Flying Tigers Airline Pilot Hat Badge 3rd Issue (Open T)
Burbank, CA 1947-1989
The company was headquartered on the grounds of Los Angeles International Airport. The airline was named after the Flying Tigers fighter unit of World War II, officially the 1st American Volunteer Group. Ten former AVG pilots formed the Flying Tiger Line (originally called National Skyway Freight) after returning to the United States in 1945. In 1949, the CAB awarded Flying Tiger Line the first commercial air cargo route in the U.S. Shortly afterward, the company began chartering passenger aircraft for group travel. Flying Tigers later received a cargo route award to Asia. By the mid-1980s, Flying Tigers operated scheduled cargo service to six continents and served 58 countries. Covert flights for the military were not uncommon throughout the airline's history, given its roots in Civil Air Transport (CAT), as with its sister airline Air America. After airline deregulation, stiff competition buffeted profits and, with some unsuccessful diversification attempts by parent Tiger International, the airline began sustaining losses in 1981. Federal Express purchased Flying Tigers in December 1988. On August 7, 1989 Federal Express merged Flying Tigers into its operations, and the Flying Tigers name passed into history.