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The Tony Jannus story
On New Year’s Day of 1914, a
single-engine biplane lifted off the
water near St. Petersburg and head
ed east under the bright Florida sun
across Tampa Bay. Some 23 minutes
and 21 miles later, the pilot, Tony
Jannus, landed the Benoist “flying
boat” at Tampa. It was the world’s
first scheduled airline flight.
Later that day, Jannus, and his
passenger, the mayor of St. Peters
burg, flew back across the bay to
complete the maiden round trip. For
the next few months the “Airboat
Line” scheduled two round trips a
day, but on a good day it sometimes
made as many as five. The lone pas
senger sat in an open cockpit, and
the one-way fare was $5.
Soon a sister ship was added with
room for a second passenger and a
top speed of 70 miles an hour. Cargo
was often carried, usually hams and
bacon bound for grocery stores, and
Jannus’ line became the first air
freight carrier in addition to being
the initial passenger airline. But
Jannus’ fledgling airline failed—bad
weather or engine problems often
interrupted service, and the Cham
ber of Commerce subsidy never did
cover costs. When the “Airboat
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THREE MODERN GROCERY STORES
Line” closed down in April, however,
the two flying boats had logged
11,000 miles and carried more than
Tony Jannus’ flight in the sun—
just ten years after the Wright Bro
thers and Kitty Hawk—launched an
industry that ultimately would
change our world, our thinking and
our lives. Ironically, Jannus’ early
flights skirted the present site of
Tampa International Airport — one
of the best in the world.
Jannus died during World War I
when his plane disappeared over the
Black Sea, but his inaugural airline
flight lives on. Each year, in the
spring, airline exeutives, flight pio
neers and other aviation leaders fly
into Tampa from around the globe
for the Tony Jannus Award Dinner.
The award dinner is hosted by the
Greater Tampa Chamber of Com
merce and has become through the
years a focal point of the airline in
dustry. It’s a sellout, gala affair
highlighted by an impressive award
to the year’s “outstanding contrib
utor to scheduled a i r transporta
Piedmont President T. H. Davis
received the 1980 award. Story and
pictures on page two.
Vol. XXXI, No. 2
Weak first quarter did include some good records
The first quarter of the year, traditionally
our weakest period, did see some new record
highs recorded in 1980.
Starting with the traffic numbers, which
do determine the dollars for the financial report,
the Airline Division marked up a 42.93 percent
gain in available seat miles. For the January-
through-March period, ASM’s totalled 1,047,-
979,645 as compared to 733,216,373 last year.
Revenue passenger miles were up 32.60 per
cent, to 481,757,347 from 363,304,520. Passen
ger enplanements totalled 1,203,985 during
the first three months, up 7.10 percent from
the 1,124,141 carried in the same period of 1979.
The passenger load factor was 45.97 percent
for the first quarter of this year as compared
to 49.55 percent in the same period last year.
Both the available seat and revenue passenger
mile figures set new quarterly records. The
passenger boarding totals set a new first-quart
Additional records were set in the Airline’s
cargo operation, which reported record increas
es in express and PEP shipments and mail
carried. The highly-productive cargo revenues
were up 31.72 percent during the first quarter,
to $3,932,239^from $2,985,365 in the comparable
months last year.
The Company posted a net loss of $5,115,-
000,or $1.30 per share, for the first quarter of
1980. During the same period in 1979, Piedmont
Aviation, Inc. had a loss of $3,582,000, or $1.18
per share. The loss per available seat mile was
less in the first quarter of this year than in the
same period of 1979.
The Company’s gross revenues were $97.6
million in the first quarter, an increase of 49.7
percent over the $65.2 million of revenues re
ceived for the first quarter of 1979. Costs and
expenses were up 48.6 percent from $70.2 mil
lion in 1979 to $104.3 million this year.
Pre-tax earnings of the Company’s General
Aviation Group more than doubled from $279,-
793 in 1979 to $640,044 in 1980. The Airline
Division reflected a pre-tax loss of $7,285,236
this year as opposed to $5,221,232 last year.
When the results were announced. Senior
Vice President T. W. Morton said, “Most of
the gain in revenues was caused by a 33 per
cent growth in passenger traffic resulting from
a substantial expansion of services since last
year. The first quai’ter has always been the
weakest period of the year and the increased
loss this year can largely be attributed to the
larger scope of our airline operations. In addi
tion, operations were severely curtailed for
several days as a result of two record snowfalls
in the heart of our system in February and
General Aviation VP C. W. Gough dies
General Aviation Group Vice President C.
W. Gough, Jr. suffered a fatal heart attack on
March 24, 1980.
Gough began his 37-year career with Pied
mont as a mechanic’s helper in 1943. He was
named parts manager in 1948. In 1962 he was
promoted to assistant to the vice president of
the General Aviation Division. Gough became
an assistant vice president of the Company in
1971. He was appointed vice president—avia
tion services for the General Aviation Group
At the annual stockholders meeting Pres
ident T. H. Davis said of Gough, “He was a
very fine associate of ours. He was a young
fellow, only 56, and had done a fantastic job for
our Company. He will certainly be missed.”
A native of Forsyth County, North Caro
lina, Gough was a graduate of Mineral Springs
High School. He also attended the Alexander
Hamilton Institute and Virginia Polytechnic
Gough’s survivors include his wife, Barbara
P f a f f Gough, and daughter, Stephanie Gay
C. IV. Gough, Jr.