World Airways, a defunct airline that is mostly remembered as a Pan Am spin-off carrier, is being brought back to operational status by a group of American investors. According to a news report published by Bloomberg, World Airways will be revived as a discount airline that will fly Boeing 787 aircraft to Asian and South American destinations.
The last time aircraft from World Airways took to the skies was in 2014; back then, the airline was contracted by the United States Air Force to provide charter flights. The airline was always known as a premier charter provider; to a certain extent, this will be the focus of its revival as World Airways intends to remain an independent airline that will seek opportunities to serve niche markets instead of adhering to established routes and fixed schedules.
The plan to bring back World Airways is part of a business trend to capitalize on nostalgia by bringing back cherished brands such as Eastern Airlines, which currently provides flights to Cuba and charter flights for the Florida Panthers franchise team of the National Hockey League. Pan Am is another iconic airline that has been revived a couple of times, but it has yet to succeed.
For most of the 20th century, air travel was a very enjoyable experience that many passengers these days would like to see again. Many of the perks of air travel went away after the 9/11 terrorist attacks; however, a handful of airlines around the world have made it a point to return to the days when flying was considered a sumptuous experience for travelers.
Although bringing back airlines that are no longer operational makes sense from a branding point of view, it should be noted that this approach has not worked for Pan Am, which used to be one of the most respected airlines in the world. In the case of World Airways, it is interesting to note that executives are sticking to the tried and true strategy of charter flights instead of competing against the likes of Delta and Southwest Airlines.
The new incarnation of World Airways will compete against Latin American airlines that have recently entered the budget airfare arena; however, these are carriers that have not given up on giving passenger perks despite the low ticket prices. To ensure a smooth business revival, World Airways should live up to its nostalgic brand by bringing back some of the magic of 20th century passenger aviation.