1948-1950s: Early years
The defeat of Germany in the aftermath of World War II meant that the country fell under occupation by Allied powers, who maintained sovereignty over German airspace until the early 1950s. As such, Germany was prohibited from establishing its own airlines and could not resume commercial aviation services within its territory. Realizing the need to restore airline travel within the country in a timely manner, Pan American World Airways established its own German subsidiary named Allied Air Services in March 1948. The new airline would employ American flight crews with a technical base in Frankfurt. Scheduled domestic services began the following month with a triangular route serving Frankfurt, Munich, and West Berlin flown with a pair of used Douglas DC-4 aircraft registered in the United States.
From June 1948 through September 1949, AAS assisted in the Western Allies' efforts to transport supplies to West Berlin during the Berlin Airlift, which was organized in response to a Soviet blockade that cut off access to the city via railways, roads, and canals.
By 1952, its domestic network expanded to serve Bremen, Nuremberg, and Stuttgart. To cope with rising passenger demand, AAS replaced its DC-4s with larger DC-6B aircraft in 1956.