View Full Version : Northeast Airlines (UK)

12th Jan 2015, 12:35
As far as I can remember Northeast had a fleet of six Viscount 806s, some based at Newcastle, some at Leeds Bradford. I don't know if there were any of their Viscounts based elsewhere. Does anyone know how many were based at which airport and their destinations ? I think the LBA fleet did Heathrow, Belfast, Dublin, Amsterdam, Jersey and Klagenfurt.


12th Jan 2015, 12:45
There were indeed six. AOYH, YL, YO, YR, APEX and EY. I'd seen then all at LBA within a fortnight or so of starting collecting reggies in August 1974.

Don't know about earlier operations but by that time I'd think all six were used on all routes.

Some maintenance was done at Leeds but ISTR major overhauls were at Cardiff by then.

EDIT: Routes then were LHR, BFS, JER, GCI, DUB (pooled with EI) and AMS. Paris and Brussels had been tried but dropped following the Yom Kippur war and consequent 'fuel crisis'. The Channel Islands were summer only.

AMS was only three rotations a week and NE dropped it in early 75. Air Anglia stepped in immediately upping frequency to double daily at business sensible timings at first opportunity. There is then a continuous line over next 40 yrs via Air UK, KLM UK to the current City Hopper service.

12th Jan 2015, 16:15
I was based in LBA 66/67 and LHR 68-70 flying initially the HS748 and latterly the various marks of Viscount. Initially we had 3 748s and 4 V700s. We also leased some Skyways 748s for winter seasons as required. As the V806x were introduced the 748s disappeared and eventually the V700s too. Meanwhile the Ambassadors, which were based in LHR and NCL went also, barring the horse freighters.

When we eventually got down to just 6 V800s the network had shrunk a bit. No longer were there so frequent flights to the Channel Islands and weekend charters to places like OST had stopped. Originally we operated a much larger scheduled network from LHR to places like KFT, BIO, EAS and BIQ. Also there were IT operations such as GOA night flights and bulb field charters to RTM.

The distribution of aircraft – from long distant memory, were 1 in LHR to operate the first LBA flight, one in NCL for the BFS and DUB flights and the rest in LBA. Just what they did I don’t completely remember, Certainly there was an early LHR and a BFS. What is certain though was that the aircraft all rotated through all bases on a frequent basis. A day’s work for us might be LBA-LHR-LBA-LHR-NCL-LHR-LBA. Alternatively we might do the LBA-AMS-DUS-AMS-LBA which I think was also the first flight of the day for one aircraft. The 6th was probably a floater for maintenance which moved from SEN to CWL around ‘68.

Certainly by the time I left the tie-up with BEA was kicking in and we operated rotations through MAN e.g. LHR-MAN-BFS-MAN-LHR.

12th Jan 2015, 16:33
Thank you Airbanda and Flightwatch. Lots of interesting reading there. Those aeroplanes certainly got about. Did the Cambrian 806s ever pass through LBA for maintenance ?

12th Jan 2015, 16:49
The only time I saw a Cambrian V806 at LBA as a reggie collector was in 1975. A footy charter to/from Paris in connection with Leeds United's ill fated European Cup Final. There may have been others ad-hoc or on CI flights but not routinely or for maintenance.

Vague recollection of the odd one pre-spotting days, perhaps 69/70, but only noticed 'cos it was 'different' in a red variation of NE's livery.

The order changed in April 76 when BA merged Cambrian/Northeast with Channel and Scottish operations to form BA Regional. Some V802s were withdrawn then including at least one that was scrapped for spares at Leeds. Thereafter operation was a mix of 802 and 806 variants.

I've an idea the 806 variant was built with more powerful Dart engines for certain hot/high or otherwise operationally difficult BEA duties. They were changed to the same version as the 802 when the machines passed to Cambrian/NE, becoming the 806x as mentioned above. Might have been some other detail differences in internal layout too.

12th Jan 2015, 19:19
Thanks Airbanda. Cambrian - "the orange Northeast" as my brother used to say.

Odd to think they only offered three flights a week to Amsterdam. Little wonder Air Anglia got their hands on the route. From Viscounts to F27s to Embraers. Some of these aircraft can cope with LBA weather !

I don't remember seeing a Northeast Trident. I guess our short runway at LBA wasn't suitable so those aircraft stuck to Newcastle and Heathrow.

12th Jan 2015, 19:35
The Tridents were used on LHR/NCL and a few other routes including LHR Bilbao which for some reason stayed with NE rather then BA European Division. I think there were a couple of other European routes including Bordeaux and Klagenfurt.

One of the Tridents, AVYD, was written off in a take off accident at Bilbao in 1975.


The machines flow by BKS/NE were originally built for Channel Airways with an 'imaginative' cabin layout allowing 140 seats. On BK/NE operations they were limited to 110. SFAIK none visited Leeds. Though there is a story of one being shown at a SSAFA display at Church Fenton performing an approach and G/A at Yeadon en-route bak to its base at NCCL.

13th Jan 2015, 03:04
Smart looking livery:

13th Jan 2015, 03:33

13th Jan 2015, 07:38
Loved the bright yellow of Northeast, green Aer Lingus and red BIA. Made the LBA apron very colourful in the 70s.

Interesting that Paris and Dusseldorf didn't work out for Northeast. Even forty years later we still don't have daily flights to these destinations. Brussels is history too.

13th Jan 2015, 09:52
The machines flow by BKS/NE were originally built for Channel Airways with an 'imaginative' cabin layout allowing 140 seats.

Originally featuring the infamous 7-abreast seating in the forward cabin, probably the only narrow-body jet ever to have been configured thus.

13th Jan 2015, 11:14
Thanks for adding those evansb. I always appreciate your photographic contributions.

13th Jan 2015, 19:47
From Airbanda's post above:
Some V802s were withdrawn then including at least one that was scrapped for spares at Leeds. Thereafter operation was a mix of 802 and 806 variants.
I've a vivid memory of standing on my bike saddle and peeping over the fence to the apron outside the hanger that used to be to the left of the terminal at LBA, sometime in the early to mid 70's. There was a Viscount in BEA/red wing livery sitting on it's belly in the process of being scrapped. Twas before my spotting days so I didn't get a reg. :sad: Could have been G-AOHH or 'HK according to VVN.

I've an idea the 806 variant was built with more powerful Dart engines for certain hot/high or otherwise operationally difficult BEA duties. They were changed to the same version as the 802 when the machines passed to Cambrian/NE, becoming the 806x as mentioned above. Might have been some other detail differences in internal layout too. True - most 806's were re-engined down to 802 standards.
I think the catering layout internally was slightly different between the 802 & 806, and that led to the one external way of telling the difference - the position of the single window behind the forward door. Further back on the 802.

13th Jan 2015, 20:39
My CAM suggests AOHH was broken up at Leeds on 75/6. 76 was my O level year and exams finished mid June so I spent most of rest of month in the old spectators enclosure opposite stands2/3.

At some stage the scrappie called and we saw cockpit section of a Viscount go by towards the Harrogate Road on it's way to the smelter.

13th Jan 2015, 20:47
G-AOHK was also scrapped in 76 at LBA, with the forward fuselage being saved for use at a hotel in Jersey for some years.
Wish I could determine which of the two I saw on that occasion, but they were both wearing the same livery on scrapping. There was definitely only one there that I saw so the two must have been scrapped at different times in 75/76.

14th Jan 2015, 17:20
the BKS/NE trident 1e's seated 123 pax
6 abreast

they flew a big charter program at weekends for Swans Tours from London airport to the mediterranean balearic islands, spanish mainland, austria, italy and zurich.
all quite short haul - malaga and dubrovnik was the furthest

in the winter ski flights were operated to MUC ZRH TRN and MXP

they obtained both of channels tridents when they folded which had 139 seats with the forward cabin in a 7 abreast arrangement
i sat in this at a sunday open day at STN - was quite ok actually



14th Jan 2015, 17:24
The V806 was re-engined from the Dart Mk525 to the Dart Mk510 whilst still with BEA to use the more powerful engines for the Argosy, which sorely needed them! Apart from the very few Hot/High airfields in the BEA network the 525 didn't bestow much benefit. The 806s still had the bigger engine when BEA went as far as Doha.

14th Jan 2015, 17:47
It's pleasing to see there is still so much interest in Northeast. How nice it would be for British Airways to paint a few A320 family aircraft in Northeast, Cambrian and BEA liveries to act as a reminder of the short-haul heritage. I wanted this to happen when BA resumed LBA to LHR but it never did.

14th Jan 2015, 18:23
At least the Livery will live on as the Trident 1C at the museum in Sunderland is in the process of being painted in the in Northeast Colours

Have a look a www.savethetrident.co.uk (http://www.savethetrident.co.uk) to see the progress

14th Jan 2015, 18:34
Great bunch, Norjet. One evening, maybe Christmas Eve, one of the Tridents got a direct route from Aberdeen to Bovingdon and broke all the records. I can't recall but it might have been 40 minutes. They said they'd like to come up and thank us so I said that's fine, as long as they brought the hosties. They all came, along with a couple of cases of lager! Great fun.

14th Jan 2015, 19:23
An alternative perspective is that Northeast was a halfhearted rebranding of the plucky but ultimately unsuccessful BKS, when it was subsumed into the moribund state airline BEA which was itself merged into BA. It was very much a sideshow in a very poor performing more or less state monopoly. Service was reduced until a private sector alternative in the shape of British Midland appeared and what was left of Northeast mostly evaporated. The only positive was that in marked contrast to later takeovers the pilots were dealt with pretty fairly (a youngish viscount captain having seniority to bid left seat 747 was one example I remember).

14th Jan 2015, 20:20
I think that's a rather harsh assessment lederhosen.

Certainly so far as Leeds was concerned NS and later BA Regional carried on in seventies in much same vein as BKS in it's later days. The latter might have been more fleet of foot in fifties/sixties but by time Viscounts were on scene it was pretty set in its ways.

Withdrawal from Leeds came when Viscounts reached end of their useful without a suitable replacement. While the runway was a factor at Leeds BA also pulled out of (IIRC) Cambrian's Bristol and Cardiff territory at same time.

British Midland stepped in at that point on LHR (only) but they never competed with BA on the route and independents took over all the other ex BA LBA services.

BMA competition on LHR trunk routes to GLA/EDI came later as part of Thatcherite 'free market' reforms.

15th Jan 2015, 06:01
I prefaced my comments by saying an alternative view. But having used Northeast a fair amount and from a commercial viewpoint they were pretty typical of how things were in the early seventies. Your comment about the viscount reaching the end of their life does not quite tie in with Midland replacing BA more or less one for one with viscounts. The regions were very much the bastard stepchild for BA and in Leeds at least they seemed delighted to pull out as soon as possible.

15th Jan 2015, 12:40
Flightwatch #17 has it, apparently the story is that the huge increase in TBO on the Dart engine on the V802 in the late fifties left BEA with a big surplus of spare engines which they had fitted to their new Argosies. These proved underpowered hence were fitted with engines pulled from the 6 V806 Viscounts which became the V806X (fitted with Darts from the V802 spares pool). This all presumably a few years before BKS/BAS got the V806X.
As an aside our honeymoon was a Cambrian BAC-111 red-top 1 week IT to Marbella/Malaga (from Heathrow ,too) in Feb 1973 seem to remember it was £35 each :-)....also that year I think BEA launched some ultra-cheap fares to Paris, Amsterdam (and Brussels)...seem to remember £13 one-way with some travel/booking time restrictions...anyone remember it?

15th Jan 2015, 14:03
I remember it well from close involvement in the industry. However the internet translates 13 pounds in 1973 into 149 pounds in today's money. So a return flight to Paris seemed cheap at nearly 300 pounds. It shows what competition has done to prices and indeed efficiency in the airline world.

An airline with over 60 jet aircraft (Jet 2) having its head office at Leeds would have been inconceivable.

I vividly remember the powers that be looking for a part time chairman for (iirc) BOAC. A cartoonist paraphrased it as them needing someone for a couple of evenings a week, which shows how the government of the time viewed the importance of the job. That was to change when Lord King took over.

Its funny how time plays with memories. For instance the sun always seemed to be shining at Headingley when Boycott was batting. But Yeadon I always remember as gray and windy.