View Full Version : British Airways 707-436 questions

27th Jun 2012, 23:49
I have some questions about the 707-436s final years at BA before being removed/transferred to British Airtours

What routes were BA using them on, say around 1974/75?

Were they still in an F/Y cabin configuration, or all Y?

Were any of them dedicated to charter flights before going to Airtours?

28th Jun 2012, 00:17
I went to Singapore and back twice in a BA 707 and my ex, as a hostie, used to fly LHR-Tokyo-Anchorage, (over the North Pole), in the B707.

28th Jun 2012, 00:33

My log book shows that in early 1973 they were starting to do charters. January saw me in Oakland, Gander, Mexico City, Tahiti and Honolulu. September and October saw me in Kansas City, Oakland and Gander followed by Detroit to JFK and on to Frankfurt. I also went to Borgas on the Black sea one night in May '73.
About the end of December we started using them heavily on the Canadian trips. Toronto, Montreal etc. from LHR and Manchester. There was still the odd Dubai trip in '74 but Toronto was "home"!! Then just one Cairo in April '74Then not much variation other than the odd Cairo and JFK until my last flight on one, G-APFM from JFK to LHR on October 30th '76. Some had gone to Airtours by then but 'FM went to the desert a couple of days later.

They were operated F/Y during that time and not dedicated to charters but a mix.

I am talking -436's as the 336's did the polar routes, and Moscow-Tokyo, and were around after the 436's had departed.

Hope that helps.

Speeedbird 48.

28th Jun 2012, 11:51
The 436 were progressively reduced in number, some went to Airtours, some were retired. There wasn't a decision to retire the VC10 before the 707 or vice versa, both ran down somewhat equally, by 1980 there were still a handful of each type (707s down to just the -336s) in service.

There were a few of the -436 converted to all-economy, they were used on charters negotiated through BOAC Ltd, which was a subsidiary company, although just for sales/marketing, the ops side remained with the mainstream operation. They also did schedules to Toronto, where there was a long tradition of operating many of the BOAC flights with all-economy aircraft, reflecting the commercial demand on the route.

BOAC were starting to lose ground to the "Affinity Group Charters", which many independents were starting to get in on as the first generation 707s came onto the secondhand market (many from Pan Am). Carriers such as Lloyd, Laker, Caledonian, Donaldson, etc were getting this traffic, and BOAC Ltd was a response.

The -336 aircraft appear to have remained on mainstream thin-trunk routes to the end.

28th Jun 2012, 17:03
Here's a link to a photo I took of a -436 at Manchester in August 1974, G-APFH:

Manchester 1974 BA 707 G-APFH | Flickr - Photo Sharing! (http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/5254961268/)

28th Jun 2012, 18:48
Having a shorter range than the PW-336 the RR-436 went (not surprisingly) on the shorter routes. LHR-FRA-TLV-THR-DEL-Rangoon-BKK-HKG-Tokyo, Haneda-HNL-SFO and return! Also LHR-Rome-DEL-and oints East. Also to BDA, JFK, LHR-Manchester- Prestwick-Toronto-YUL. LHR-BOS. Also to SYD via a hundred stops too. There were some (night) charters to the Bulgarian holiday spots IIRC.

The -336 operated on the Carribean routes, MIA, LAX, SFO and also to Tokyo via Anchorage or Moscow. Anywhere that needed rather longer legs.

-436 left mainline around 1976 but the -336 was still in service till 1980 I believe.


Kitoro Kid
29th Jun 2012, 08:08
Which is the airframe in the field in Entebbe , you can still see the very faded "Airtours" on the side of the aircraft, anybody got the real story on that aircraft? have heard a few over the years, not sure which one to believe, but understand the ground engineer used to carry a paint brush and tin of paint with him to keep changing the aircraft registration. It has RR engines.

29th Jun 2012, 08:41
Which is the airframe in the field in Entebbe , you can still see the very faded "Airtours" on the side of the aircraft, .
G-APFL apparently, one of the -436. Retired by Airtours in 1980, it had a couple of new grey-market owners but whether they actually operated it, can't say. Dumped at Entebbe in 1983, apparently still in remnants of Airtours livery, so hasn't been used for nearly 30 years, supposed to be turned into a restaurant in the 1990s, that doesn't seem to have happened either. Last reported in a childrens' playground.

29th Jun 2012, 09:10
There were a few of the -436 converted to all-economy

I don't think it was a big deal to reconfigure an aircraft. Around 1969/70 the all-Y 707s (162Y) did the daily LON-Prestwick-Toronto and also occasional extra sections on the Toronto nonstop route in peak Summer. The standard configuration was 16F/130Y but other combinations were used occasionally, anywhere from 8F to 24F (in multiples of 4, obviously).

There were also all-Y configurations for the STVs and SUVs as well (from memory 117Y and 157Y) but they were very rarely used.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
29th Jun 2012, 09:28
They must have still been flying with Airtours in the '80s as I remember pre-flighting a C172 on the South Side apron at Manchester when one landed on (the then) 24. It landed long and was still going at quite a rate when it passed me, engines roaring in reverse.

It went out of sight behind the Kilroe hangar so I ran to the edge of the apron to witness what looked likely to be an over-run off the end of 24. The wings were bouncing up and down with the effects of reverse thrust and still in reverse it took the final turn-off at such a speed I'm amazed the tyres survived!

All was OK in the end, but it must have been 'interesting' for the pax!

29th Jun 2012, 09:32
Were the aircraft actually reseated to all-economy, or were a few lucky Y pax just given the F seats ? It's not just the seats to change, there would be cabin dividers and ensuring the supplementary oxygen units and PSUs overhead matched up with the seats beneath.

29th Jun 2012, 12:20
I can't remember the 747-100s (my memory works in reverse - the more recent, the more difficult to recall) but the narrowbodies had standard configurations - 16/130 for the 707, 16/123 for the SUV and 12/99 for the STV. If the product planners wanted something different, it would be for a full timetable season but I don't think we had carte blanche, there had to be a very good reason for a deviation from the norm. I'm pretty sure the daylight Eastbound NYC-LON STV has a much bigger F-class cabin.

I'm trying to imagine: if LON-PIK-YYZ were the only year-round all-Y route, you could theoretically operate it with a singleton aircraft, but in practice you would absolutely need a second aircraft as backup - or risk regular substitutions by an aircraft with 12 fewer seats (on a flight that was usually full). Hence the availability for charters, extra sections etc. Plus the need to accommodate scheduled maintenance. I guess, over the fleet, a couple of reconfigurations would be necessary each season.

On occasion a STV would be reconfigures in all F-class for royal tours. Afterwards, it might be available for a week or so for ad hoc use. I can recall it being used for the daylight Eastbound, whether due to unserviceability or a heavy F-class demand (and very low Y-class - in which case indeed the lucky Y passengers would get the upgrade). It was also used on at least one occasion as backup for an u/s Concorde.

29th Jun 2012, 12:32

Standard VC10 ? Super VC10 ? Always saw the Super as VCX in the timetables.

Did Concorde and the Standard VC10 actually overlap in service ? I'd be a bit hacked to book the former and get the latter.

In the 1971 summer timetable there are 11 economy 707s a week to Toronto, one or two a day, with only one stopping at Prestwick (and then only in the highest season), and a couple at Montreal, most were nonstop. There was a daily normal FY aircraft to both Montreal and Toronto, and a daily FY MAN-PIK-YUL-YYZ as well. As charters were done as well you would need at least three economy-configured aircraft, and possibly more, given that some BOAC Ltd charters were to Singapore with the aircraft away for several days. Air Canada also had all-economy DC8s as well in parallel, but these were their combi pax/freight aircraft with a small economy cabin. I never understood why, for years, only Toronto, of all the myriad points on the BOAC network, merited these special all-economy aircraft (it went back to Britannia days). Was it something to do with the pool arrangement with Air Canada ?

29th Jun 2012, 13:18
They must have still been flying with Airtours in the '80s

As I recall, BA got their first 737s in early 1980 and Airtours probably followed suit in 1981 - I would think all the 436s had been retired by the end of 1981?

29th Jun 2012, 13:34
My 'hands on' experience dates from 1969/70, when I worked in the Prestwick duty room and then T3* check-in, then from 1974-80 when I worked in Western Routes (specifically USA) planning. I know the daily LHR-PIK-YYZ was all Y, I used it regularly to shuttle up and down to LON. (incidentally the PIK-LON passengers were segregated at the back, with a Customs officer to ensure they didn't interact with the transatlantics).

The year I spent on check-in, 1969-70, I can almost guarantee that was the only regular all-Y flight. Bear in mind that BOAC at the time had probably less than 25 daily departures from LHR. There wasn't even a Montreal terminator at that point - it went on to Chicago. Charters at that time were virtually unheard-of. The 747s should have been introduced during that period but they were sitting in Seattle with concrete blocks instead of engines.

I'd be a bit hacked to book the former and get the latter.

Probably true, but being told it was the royal aircraft might have helped.

* Sorry - 'Oceanic'. There were only two terminals at the time.

29th Jun 2012, 13:44
We had fun with those, round the world charters, many wet leases, Syrian Air, DETA Mozambique (Windhoek was wonderful), Air Seychelles, Air Mauritius etc
The -436 worked well for us:ok:

PS. BEA/British Airtours reunion this eve at the BA club LGW 10 & starts @ 7

29th Jun 2012, 13:54
As I recall, BA got their first 737s in early 1980 and Airtours probably followed suit in 1981 - I would think all the 436s had been retired by the end of 1981?
I think the last -436 was APFJ, which went from Airtours in summer 1981. There were still some 707 requirements at Airtours, so two -336 came across from the main line fleet as replacements, the last of these (and the last BA group 707) seems to be AXXY, one of the "Moscow" -336B's, which was disposed in summer 1984.

29th Jun 2012, 14:00
1969-70 ..... The 747s should have been introduced during that period but they were sitting in Seattle with concrete blocks instead of engines.
I recall visiting Everett at that time and actually seeing the BOAC 747s (only theirs) parked outside with the concrete blocks attached, to keep tension on the wings. JT9Ds were in short supply due to snags, and the BOAC aircraft were not being delivered due to a long-running crewing dispute.

Just last year there were pictures of all the 787s built up at Everett awaiting engines, with exactly the same. I did wonder if, after all these years, they were the same concrete blocks !

29th Jun 2012, 16:46
I remember as a young lad travelling LGW-DBV and back in British Airtours 707-436's. I think this would have been in 1976. I also remember these flights were known as "Tango" charters, though I can't remember why?

What was memorable about this trip (apart from these being my only ever flights in a 707) was that we arrived in DBV during some fairly heavy weather and lost a nosewheel on "landing" - I remember some of the rubber jungle also made an appearance due to the nature of the arrival and my mother's "concern" as the errant wheel bounced past us down the side of the runway. Thankfully the remaining one remained in place, so there the drama ended, other than I imagine something of a delay to the returning LGW flight.

Anyone going to own up to "involvement" or remember this incident?

29th Jun 2012, 17:32
Airtours charters were always announced as Tango, for a reason I never understood, there used to be cards up at their desks at Gatwick advising that PA's for departures (remember those ?) would call the flights using "Tango". I used to think it must be their callsign but this was apparently "Beatours", which must have sometimesgot mangled a bit by overseas ATC !

Airtours seem to have been just about the only UK charter operator to do holiday runs to Eastern Europe in socialist days, which were otherwise invariably done by charters from the relevant national airlines, Balkan for Bulgaria and several locals for Yugoslavia. I presume the tie with British Airways, who those airlines would be in pool with for schedules to London, helped this.

29th Jun 2012, 17:47
Here is G-APFL as it is today.

Photos: Boeing 707-436 Aircraft Pictures | Airliners.net (http://www.airliners.net/photo/Aero-Beach-Entebbe/Boeing-707-436/1965050/&sid=e5b47bdbda62a82cb8261f810a86e5e4)

29th Jun 2012, 18:13

Airtours charters were always announced as Tango

I recall my sister going on a schools exchange to Austria, and the flight number on the ticket being identified as "tango xxx" which as a young reggie spotter back then seemed strange to me, as I too thought (knew) that the IATA 2-letter code for Beatours was KT.

29th Jun 2012, 18:51
BEA airtours callsign was Kilo Tango or BEETOURS. Flt # were KT000 etc. Even when on lease acft still held G reg., confused some folks when a G reg 70 arrived in SyrianAir livery:E I think I know as I was there from the start of ops in 1970:ok:

PS: airtours was always a lower case a to avoid confusion with the tour operator Airtours up north !

30th Jun 2012, 03:45
Does anyone know when the first 436 was painted in full BA negus livery? Were they still operating under the name of BOAC, or had the British Airways name been officially adopted before the livery change

30th Jun 2012, 08:08
I don't believe there would be a version of the Negus livery that said BOAC. It incorporated (somewhat) elements of both BEA and BOAC liveries, as the post-1974 merger colour scheme. It was the other way round, the previous separate company schemes were initially rebadged as British Airways or British Airtours. These seem to have lasted for some time; there's a photo of ARWD still with the old BEA colours (but KT titles in the new font) on Airliners.net dated 1978.

One 707 we have missed is "Spread Legs" (OK, Sierra Lima), G-AYSL, a 707-321 (old JT4A straight-pipe engines) which BA took from Dan-Air and which ran in 1978 in mainstream BA titles, then in the 1979 season transferred to Airtours at Gatwick. As well as non-standard engines for the fleet it had it's own non-standard livery derivation with a grey under-fuselage as well. I wonder what it did out of Heathrow initially.

Photos: Boeing 707-321 Aircraft Pictures | Airliners.net (http://www.airliners.net/photo/British-Airtours/Boeing-707-321/2056457/&sid=5012811501f8e6721ba6e0f1376715f0)

30th Jun 2012, 12:03
Interesting 707 related post #45 in the Papa India thread yesterday

Arriva driver
30th Jun 2012, 19:46
"Spread Legs" G-AYSL at Heathrow mainly operated to Tel Aviv to replace Tridents which were having spar troubles and also did a few there & backs to other places as well.
It was not deemed politic at that stage for BOAC/BA flight crews to operate BEA/BA flights so we had to masquerade as Dan Air crews. Cabin crew were wonderful BEA/BA volunteers and if I remember correctly "Mandys" (of Rice-Davis fame) was the place to go in Tel Aviv.

30th Jun 2012, 21:04
There were a lot of charters-in at this time, BA were notably short of aircraft, long-term, and the Trident problems just added to it. I can actually recall Britannia 737s at Heathrow operating BA subcharters in 1978, along with two MEA 747s which were leased for a couple of years.

However there was some crossover between the divisions, as two VC-10s were moved across to European work sufficiently permanently as to appear in the timetables, they operated to Athens, Larnaca, Lisbon and Amsterdam. I'm looking at the relevant timetable now !

1st Jul 2012, 15:12
The MEA 747s were dry leased for a number of years. I flew both of them, G-BLVE/F I think,, and they were good performers having PW JT9D-7Q engines. Whilst VE was used in an all pax configuration and could turn up anywhere, VF was in combi form and used mainly LHR-SVO-NRT and LHR-ORD.

Ron Cake
1st Jul 2012, 15:41
British Airtours were using a 707 on charter for RAF tropping flights to Hong Kong in the early 1980's. They positioned at BRZ to load the pax then routed via Bahrain. if there were adverse winds, Calcutta was used as and additional refuelling stop.