The story of DHL began in 1969 when a student, visiting a ship-owners office in San Francisco because he wanted to take the man's daughter out on a date, overheard that the company was having problems with documentation needed for a ship which was due to arrive in Honolulu. He offered to fly to Hawaii with the necessary pieces of paper and the problem was instantly solved. It was the start of a business and soon three students: Adrian Dalsey, Larry Hillblom and Robert Lynn had got together and were flying around the world delivering documents for shipping companies. As money began to roll in they expanded into other sectors, delivering documents for oil companies and banks and it was not long before there were requests for parcels to be transported as well.Dalsey, Hillblom and Lynn decided to establish a firm using their initials and DHL came into being with the initial growth concentrated in Asia and the Pacific Rim. The company began operating in Europe in 1974 and in Latin America in 1977 and by the middle of the 1980s the firm had begun deliveries in the Soviet Union and China. The enormous growth of the business created the need for special DHL "hubs" and one was established in Cincinnati and another in Brussels in Belgium. As the company bought more and more aircraft in the late 1980s and early 1990s a new hub was established in Manila in the Philippines. Today DHL operates a fleet of 254 aircraft and 16,326 vehicles in 228 countries. Somewhere in the world a DHL flight takes off once every 50 seconds, which makes the company the fifth largest airline in the world. DHL employs more than 68,000 people and in 1998 sold 25% of its shares to Deutsche Post, giving the German firm effect control of the business. This is how the sponsorship with Jordan Grand Prix came about as Deutsche Post decided to use Formula 1 to push the DHL brand in competition to Ferrari sponsor FedEx. The company withdrew from F1 in 2002.