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Around the World with Transocean


By 1950, Transocean was prominent in the Orient, and Nelson finally had his chance to set up the first operation of a scheduled Japanese airline during October of 1951. TAL's operation was established under an agreement with Northwest Airlines, which had been awarded the original contract by the Japanese. But at the time, Northwest was unable to furnish the equipment and crews, and Transocean had both. Therefore, TAL was given a subcontract and started the service with four Martin 202s and in February of 1952, flew out two more Northwest airplanes to supplement the operation. The flights linked the main island of Honshu with the industrial centers on the other islands and the Martins carried about 80 percent load capacity.

On October 23, 1952, the corporation entered into a contract with Japan Air Lines whereby TAL would furnish all flight crew personnel and dispatchers, plus seven instructors, under the direction of Gene Cohan, Director of Far East Operations for Transocean, to train crews for the JAL domestic routes. Among the station managers at JAL were Dick Laskelle and Larry Bovat, with Dispatcher Vic Lakin. The contract also called for a maintenance facility, Japan Air Lines Maintenance Company (JAMCO) to be established, with mechanics and instructors to be supplied by Transocean. Within the year, TAL also furnished flight crews for JAL's international operation, with a minimum of twenty-four additional TAL flight crew members assigned to the operation.

On September 15, 1953, Captain Claude Turner, Japan Air Lines' chief pilot, delivered the first DC-6B to Japan to inaugurate JAL's international service on November 1, which would provide two flights a week between Tokyo and San Francisco.

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