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Family Aid 2020
   Vol. 21 No. 44
Wednesday November 16, 2022

KriendlerWas Old School

Jeff Kriendler

     Jeffrey Feller Kriendler passed away on September 3 at the age of 76.
     He filled up his brown leather messenger bag and split for another dimension.
     Jeff was the airline guy.
     “He was Pan Am,” says Ed Trippe, son of the founder of Pan Am, Juan Trippe.
     Jeff had the unenviable bad luck, or maybe it was good, to be the last man standing at Pan American World Airways, now 31 years after PAA went out of business, guarding the legacy of that airline.
     He knew how to play the big game and as the Head of Corporate Communications you always thought something was up with him, with his engaging attitude and bag, chock full of paperwork.
     I remember a day sitting in my exquisite offices that we maintained for 25 years inside The Marine Air Terminal (MAT).
     Our office, in 1940 had served as the pilot’s room for the Clipper B314s when MAT was the Pan Am base to the world. It had a spiral staircase, so in my life it was both a good way to duck people you didn’t want to see and also to make a rather dramatic entrance head first.
     The crew for a 100-ton, B314 flying boat would march down that stairway, from up, and then proceed from the base of the stairs to an aircraft bobbing on the water out back in Bowery Bay.
     This day it was Kriendler, followed by an impassive looking Pan Am Chairman Ed Acker to launch the first day of the Pan Am Shuttle.
     Pan Am had bought an airline called New York Air and was looking for a win, five years before it went out of business altogether.
     There was also a very smart business manager named Larry Billett, directing things at Pan Am and Bruce Nobles was CEO and Frank Signore was Shuttle Manager.
     As the NY Mets tipped off in The World Series that year, expectations ran high.
     Somebody came up with the idea to fasten a bunch of trailers together and tack them onto the MAT so Pan Am could operate hourly flights to Washington and Boston.
     So where the B314s once ruled in 1940, now here again in 1985 came what was left of Pan Am starting another airline operation next to the water hoping for better weather.
     It simply doesn’t get any more romantic in the airline business than that.
     Those trailers were only supposed to live for 20 years but in fact are still in use today forty years later.
     Kriendler walked with a limp and battled ill-health but he never let it slow him down.
     People like the Beatles proudly carried Pan Am-branded bags with pride probably not believing themselves in their luck.
     But it was all style, and Jeff, who came out of the famous restaurant family of the "21 Club" was both a driving force and a fierce loyalist during that time.
     He remained active until the end.
     Most recently, the very rich and influential (and very old) group of Pan Am people have been spearheading their money around the Cradle of Aviation on Long Island and also unfortunately at The Marine Air Terminal at LaGuardia Airport.
     So now they have enshrined themselves with self-congratulatory plaques all over the lobby of the Marine Air Terminal.
     But Kriendler was always selfless.
     He had a stroke shortly after PAA filed for bankruptcy and went out of business.
     Then he got right back up to pumping traffic and worked until September of this year for The Pan Am Historical Foundation.
     There are healthy amounts of Ink and Av Gas in some airline people, although now the world only knows iPhones and kero.
     But it’s there and it is magnetic.
     And you don’t have to look hard to find it.
     People like Mikey McBryan of Buffalo Air; Jan Krems of United Cargo; Bill Boesch, Cargo Logistics Solutions; Mike White PayCargo; Mike Simon, Emirates; Mike Oslansky, President MAWB Services, LLC and others, not listed will we ever forget.
     Happy Landings, Kriendler, you made the going great.

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Publisher-Geoffrey Arend • Managing Editor-Flossie Arend • Editor Emeritus-Richard Malkin
Film Editor-Ralph Arend • Special Assignments-Sabiha Arend, Emily Arend

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