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British Airtours - UK based and routes

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British Airtours - UK based and routes

Old 12th Jun 2023, 16:32
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Originally Posted by rog747
AFAICR >>>
BA mainline bases at MAN BFS GLA EDI NCL and BHX all at one time or another did night time summer IT charters with their own aircraft - Tridents and BAC 1-11's then with 757 and 737 later on.
I think there were some flown from LGW too.
I did not know if there were some flown for KT, or if they always used BA flight numbers.

KT normally flew just from LGW and MAN, plus also from LTN and LBA flying in and out on W patterns.

BEA used to fly night charters too from London Airport and from other outstations, way back with Vanguards to BCN IBZ AGP PMI and VLC (before ALC got built)
I read also they may have gone to the old Menorca airport too.
Tridents also flew at night from LHR to Corfu, Rhodes and Heraklion, but I am not sure if these were YN ''night tourist'' fare Scheduled flights or if they were charters, or a mix of both.
I know Olympic Airways did these same routes plus Athens, also at night and these were charters.
I found it very strange at the time. It was definatly a KT flight number and I remember getting the details and thinking it would be a 737 so was gobsmacked when I looked in the Sched of services and found out it was a Trident. The company I had booked with was part of the Intasun group. As I said it was summer 84 so maybe they idea was to get more hours on the airframes before they retired the following year.

I had previously flown a 1-11 to Gerona on a BA charter but that was in 75

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Old 12th Jun 2023, 17:50
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BA did do charters with nightstopping aircraft from the various UK trunk route outstations, something that seemed to drop off when the Shuttle came along. They seemed organised commercially by Airtours, with their flight numbers, but aircraft and crew by mainline. When BA mainline had a small operation out of Gatwick the same integrated use of their aircraft seemed to apply. Yes, they were separate operations, but good friends, and the first port of call both ways for additional capacity.

The last bastion of Heathrow IT charter flights was by BA-group carrier Northeast, who aside from schedules to Newcastle and a few other places, did charter series with Trident 1Es from Heathrow for the Swans tour company, not just in marginal night/weekend time but all week. Slots not a problem then. They were often arranged in parallel with another Northeast Trident from Newcastle to the same point at the same times.

The company I had booked with was part of the Intasun group.
Intasun, Harry Goodman's company, were renowned in the days before they started Air Europe themselves (with ex Dan-Air executives who had fallen out with Fred Newman) for waiting until the last minute to arrange their holiday flights, which could be with whoever, at times possibly far removed from those in the brochure.
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Old 12th Jun 2023, 21:14
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The BA 757s did a lot of overnight charter work in the early days (flight numbers were generally in the BA85xx even then) and also a Manchester-Athens and Manchester-Malta "night tourist" service - and they also ran the Royal Mail Heathrow-Edinburgh for a few years before British Midland won the contract. The BA 737 at Newcastle also used to do overnight charters - main tour operators using the aircraft were Lancaster (which was part of ILG/Intasun) and the Enterprise/Redwing/Martin Rooks/Flairfares operations which were (I think, happy to stand corrected) part of BA at the time before they were later sold to Owners Abroad / First Choice some years later.

They're still operating a few charters nowadays - Heathrow-Lyon and Grenoble in the winter, and they've some ski charter flying at Gatwick together with a Sunday morning LGW-Preveza-LGW A320 operation this summer.
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Old 12th Jun 2023, 21:56
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Holiday (and other) charters were once more common for mainstream national carriers, and expected to be done in marginal night/weekend hours; European scheduled flights were then mainly focused around business travel, with reduced weekend work. I believe part of the justification for BEA's purchase of Vanguards in the late 1950s was that they could be used for overnight holiday flights. The independent carriers moving into this sector from their 1950s concentration on military charters came as a bit of a surprise.

The very first jet holiday flight was a nightstopping aircraft from Heathrow, not BEA but an Air France Caravelle, which in 1958 stopped overnight from Paris, and on Sundays did not restart until lunchtime, so Harry Chandler's Travel Club of Upminster chartered it for an early Sunday round trip to Ajaccio in Corsica.
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Old 16th Jun 2023, 10:14
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I was trying to track down 1984 schedules but only have 1985 onwards! BA charter operations in 1985 were of quite some scale using the LHR fleet from the regions. There were quite a few 1-11 charters ex BHX and MAN using the based aircraft as well. It's clearly a relic of a bygone era nowadays, but extraordinary to see the scale of it at the time.

BFS
Sat BA8422/8423 757 BFS-FAO-BFS Joe Walsh Tours @ 1605
Sat BA8416/8417 757 BFS-LPA-BFS Joe Walsh Tours @ 1855
Sun BA8424/8425 757 BFS-IBZ-BFS Intasun / Club 18-30 @ 0030
Sun BA8434/8435 757 BFS-AGP-BFS Joe Walsh Tours / Hamilton Holidays @ 0710
Sun BA8404/8405 757 BFS-CFU-BFS Joe Walsh Tours / Olympic @ 0835
Sun BA8406/8407 757 BFS-PMI-BFS Global @ 1550
Sun BA8440/8441 737-200 BFS-AGP-BFS Global @ 2350 - landed back 0700 Monday with aircraft on an 0800 Shuttle to LHR
Sun BA8400/8401 757 BFS-BCN-BFS Global @ 2350 - landed back 0605 Monday with aircraft on the 0730 BA4543 Shuttle
Sun BA8442/8443 1-11-500 BFS-MUC-BFS @ 1730 (tour op unlisted)
Mon BA8408/8409 757 BFS-PMI-BFS Intasun @ 2245
Tue BA8436/8437 757 BFS-CFU-BFS Sunmed @ 0210 - landed back 1050 with the aircraft on a 1230 Shuttle to LHR
Thu BA8426/8427 757 BFS-ATH-BFS Sunmed @ 2255 - landed back 0725 with the aircraft on an 0800 Shuttle to LHR
Fri BA8402/8403 757 BFS-IBZ-BFS Joe Walsh Tours @ 2130
Fri BA8428/8429 757 BFS-PMI-BFS Intasun/Club 18-30 @ 2330
Fri BA8418/8419 737-200 BFS-IBZ-BFS Hamilton Holidays & Global @ 2235

Edinburgh
Nil listed - Heathrow fleet overnighting was a 1 x 757 and 1 x TR3

Glasgow
Sat BA8472/8473 757 GLA-PMI-GLA Rank, Best, Grecian @ 0825
Sat BA8474/8475 757 GLA-ALC-GLA Blue Sky, Grecian @ 1640
Sat BA8458/8459 757 GLA-AGP-GLA Silverwing & Sunfare @ 2035 (Silverwing covered Enterprise, Martin Rooks & Flairfares)
Sat BA8460/8461 757 GLA-IBZ-GLA Intasun & Sunfare @ 2300
Sun BA8476/8477 757 GLA-VCE-GLA Cosmos & Blue Sky @ 0055
Fri BA8466/8467 757 GLA-BCN-GLA Intasun @ 2245
Heathrow fleet overnighting on weekdays was 1 x 757 and 1 x TR3

Manchester
Sat BA918/919 scheduled MAN-NCE-MAN 757
Sat BA8526/8527 757 MAN-RHO-MAN Intasun/Club 18-30 @ 2240
Sun BA8518/8519 757 MAN-IBZ-MAN Silverwing & Villa Seekers @ 1235
Sun BA8514/8515 757 MAN-TFS-MAN Intasun/Club 18-30 @ 2010
Sun BA886/887 757 MAN-LCA-MAN scheduled service @ 2035 - landed back 0745 Monday morning with the aircraft on an 0820 Shuttle to LHR!
Wed BA8508/8509 757 MAN-TFS-MAN Intasun/Club 18-30 @ 2045
Thu BA898/899 757 MAN-MLA-MAN scheduled service @ 2315
Fri BA884/885 757 MAN-LCA-MAN scheduled service @ 2050

Newcastle
Nightstop LHR was a 737-200
No charter activity listed




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Old 16th Jun 2023, 17:38
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Originally Posted by Flightrider
I was trying to track down 1984 schedules but only have 1985 onwards! BA charter operations in 1985 were of quite some scale using the LHR fleet from the regions. There were quite a few 1-11 charters ex BHX and MAN using the based aircraft as well. It's clearly a relic of a bygone era nowadays, but extraordinary to see the scale of it at the time.

BFS
Sat BA8422/8423 757 BFS-FAO-BFS Joe Walsh Tours @ 1605
Sat BA8416/8417 757 BFS-LPA-BFS Joe Walsh Tours @ 1855
Sun BA8424/8425 757 BFS-IBZ-BFS Intasun / Club 18-30 @ 0030
Sun BA8434/8435 757 BFS-AGP-BFS Joe Walsh Tours / Hamilton Holidays @ 0710
Sun BA8404/8405 757 BFS-CFU-BFS Joe Walsh Tours / Olympic @ 0835
Sun BA8406/8407 757 BFS-PMI-BFS Global @ 1550
Sun BA8440/8441 737-200 BFS-AGP-BFS Global @ 2350 - landed back 0700 Monday with aircraft on an 0800 Shuttle to LHR
Sun BA8400/8401 757 BFS-BCN-BFS Global @ 2350 - landed back 0605 Monday with aircraft on the 0730 BA4543 Shuttle
Sun BA8442/8443 1-11-500 BFS-MUC-BFS @ 1730 (tour op unlisted)
Mon BA8408/8409 757 BFS-PMI-BFS Intasun @ 2245
Tue BA8436/8437 757 BFS-CFU-BFS Sunmed @ 0210 - landed back 1050 with the aircraft on a 1230 Shuttle to LHR
Thu BA8426/8427 757 BFS-ATH-BFS Sunmed @ 2255 - landed back 0725 with the aircraft on an 0800 Shuttle to LHR
Fri BA8402/8403 757 BFS-IBZ-BFS Joe Walsh Tours @ 2130
Fri BA8428/8429 757 BFS-PMI-BFS Intasun/Club 18-30 @ 2330
Fri BA8418/8419 737-200 BFS-IBZ-BFS Hamilton Holidays & Global @ 2235

Edinburgh
Nil listed - Heathrow fleet overnighting was a 1 x 757 and 1 x TR3

Glasgow
Sat BA8472/8473 757 GLA-PMI-GLA Rank, Best, Grecian @ 0825
Sat BA8474/8475 757 GLA-ALC-GLA Blue Sky, Grecian @ 1640
Sat BA8458/8459 757 GLA-AGP-GLA Silverwing & Sunfare @ 2035 (Silverwing covered Enterprise, Martin Rooks & Flairfares)
Sat BA8460/8461 757 GLA-IBZ-GLA Intasun & Sunfare @ 2300
Sun BA8476/8477 757 GLA-VCE-GLA Cosmos & Blue Sky @ 0055
Fri BA8466/8467 757 GLA-BCN-GLA Intasun @ 2245
Heathrow fleet overnighting on weekdays was 1 x 757 and 1 x TR3

Manchester
Sat BA918/919 scheduled MAN-NCE-MAN 757
Sat BA8526/8527 757 MAN-RHO-MAN Intasun/Club 18-30 @ 2240
Sun BA8518/8519 757 MAN-IBZ-MAN Silverwing & Villa Seekers @ 1235
Sun BA8514/8515 757 MAN-TFS-MAN Intasun/Club 18-30 @ 2010
Sun BA886/887 757 MAN-LCA-MAN scheduled service @ 2035 - landed back 0745 Monday morning with the aircraft on an 0820 Shuttle to LHR!
Wed BA8508/8509 757 MAN-TFS-MAN Intasun/Club 18-30 @ 2045
Thu BA898/899 757 MAN-MLA-MAN scheduled service @ 2315
Fri BA884/885 757 MAN-LCA-MAN scheduled service @ 2050

Newcastle
Nightstop LHR was a 737-200
No charter activity listed
What a spiffing archive ! very cool

All those old Tour firms - long gone mostly, most were majors in the day - Best/Grecian Travel set up Ambassador Airways.

At Monarch we had an 01:40 LGW-CFU on an early Tues morning, this was the 4th (sneaky Monday) rotation of the day for the booked 757.

The BFS-MUC may have been for Inghams...

Another batch of BA charters was the 767's used for Cunard Med Fly Cruises were from LHR - these went in the summers to ATH VCE (or occasionally to Trieste for the ship) BCN IST and FCO
262Y IIRC. Pax loved it. Full service, and as much bags as you could carry (more or less lol)
Sometimes the luggage went straight to the ship and your cabin.
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Old 21st Jun 2023, 08:55
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Danny G , was part of crew [ JimB the other F/O lurks here ] who took ZZ on last wrecking flt to Brum for their Fire service , on 4/11/84.
Summer '84 was back on Tridents returning fro 2 yrs of cabin crew duties on 747s .
Logbook shows some one off charters , Deauville , LHR-Malaga-Lisbon-LHR ,. Plus regular night charters from the outstations ..
BHX-Alicante , MAN-Palma , MAN-Alicante , LHR-Malaga , GLA-Palma .
Summer '85 , 75s and 73s had taken over most night charters . My last T2 flt in April'85 . Only charter was a one off LHR -Marseille-LHR [ Formula 1 charter ] , not drivers ... engineers , techs and teams . Simulator had been withdrawn . So 6 monthly base checks were conducted on the a/c i.e. bunch of crew to Beauvais , very quick t/o , engine out , ILS eng out , G/A , eng out landing .

Rgds condor .


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Old 21st Jun 2023, 08:58
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Guys , came across some Airtours info on AI into LBA , write up and photos of the recovery ...links below ... First the fleet ...then 2 links to recovery .

The Fleet

G-BBAI at LBA

Issue 1

Hope they work and are of some interest .

rgds condor

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Old 21st Jun 2023, 09:09
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rog747 , Think those cruise ship charters had migrated to LGW using Caledonian Tristars , '96 or so...
Did an Athens one , mostly yanks . Climbing out empty on the way home Selcal pings from Speedbird LHR HF radio.
Answer and patch throught Cale Ops LGW.. to find that the front hold had not been unloaded ! Umpteen bags still there ... Luckily we'd been fully handled by BA at Athens , thus us or the F/E hadn't looked in holds on turnaround ... By back and forth found that our a/c was going to Rhodes as soon as we landed ..
Even more luck was that the cruise's 1st port of call was Rhodes .... Hopefully the bags got reunited with their owners in Rhodes !

rgds condor .
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Old 24th Jun 2023, 08:53
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Newcastle
Nightstop LHR was a 737-200
No charter activity listed



I think overnight charter flights started in 1986 with the night stopping 737. Gerona Friday night, Palma Saturday and Ibiza Sunday.

Also operated in 1987 and were planned for 1988 but only Palma on Saturday night operated (start of the recession and things were scaled back). Think it all ended by 1989.

given the delays encountered in the late 80’s always thought it was high risk that the 737 wouldn’t be back in time to operate the first LHR!!
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Old 7th May 2024, 16:57
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As mentioned upthread, my first passenger flight was onboard a BEA Airtours Comet 4 in May 1971 - still hunting for the tail number. But I did find a little clutch of ephemera from April 1971 on Ebay, and it may be of interest. The route map was part of the duty free brochure, the rest is the onboard information. Interesting to see the prohibition of radios and tape recorders!







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Old 7th May 2024, 20:00
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That's an interesting map of what the Airtours Comets were doing in 1971, especially some of the non-holiday destinations such as Prague or Madrid. My hunch is they could be the Student Charters which they had quite a number of, almost all midweek. I once found in the era an internal student travel trade guide that listed them all, with some notable oddball flights.
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