, I’ve already released the carrier pigeons!” 🙂
While little is known about Aero Marine Airways, Pan Am on the other hand was the principal US international air carrier from the late 1920’s until its collapse on December 4, 1991. Founded in 1927 as a scheduled air mail (contract with the U.S.Postal Service) and passenger service operating between Key West, Florida and Havana, Cuba (Flight#1 on Oct. 28, 1927) the airline became a major company credited with many innovations that shaped the international airline industry, including the widespread use of jet aircraft, jumbo jets, and computerized reservation systems. Identified by its blue globe logo and the use of the word “Clipper” in aircraft name, the airline was a cultural icon of the 20th century!
You can find this spectacular photographic history of the United States “First International Flight” on display inside the Conch Flyer Bar located at Key West International Airport’s departure terminal.