Transocean Air Lines 1946 - 1960
Flying "Anything, Anywhere, Anytime"
The Berlin Airlift
On June 21, 1948, Stalin blockaded Berlin, Germany's former capital
and home for 2 million people in its western sectors. Before the
blockade, these people had been sustained by three land routes
through East Germany to West Germany, but access on these roads
had to be granted to each vehicle and its occupants by the Soviets.
Suddenly, Stalin closed these supply lines, expecting to starve West Berlin into submission.
Without food, coal, medical supplies, or clothing, the Berliners and Allies faced two choices:
evacuation or slow starvation. As quickly as Stalin had begun the blockade, the U.S. government
countered with spirit, zeal, and resourcefulness. By a seemingly impossible feat of organization,
an airlift was begun.
Four days after the blockade began, two military C-54s loaded with 20,000 pounds of food and
medical supplies flew into Berlin. These were followed by commercial aircraft contracted for the
airlift such as seven DC-4s from Transocean. Approximately 8,000 tons were flown into Berlin
each day with a landing every three minutes. TAL's aircraft made forty-eight round trips across the
Atlantic in 1948 in support of the Berlin Airlift, transporting coal and other supplies.
*From Folded Wings, A History of Transocean Air Lines by Arue Szura