On 22 June, 1960 landed in Galeão
airport VARIG’s first flight from New York with Boeing 707-441,
equiped with four Rolls-Royce engines, which guaranteed fuel economy
and more range over other versions. With B707, VARIG was the first
airline to offer nonstop flights between Rio de Janeiro and New
In August, 1961 VARIG purchased Real-Aerovias-Nacional airlines, which was in financial difficulties. Thus VARIG become Brazil’s domestic market leader and expanded its international network to Lima, Bogota, Caracas, Mexico, Miami and Los Angeles. After purchase Real-Aerovias-Nacional, VARIG's domestic network grown to more than 90 cities.
Shortly later, VARIG became also the leader in international market, when has inherited Panair do Brasil’s routes to Europe. To assume such new routes, VARIG acquired Boeing 707-300 and Douglas DC-8-33. In very little time VARIG started flights to Lisbon, Madrid, Rome, Paris, Zurich, Frankfurt, London and Beirut, consolidating itself as the largest airline in Latin America.
However, in December 1966, Ruben Berta dies at his office desk. In his place assumed Erik Kastrup de Carvalho, who previously worked at Panair. Erik continued VARIG's international expansion, that arrived on the other side of the world, in 1968, when launched flights to Tokyo. For domestic market, VARIG brought the fast and silent Lockheed Electra II. They replaced Convair 240 and Caravelle on main domestic routes, including Rio de Janeiro - São Paulo "Ponte Aérea" (Air Bridge).
VARIG's crew - 60s / Lockheed Electra II
How was fly in 60s:
Were aviation's "golden age",
flying was very chic and very expensive. The slogan: “VARIG,
a forma elegante de voar” (VARIG, the
stylish way of fly).
Even though it was summer, passengers were wearing their best suits and dresses, including gloves and hat. On board reception was served French champagne or scotch for all passengers, including those in economy class. Smiling and elegant cabin crew with uniforms designed by famous designer, light cigarette for passengers. Wide seats and located at least one meter from the other in front. The big attraction was the meal: in First Class: caviar and shrimp cascades. In Economy Class two choice of hot food, beyond entrance, cheese, dessert and drinks. In First Class, passenger enjoy a true five star restaurant, with hot towels for hygiene, table towel, linen napkins, silverware and crystal glasses.
Economy Class meal / Boeing 707 / Onboard service - Boeing 707
FOCUS: Varig and the route to New York
first international long-haul route was to New York, in
July 1955. Ever since this was VARIG's most important
route until the end of the flights in 2006. The first
aircraft used on the route was Super G Constellation,
which along with Douglas DC-7 was the most advanced
four-engine at that time. But unlike DC-7, Super
Constellation was also famous for its beauty and became
the biggest icon of aviation's glamor in the 50s. Build
to carry over one hundred passengers, VARIG had an ultra
comfortable setting with just about 60 seats. The flight
time was 25 hours and with stops in Belém and Trujillo.
Initially the flight was twice a week and by the end of
50s VARIG doubled the frequencies.