The 70s were characterized
by greater presence of jet aircraft on domestic routes and
the new wide-body aircraft on intercontinental flights.
For Brazil’s domestic market VARIG brought Boeing 727 and Boeing 737, besides HS-748 turbo-prop. Electra II started operating only Rio de Janeiro - São Paulo route, known as “Ponte Aérea” (Air Bridge). From 1975 to 1987, Electra II was the only aircraft to operate this route. Meanwhile the jets on domestic routes made travel much faster, reduced by half the duration of the flight. However, cities with lower demand, which did not support jets, were no longer served. Seeing this situation, Brazilian government created SITAR "Sistema de Transporte Aéreo Regional" (Regional Air Transport System) in 1976. Brazil was divided into five regions and new regional airlines were created to operate in each region. VARIG and Top Taxi Aéreo created Rio Sul on August 24, 1976. Rio Sul was responsible for connect all Brazil's South, besides Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Espírito Santo states.
In July, 1974 VARIG inaugurated the first wide-body flight with Douglas DC-10-30, the most modern and advanced jet of that time, on Rio de Janeiro - New York route. The DC-10-30 inaugurated a new era in international flights. The internal decoration followed the fashion of the time with shades of orange and yellow, the same colour of the new flight attendants uniform.
In 70s VARIG also
expanded it flights to South America, after purchase
Cruzeiro do Sul airlines in 1975.
its international expansion, VARIG launched flights to Africa in
1970, on Rio de Janeiro - Luanda - Johannesburg route. Also under
Erik Caravalho’s command, VARIG created the largest aeronautical
maintenance park in South America. However he had to leave the
company in 1979, due health problems. Harry Schuetz, one of the
oldest employees, continued Ruben Berta and Erik de Carvalho legacy.
However, just as his predecessor, Harry Schuetz was forced to be
away from office early next year.
In late 70s VARIG was already the largest private company in the world outside the USA, the eighth largest of the world in air cargo, the fourteenth largest in lines length and twenty-second in passenger/kilometers.
Ceremony to receive the first two Douglas DC-10-30
Crew Uniform - 70s / VARIG’s DC-10-30 First Class
How was fly in the 70s:
In First Class, glamor was more
present than ever with new large wide-body jets. With more space in
the cabin, passengers could enjoy bars, rest rooms and meeting
inside the plane. The main attraction still the meal, which was
served on Japanese porcelain, crystal glass and silverware. The
caviar was the great attraction on board VARIG’s First Class. Travel
was an event and passengers were wearing their best suits and
In economy class, meal ware served in porcelain, metal flatware and glass cup. And don’t forget the coffee and Swiss chocolate.
In 1979 VARIG won the award for best in-flight service in the world by the prestigious American magazine Air Transport World.
Passengers: 68 millions (average 6.81 millions per year)
FOCUS: On Electra II's Wings
Electra II was one of the
most famous aircraft models in Brazil and operated for
30 years without any accident. But many Brazilians don't
know that this same aircraft had tremendous bad
reputation in the United States, after several fatal
accidents. The Electra II was a flop worldwide, except