John Casey had a long career in aviation. He was a graduate of M.I.T. He served as a pilot in the Army Air Corps during World War II, both as a test pilot, and as commander of the transport squadron of the Manhattan Project, which developed the first atomic bomb.
In 1962 he became vice-president of operations for Seaboard. He went to Braniff in 1968 and became chairman and chief executive officer in 1981. In 1982 he went to Pan American World Airways as executive vice-president and became head of Pan American World Services. He retired in 1988 and formed an airline management consulting firm that he ran until his death.