AIRMAIL CREATES AN INDUSTRY
With few people willing to brave the very real
dangers of early air travel, and few military contracts between
the world wars, postal funds supported aviation in the U.S.
For the first time, the postal system built the framework
of a new transportation industry. In the past, postal officials
had contracted with companies using established transportation
systems. Since only the military was using aircraft on a regular,
large-scale basis in the U.S, postal officials turned to the
Army to man and operate the first regularly scheduled airmail
flights for the first three months.
Post Office Department took control of all aspects of Air
Mail Service in August 1918, and set out to ensure the service
would become a fundamental part of American life. Because
of the financial advantages of ever-speedier mail service,
banks and businesses were the first to recognize the potential
of Air Mail Service. The general public viewed the early years
of aviation as an adventurous curiosity. For most Americans,
flying could not become an instrumental part of life until
schedules and service were regular and reliable, air travel
safe and useful. By financing the postal service's development
of airmail routes, aviation advocates in Congress worked with
postal officials to create an infrastructure within which
the private aviation industry could grow and flourish.