The TEAL Influence In The Solomon Islands

Shortly after World War II, a small airline from New Zealand known as Tasman Empire Airways Limited, which was abbreviated TEAL, began to fly tourists from the harbor in Auckland to the small outlying Pacific Islands. Gliding along on a number of luxury Solent flying boats, tourists were treated to an experience like no other at the time. The glamorous nature of these flights was not lost on the native people from the islands of the South Pacific.




A Humble Beginning For Tasman Empire Airways Limited

Shortly after World War II, a small airline from New Zealand known as Tasman Empire Airways Limited, which was abbreviated TEAL, began to fly tourists from the harbor in Auckland to the small outlying Pacific Islands. Gliding along on a number of luxury Solent flying boats, tourists were treated to an experience like no other at the time. The glamorous nature of these flights was not lost on the native people from the islands of the South Pacific.

Not only did these flights bring tourists to these beautiful, quiet sun-kissed islands, they also brought much-needed communication to the islands allowing them to feel like they were a part of the outside world. The planes, luxury flying boats, were flown by highly experienced wartime aviators. In 1951 when these routes were flown there was a mystery and a romantic aura surrounding aviation and those who could afford to fly on planes.

A Virtual Playground For The Rich And Famous

Everyone from movie stars to wealthy entrepreneurs were flown from island to island and were greeted by landing in sea green lagoons among a soft spray of turquoise sea water. The route taken by these amazing luxurious flying boats was affectionately known as the most romantic airline route in the world. This route’s original intention was to be used as a mail route.

The appeal of island hopping flying boats was just too tantalizing to the airline and to passengers lucky enough to fly on it. Men dressed in fine suits and women wore dresses with fur coats. If children came along they were dressed up as well in their most fashionable clothes. It became a playground area for the wealthy and for those that loved the romanticism of touching down gently on a tropical island paradise and being treated like royalty by the native people.

Popularity Of Flights Increased Numbers Of Solent Flying Boats

Originally, these flights were to be flown just once a month, but due to high demand and increased popularity they quickly became a regular occurrence. Hearkening back to days past, memories of small flying boats with twin decks carrying just a few passengers, flying on one of these Solent flying boats became a symbol of status and wealth.

TEAL flying boats were able to carry about forty-five passengers each, and living quarters offered on them were very comfortable for passengers. The passenger cabins were lined with insulation and nicely upholstered and were nearly sound-proof. Restaurants aboard featured linen tablecloths and fine silver service. Chefs that traveled aboard the TEAL flying boats cooked gourmet meals for guests.

Remnants Still Exist Today

Today, remnants still exist of small TEAL “Terminals” on the islands. Many residents fondly remember those flights from the 1950’s, a time when aviation was still somewhat of a mystery and those able to take part in it were considered to be mysterious as well. Famous stars flew on these Solent flying boats. People like Carrie Grant, John Wayne and others took advantage of the mystery and beauty experienced by this island hopping ability.

Flying along these routes between the islands created a sense of goodwill that still exists today among people of the South Pacific. It provided necessary communication links for them, along with a tourist experience that is almost unmatched. Flying along on soft tropical breezes, many spectacular South Pacific sunsets were enjoyed by those that could afford to travel this way.

Author Byline:

Darryl Martin is an avid aviation history buff who wrote this on behalf of where you can find life insurance online.




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About Wayne Farley

Wayne Farley

I am Wayne, an aviation safety evangelist who once made my living working in the control tower. Engage me while I share my thoughts, experience, and news from the aviation world. After writing "13 Characteristics of an air traffic controller" in 2010, it went viral and established me as an unofficial ambassador for ATC.

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