Press Release

Civil Air Transport: Asia's Airline of Distinction


press releases

October 16, 2012


CONTACT: Charles Schuler      
Associate Deputy Airport Director
Communications & Marketing
San Francisco International Airport 
650-821- 5031  


Civil Air Transport: Asia's Airline of Distinction


SAN FRANCISCO --  Unique among the airlines of the world, Civil Air Transport (CAT) operated against a backdrop of great political transition in China and throughout the Far East.  From its formation in 1946 to its demise in 1968, the company and its remarkable personnel were at the center of much of the region’s major historical events as they defined the power and influence of air transport in the postwar era.


Civil Air Transport: Asia’s Airline of Distinction presents an early history of aviation in China and the development of CAT from its purposeful origins on the mainland and its dramatic relocation to Taiwan.  The airline’s simultaneous roles as an international flag carrier with highly regarded commercial service and a covert operating division of the United States Central Intelligence Agency are explored in the more than one hundred and fifty artifacts and images on display.


Selected images from the exhibition are available for download at:


Civil Air Transport: Asia’s Airline of Distinction is on view from Wednesday October 17, 2012 to Monday, April 1, 2013 and is located pre-security in the San Francisco Airport Commission Aviation Library and Louis . Turpen Aviation Museum in the International Terminal Departures Level adjacent to the Boarding Area 'A' entrance.  The museum is open free of charge to all visitors during the operating hours of 10:00 am to 4:30 pm, Sunday through Friday.  It is closed Saturdays, holidays, and during private events.  Telephone (650) 821-9900 or extension *1114 on any Airport courtesy telephone. 


SFO Museum

SFO Museum was established by the Airport Commission in 1980 for the purposes of humanizing the Airport environment, providing visibility for the unique cultural life of San Francisco, and providing educational services for the traveling public.  The Museum was granted initial accreditation from the American Association of Museums in 1999, reaccredited in 2005, and has the distinction of being the only accredited museum in an airport.  Today, SFO Museum features approximately twenty galleries throughout the Airport terminals displaying a rotating schedule of art, history, science, and cultural exhibitions, as well as the San Francisco Airport Commission Aviation Library and Louis A. Turpen Aviation Museum, a permanent collection dedicated to the history of commercial aviation.  For more information, please visit


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