Bob Morgan's Photographic Memoriesof Saudi Arabia in the late 1940s
Text and photos by Bob Morgan. Special thanks to Al Bormuth for conversion to digital files.
Captioned Black and White Photos
Captioned Color Photos
After the end of World War II in Europe in 1945,Trans World Airlines was awarded an extension of their North Atlantic routes from Europe through the Middle East into India. The vice-president of TWA's north Atlantic division, C. R. Springer, came to Cairo with other personnel for the purpose of securing surplus military lend lease aircraft and equipment; and also to assist the countries of Ethiopia, Iran and Saudi-Arabia in setting up their own national airlines. Also, TWA was to charter two aircraft to ARAMCO.
The first aircraft to be conditioned for civilian use was a C47-B, a former lend lease from the British army. It was consigned to ARAMCO. The registration was 6408, and it's American crew were Ralph Austin, George Carl and Robert Morgan. The purchase price was $20,000. After the end of World War II, the British parked many different types of lend lease aircraft at Ismalia, Egypt. These aircraft were brought to Payne field, a United States Military base in Cairo, to be conditioned for civilian use by the aforementioned airlines. If the aircraft was to be used for flight the price was $20,000, if used for spare parts, the price was $10,000. All of these aircraft were C-47s and almost new. The British had huge storage areas for aircraft parts, plus complete maintenance and overhaul depots, TWA purchased a large portion of this equipment for $2,800,000, an extremely low price. For example, radios and instruments were sold for 8 cents per pound. New engines cost $250. TWA also bought the U.S. Army Air Force maintenance facilities at Payne field. This became a major maintenance base for TWA's scheduled international operation, and the new carriers. Payne field is now Cairo international airport.
The time I spent in Saudi-Arabia was from December 1945 to spring of 1949. I flew the ARAMCO charter first, and then transferred to Saudi-Arabian airlines as one of the original 13 pilots.