World’s First Shuttle
VARIG Celebrates 30 Years of the Ponte Aerea
Story and photos by Henry Tenby
Airliners Magazine, Spring 1989
In the summer of 1987, I was attending UC-Irvice earning my MBA and just completed my first year in the programme.
As a 23 year old enthusiast aviation fan with a solid interest in the Lockheed Electra, I established contact VARIG’s North American Vice President Mr. Werner Leghein at his office in downtown Los Angeles. I asked if he would assist me in sending my request to the airline’s head office in Rio asking if they would support my efforts to visit them with the purpose of preparing an in-depth article on VARG’s Ponte Aerea Electra operation.
VARIG responded positively, and it was the start of many trips and numerous friendships made with the airline. On my first trip down to Rio in early July, 1987, VARIG provided first class tickets from LAX. As a student I couldn’t believe my luck!
Those were the days when airlines would graciously help aviation journalists, a great rarity in this day and age! VARIG is no more, and times have changed, but the article below takes us back to a time when it seemed anything was possible for budding aviation fan and journalist.