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What are some airlines that pioneered commercial airflight?

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Quick Answer

Some airlines that pioneered commercial air transportation include Pan American Airways, National Air Transport, Aeromarine Airways, Western Air Express and Robertson Aircraft Corporation. The first commercial airline in the world was the St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line, which operated for four months in 1914.

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Commercial aviation developed between 1920 and 1930 when the U.S. government transferred airmail service to private companies as a result of the Contract Air Mail Act of 1925. Some early routes were New York to Boston, which went to Pan Am's founder, Juan Trippe, and Salt Lake City to Los Angeles, which went to the founder of Western Air. Some airlines, such as Aeromarine Airways, went out of business. Others still exist in some form as of 2016, such as Robertson Aircraft Corporation, which became part of American Airlines.

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