Welcome to the first video essay in our Short-Hauls section, TWA's Final Departure From Lisbon
On January 14, 2001, TWA operated its last flight from Portugal as flight 901 departed Lisbon, bound for New York's Kennedy International Airport. This brought an end to TWA's presence in Portugal which had begun almost 55 years earlier. The video was taken by a TWA employee and has been edited for this article. You'll see TWA's Lisbon staff bidding the flight farewell at the gate, followed by pushback, taxi, and takeoff. After takeoff, you'll see something we think is pretty special.
TWA and Portugal
Lisbon, Portugal was among the earliest of TWA's international destinations, first served in May 1946. TWA also served the Azores, a region of Portugal consisting of nine islands in the Atlantic Ocean, roughly 900 miles west of Lisbon. In the pre-jet era, the Azores proved the ideal location for a needed fuel stop between the U.S. and Lisbon. Once TWA's jets made non-stop flights possible, Azores service was significantly reduced. TWA did continue to periodically schedule Boeing 707 jet flights with a stop in the Azores; however, that came to an end in 1979.
Throughout the 1990s, TWA's service to cities in Europe decreased substantially. By 2000, Lisbon remained as one of only a few European cities still served. Unfortunately that was not to last much longer as TWA ended service to Lisbon, effective January 14, 2001.
About the video
The video was taken by TWA Lisbon employee José João Inácio who was among many employees there to witness TWA's final departure. We received the video from Carlos Carreiro, a former TWA flight attendant, purser and flight service manager. In addition to providing the video, he was a great source of information about TWA's history in Portugal. A native of the Azores, Carlos emigrated to the U.S. in 1976 and flew for TWA from 1978 until 2001, continuing his career with American Airlines until 2003. He is also the author of three books about Portuguese cultural and aviation history. Carlos currently resides on the island of São Miguel, in the Azores.
As you watch the video, keep in mind it was taken with a hand-held video camcorder, so you'll notice some shaking, especially on close-up shots. Also note this was the era of videotape, so images are not as sharp as we see with today's digital video technology. With that said, we think the subject and meaning of the video are what you'll notice most.
Thanks to the TWA employees you'll see in the video as well as their predecessors who worked for TWA in Portugal. While it was a sad day for TWA's Lisbon employees, they made sure TWA's last departure from Lisbon was given an honorable and heartfelt farewell.
Article written by: Wayne Hammer
Edited by: Larry Dingman
Copy editor: Pam Tucker
Videographer: José João Inácio
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