Aviation History Newfoundland & Labrador

AHNL to Announce Commission and Funding of Commemorative Sculpture

September 9, 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Thursday, September 5th, 2019

St. John’s, NL –Members of AHNL, local aviation community, corporate funding partners along with provincial and federal government officials gathered at The St. John’s International Airport this morning to announce the commission and funding of the Alcock and Brown Centennial Commemorative Sculpture.

We are delighted to be here today with our partners, the St. John’s International Airport Authority and the Government of Canada, to announce the funding and commissioning of an integral legacy piece said AHNL Founder and Co-Chair Bill Mahoney. He went on to remark, “We had an incredible summer of celebrations, with vast public interest and engagement. What we celebrated was the spirit of adventure, innovation and the drive to succeed that marked the beginning of the commercial aviation industry, an industry with many firsts involving Newfoundland and Labrador. We are thrilled to officially announce the funding of the commemorative sculpture. We believe that this sculpture will not only mark an important beginning but serve as an inspiration for future generations to become involved in an industry that is so important to our economic future.”

The sculpture named “The Departure” described by artist Morgan Macdonald as a “slightly over life sized group of statues depicting Captain John Alcock and Lieutenant Arthur Whitten Brown prior to their departure and successful completion of the first non- stop transatlantic flight. The piece is based on a famous press photo taken in NL prior to their voyage. It is also worthy of note that they are carrying the first piece of transatlantic mail marked NFLD. Shown in the background is a depiction of the Vickers Vimy biplane they successfully flew across the North Atlantic. This component provides an impactful visual to their story and encourages public engagement with a presented photo opportunity. The visual allows the public to enter into the setting of the piece with these historical figures and potentially interact with the piece through social media.” 

“We are honored to support such a significant piece of commemorative artwork with a contribution of $150,000 towards the sculpture of Alcock and Brown, celebrating the 100th anniversary since the first non-stop transatlantic flight,” said Peter Avery, CEO, St. John’s International Airport Authority. “The sculpture will be temporarily placed in the concourse until we complete Phase Two of the expansion at St. John’s International Airport focusing on the Arrivals Area. It will then be prominently located in the new Arrivals Area whereby arriving passengers will be greeted with a warm welcome while having the opportunity to learn about the history and vital role of Alcock and Brown’s 16-hour flight across the Atlantic. Their accomplishment has had such a profound impact on the development of commercial aviation in our community, our province and the world.”

The Government of Canada is providing a contribution of $225,000 for the commission and construction of the commemorative sculpture. Liberal MP for St. John’s East Nick Whalen stated, “Newfoundland and Labrador’s rich history is tied directly to our strategic location, and nowhere more so than in our aviation history. Our Government is proud to recognize 100 years of transatlantic flight in such a fitting way, in such a fitting place. This Morgan MacDonald sculpture at the St. John’s International Airport in partnership with the Airport Authority and Aviation History Newfoundland and Labrador, will connect us to our past an inspire our next generation of aviators.”

Please direct media inquiries to June Perry, Pilot Communications

  • (709) 682-2682 or (709) 753-0794


Aviation History Newfoundland and Labrador (AHNL) hosted several events and activities in St. John’s, NL to commemorate this historic event throughout the summer of 2019. This celebration marked the significant accomplishments of Alcock and Brown and acknowledges how this historic event also marked the beginning of the commercial aviation industry worldwide.

The Alcock and Brown 100th Anniversary Celebration captured the attention of aviation enthusiasts worldwide. It consisted of over twenty initiatives supported by the private and public sector. The celebrations included, a Commemorative Flight to Ireland, The Aviator’s Ball, a Garden Party, Downtown Festival, City Reception, Historic Stage Production, Commemorative Print and more.

Social Media Channels

  • Facebook: @aviationhistnl
  • Twitter: @aviationhistnl




  • Co-Chair, Bill Mahoney Aviator, Vice Chair of the Canadian Owners & Pilots Assoc.
  • Co-Chair, Jim Burton – Pres. North Eastern Sky Services Ltd.
  • Alcock and Brown Centennial Advisory Team
  • David Paddon – Aviator, Writer and Storyteller
  • Sheilagh O’Leary – Deputy Mayor of St. John’s
  • Marie Manning – St. John’s Airport Authority
  • Maurice Murphy – NL Chair, Air Cadet League
  • Gary Hebbard – Journalist, Photographer and Aviation Historian
  • Dave Hebbard – Photographer/Videographer,
  • Dr. Mike Deal – Archeologist, Aviation Historian
  • Pete Soucy– Business and The Arts NL
  • June Perry – President & CEO, Pilot° Communications
  • Larry Dohey (deceased)– Archivist, The Rooms
  • Minette Ledrew – COPA Flight 97
  • Rick O’Neil – Aviator, President, O’Neil Auto Group
  • Rudy Toering – President, Aviation Expert Services
  • Nichole Tetford – Operations Director, Pilot° Communications