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Widebody Holiday Jets

Old 15th Jun 2021, 16:49
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This was an operation which changed almost every year. The principal two DC-10-10s BZJD/E were more recent deliveries 1979 to Laker than their others, I think they were from a cancelled order. After a couple of years, when Laker shut down the mainstream tour operators left unserved got together with British Caledonian, who also had the DC-10 on their AOC but were not doing holiday charters at the time, and a joint operation started, which seemed to change its name every year or two, initially just British Caledonian, then British Caledonian Charter. The livery then got changed from the normal B Cal one to the bold orange stripe, initially as Cal Air, then as Novair, one summer season only I think, then they got replaced by 737-400s. One of them was still flying until a few months ago for FedEx. 42 years use was a good run.
Might such practices have been fiscally motivated to weave their way through the high costs involved in operating large aircraft, or simply the way they were run ? It seems either brilliance or incompetence.
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Old 15th Jun 2021, 17:34
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Western Airlines did Honolulu from Gatwick in about 1982 with a stop in Anchorage using DC-10s.
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Old 15th Jun 2021, 20:29
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That mustn't have lasted very long dixi188, I loved the big red 'W' on the side of their aircraft, usually seen in various Californian/Nevadian airports. I'd have loved to have had a trip booked where you could make a stop in Alaska for a week or so looksee and then onto the Hawaiian islands all on the same ticket. I suppose back then ANC was 'the' hub for far-eastern transit due to range limitations and the stopovers financially enticing for passenger airlines.
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Old 15th Jun 2021, 21:50
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I’m sure Globespan, in Scotland, used some widebodies but I’m vague on the details - I’m sure someone remembers.
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Old 15th Jun 2021, 22:26
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Racking my memory from a UK perspective (But not limited to UK airlines)

A300
Air Scandic
Dan Air
European Airlines (Belgian ACMI operator in the 1990s that operated UK bases for a while)
Laker
Monarch
Orion Airways

A310
Air Club International
Air Transat
British Air Ferries (wet leased Bulgarian Jes Air aircraft)
Wardair

A330
Airtours
Air Transat
Canada 3000
JMC Airlines
Monarch
MyTravel
Prime
Skyservice
Thomas Cook
TransAer

747
Air Atlanta/Air Atlanta Europe
Air Club International
Air Europe (Operated by Tower Air)
Airtours (Operated by Air New Zealand)
British Airtours
Caledonian
CP Air
European Air Charter
Lion Air/Caribbean Airways (Operating for Airtours Holidays)
Orion Air (Operating for Airtours Holidays) The infamous Flying Pig
Travel City Direct (Actually operated by Air Atlanta, European or XL Airways)
Wardair

767
Air 2000
Airtours
AV8 Air (Not sure if this one ever got off the ground)
Britannia
First Choice Airways
flyGlobespan
Leisure International
Monarch
Thomas Cook
Thomson Airways/Thomsonfly
Virgin Atlantic (Operated by Martinair on the MAN-MCO route as they unexpectedly got permission to fly to JNB and needed the A340 for that)

DC-10
Cal Air
Caledonian
ChallengAir (on behalf of Britannia)
CP Air
Excalibur (Operated by SkyJet, never got their own before they failed)
JMC Airlines
Laker
Laker USA (UK-Florida operation in mid 1990s)
Monarch
Novair
World Airways

MD-11
Monarch (Operated by World Airways the year before A330s arrived)

TriStar
Air Atlanta
Air Ops/ECU Air
Air Scandic (Operated by Aer Turas)
Air Transat
American Trans Air
British Airtours
Caledonian
Classic Airways
Hawaiian Airways
International Airways (Operated by Air Atlanta)
Peach Air (Operated by Air Atlanta/Caledonian if I remember correctly)
Rich International
Worldways Canada

Thatís all I can remember for now without ďcheatingĒ and looking online!
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Old 15th Jun 2021, 22:29
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Another story. I can date it exactly, it was Sunday 31 October 1999. End of the schools half-term holiday, and thus end of the summer season. Among other things it was the very last day of operation of the Caledonian (and thus BA group overall) Tristar. We (as the Ms W of the era was a teacher, one of the downsides of which was although kidless you have to take the same holidays as The Brats) had gone to Portugal for a week, and were also returning from Faro to Gatwick that afternoon, on a Sabre 737-800. Departures at Faro was packed, kids everywhere. Out on the ramp, there is a Caledonian Tristar, alas AOG, with a couple of engineers around. On the board it had been a lunchtime departure; when we entered it was "await information", and when we departed, spot on time, still the same. Likewise when we got to Gatwick it was still on the board there as well, just up as "Delayed".

Next morning, back to work at the office. After lunch, in comes the Chairman, looking fatigued. "Boy, what an ending to our week in Portugal. Plane broke down at the airport, took them 12 hours to fix it, parts had to come over from Gatwick. Sat there in departures all along with the kids, it was terrible ...".

Thank God we never bumped into them !! I never said a word.

I often wondered if the handling agent had run down their Tristar consumables, as these were probably their last regular flights of the type. And did the certificate of the aircraft run out on 31 October ? It was well into the early hours of 1 November when they rolled in.
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Old 16th Jun 2021, 13:58
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I'm keeping this to just the first era of Wide Body's flying mainly to only the Med and the Canaries

All started in 1971,
with BOAC, Condor, KLM, SAS/Scanair and Sabena who all began using their 747's mainly at weekends to the main holiday Sun Spots.
Aer Lingus were to join them.
BOAC only did 2 summers LHR to Palma.
Condor's pair of 747's (Fritz and Max) were sold in 1979, and new DC-10's replaced them, also to be used on Condor's short haul IT's.

By 1973 Laker had their first DC-10's, and Court Line and LTU both had their new Tristars.
Laker's Skytrain approval would be some years away so the DC-10's were used on the IT's.
Court Line folded summer 1974. Their pair of 400 seaters sat and languished for a few years before CX picked them up.
LTU became a major short haul IT L1011 operator, with the -500 series joining in 1980.

Finnair and Martinair both were very early DC-10 30 operators and soon joined the holiday charter flight scene.
Balair and Condor followed with DC-10's in 1979.

A300
A310

TEA Belgium were an early A300B1 operator from 1974 and flew 2 A300 examples.
In 1975 Germanair ordered 2 new A300B4, Hapag Lloyd would take them over in 1979 and order some more new from Airbus.
Transavia flew the A300B2 in 1976.
Condor would operate the A300B4 from 1979 onwards.
Laker obtained in 1981 3 new A300's but the airline soon folded in early 1982.
SAS passed in 1983 to Scanair their A300B4 fleet, who in turn sold them all to Conair in 1987.
In 1985 Karair Finland obtained 2 new A300B4's (one was a new and painted order for Luxair but NTU 1984)
Luxair then went on to fly a single ex SQ A300B4 from 1985.
Condor, Hapag Lloyd, Martinair and Balair would all obtain new A310's from 1985 onwards.
In the late 1980's Dan Air and Orion both flew the A300 leased from Hapag Lloyd and LH, but the types use was fairly short-lived with both airlines.


BA from 1976 had a growing Tristar fleet which were often seen at PMI FAO ATH LCA LPA and Tenerife
Charter associate British Airtours KT, took over some L1011's from the parent Co. starting in 1982.
KT also flew a brand new 747-236 for summer 1984 only.
From 1986 KT then leased from BA G-BMGS a 747-283B.
Both KT's 747's were occasionally used to PMI TFS and FAO

When Laker folded, BCAL quickly set up with Rank, a dedicated BCAL Charter operation with 2 ex Laker DC-10 10's for summer 1982.

Britannia in 1984 took delivery of their first new new 767-200's with 273 seats.
Braathens also got a pair of new 762's at the same time, but these were soon seen as too big for them and were sold in 1986.


Around the late 1980's some old and rather dodgy 747-100's were leased to Airtours International and Air Europe from Lion Air (Cargolux), Orion Air USA, and Tower Air.
These were mainly used on the long haul charters but were also seen at Palma FAO and TFS etc.

The newer era -
Monarch ordered four new A300-600R's for delivery from 1990.
These would also see use on far flung flights to Goa, Male, Mombasa, MCO and more.
MON/OM had cancelled an order for new 767-300.

In Dec 1991 LTU took the first of 4 new MD-11, and in Dec 1994 LTU took their first of 7 new A330-300 - both types with over 400 seats, German people movers.
LTU Sud had already obtained new 767-300's.
Lauda got his 767-300's also in the late 1980's, and these would always be seen on Med charter flights.

In 1993 Leisure International got 2 new 767-300ER's but these were usually only seen flying to MCO and the Caribbean.

That's it for the pivotal years...


You could add in a whole chapter, book and verse of the later Charter and ACMI Tristar operators seen at PMI, LGW & MAN such as -
Air Ops, ECU Air, Air Atlanta, Blue Scandinavia, Time Air Sweden, Nordic East/European, Novair, Peach Air, Aer Turas/TBG, Classic AW, Air Scandic, Air Madeira, Euro Atlantic, Globe Jet/Privilege Jet airlines/Rollins Air, Air Luxor, Yes Air, Luz Air, plus little known Atlanta and International AW,
and of course Caledonian Airways 1988, and then under new ownership in 1995.



747 at Palma re-born for Summer 2021
Such is the huge demand by Germans for holidays abroad Lufthansa are deploying their 747-8's on Palma flights in July 2021 and also August every Saturday from FRA.
This will be the first time in over 40 years that regular holiday flights by German 747's will fly again to Palma.

Lufthansa will use the A350 from MUC to Palma on Saturdays.
Shame us Brits cannot hitch a 747 ride but we are banned from currently entering Germany.
They will join the wide body A330 of SunClass Airlines (was Thomas Cook Scandinavia, formerly Premiair > Scanair & Conair DK) call sign is still Viking,
plus Edelweiss A340's, Neos 787, and possibly TUI (though likely not TUI UK) 787 and 767.





Last edited by rog747; 16th Jun 2021 at 14:16.
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Old 16th Jun 2021, 14:45
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The 747 disaster at Tenerife in 1977 was between two non-scheduled holiday flights. The KLM aircraft was with a mainstream longhaul aircraft which was operating a tour operator series from Amsterdam to Las Palmas and return. The Pan Am aircraft was a more ad-hoc arrangement, also with one of their regular long-haul fleet, with cruise ship passengers from Los Angeles, routing mainly for operational requirements via JFK also to Las Palmas, from where a Mediterranean cruise ship was to start.
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Old 16th Jun 2021, 16:25
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CalAir

Originally Posted by browndhc2 View Post
How about British Caledonian Charter/Cal air International/Novair? I'm sure many of the more knowable contributors will be able to fill in the details such as time line and routes operated.
ZE, ZD and Al all DC10-10's flew both short and long haul routes, 380 bums on seats. The a/c ex Laker and AL was the 2nd DC10 off the line, still with some test equipment on it (AL became the Flying Eye Hospital for a number of years).
Islands and European destinations, Canada the U.S.A and also many sub charters (Air Inter flying between French cities springs to mind, at least the prunes in Armagnac on the meals trays do. I am not certain the pax ever saw any). The DC10's proving they could operate both short and long routes (the original intention of the design) well and profitably.
A really good set up until abandoned by the Rank Organisation.
Few could understand a weeks stopover in Banjul during the season these days!
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Old 16th Jun 2021, 21:24
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Originally Posted by WHBM View Post
Another story. I can date it exactly, it was Sunday 31 October 1999. End of the schools half-term holiday, and thus end of the summer season. Among other things it was the very last day of operation of the Caledonian (and thus BA group overall) Tristar. We (as the Ms W of the era was a teacher, one of the downsides of which was although kidless you have to take the same holidays as The Brats) had gone to Portugal for a week, and were also returning from Faro to Gatwick that afternoon, on a Sabre 737-800. Departures at Faro was packed, kids everywhere. Out on the ramp, there is a Caledonian Tristar, alas AOG, with a couple of engineers around. On the board it had been a lunchtime departure; when we entered it was "await information", and when we departed, spot on time, still the same. Likewise when we got to Gatwick it was still on the board there as well, just up as "Delayed".

Next morning, back to work at the office. After lunch, in comes the Chairman, looking fatigued. "Boy, what an ending to our week in Portugal. Plane broke down at the airport, took them 12 hours to fix it, parts had to come over from Gatwick. Sat there in departures all along with the kids, it was terrible ...".

Thank God we never bumped into them !! I never said a word.

I often wondered if the handling agent had run down their Tristar consumables, as these were probably their last regular flights of the type. And did the certificate of the aircraft run out on 31 October ? It was well into the early hours of 1 November when they rolled in.
Reminds me of something similar. In the 80's I was sponsored by the then worlds favourite airline and was working at LHR. Mum, Dad & Sister had a week away in Greece and rather than flying from Manchester they came down to leave me with the car and flew from LGW on a KT L1011. I was due to pick them up at 7 am on a Saturday and managed to oversleep. Cue frantic trip down without time to check the ETA (pre-Internet days) and legging it through arrivals. Looks at the arrivals board to see "Delayed" and out of the window to see their aircraft still sitting on the tarmac. Great I thinks, I'll go home and come back. Then I realised in my rush I departed without any wallet or cash to get out of the car park. Cue me then spending 10 hours on the spotters terrace getting very bored and very hungry. At least I haven't had the hell of Athens airport in Aug for similar I thought. When the family walked through they were all smiles though. Turns out the Tour Operator knew there was going to be a long delay so they'd put them up in a hotel and given them a tour of Athens in the day.......The KT customer services tried to tell me it was a very unusual occurrence but given I'd been working on those unreliable dogs I begged to differ. The TDR on the L1011 fleet was by far the worst of the group.
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Old 17th Jun 2021, 20:23
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Happy memories of great flights LGW-YVR-LGW on Caledonian DC10-30's in 1993. Invited to FD on the outbound leg, and spent 3 hours with a great crew. The Captain seemed to have a flight bag full of pictures of the aircraft we were flying in during a D-check that I think it had recently emerged from.

Flew quite a bit in the Cally L1011's in the 90's also - one was a full load of over 400 pax out of Luton to Larnaca on a hot/still Summer evening in the mid 90's.

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Old 18th Jun 2021, 17:05
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Rog747, I was told that the Monarch B767 order was not cancelled but the aircraft were placed with an operator in the far east.
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Old 18th Jun 2021, 17:34
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They both ended up with EVA Air, as 767-3T7 which was Monarch's Boeing code

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Old 18th Jun 2021, 20:38
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Originally Posted by willy wombat View Post
Iím sure Globespan, in Scotland, used some widebodies but Iím vague on the details - Iím sure someone remembers.
767's. My aunt and uncle used them to visit us in Cape Town, I'm guessing around 2008/9? I think they lasted just a couple of seasons
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Old 19th Jun 2021, 13:45
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Originally Posted by TCU View Post
767's. My aunt and uncle used them to visit us in Cape Town, I'm guessing around 2008/9? I think they lasted just a couple of seasons

Yes, FlyGlobespan just flew the 2006 and 2007 CPT summer seasons.

CPT was booming for holidaymakers coming from the UK, Holland, Ireland, and Germany in the late Nineties & Noughties escaping the Northern winter.

BA had 2 747's a day. B58/59 BA42/43
SAA had a daily 747 until 2012, SA221/SA223 once called the Springbok Service - Blue Diamond First Class, and Gold/Silver Class in Y. At Xmas & holiday peaks sometimes 2 daily 747.
Virgin often used a 747 on the route in the high/peak season. VS603/4
Lufty had 747's going down there during the peak 'summer' season from FRA before the A340-300 took over.
MUC direct was added with A340-600, SAA also did this route too with A340-600.
KLM flew 747's from AMS down to CPT before the 777 took over.
Swissair used their MD-11.

LTU and Condor had both long served the popular seasonal sunshine KaapStad route for German tourists.
Condor still do CPT from FRA. 767
Thomas Cook UK had a go with LGW to CPT 3 weekly in the recent seasons using the A330-200
Edelwiess fly from Zurich seasonal. A340
Air France still flies from CDG seasonal. 777


Civair based in Cape Town, in March 2004, an attempt was made at starting up an airline flying between Cape Town and London Stansted, a ‘low cost’ service with paid catering and IFE planning to serve the route three times a week with a Boeing 747-267B, G-CCMA ex G-VCAT, to become ZS-PJH for Civair NTU. I don't think the 747 got painted.
In December 2004, with about 7,400 passengers booked, it transpired that Civair did not have an aircraft available for the flights, nor did it have the funding to offer any alternatives.
No authority had yet been received from UK for landing rights either. Amidst the public relations disaster that followed, partial refunds were given to passengers who purchased tickets on their website, civair.com, their only ticket outlet.
None of the passengers were ever officially notified of the cancellations. Early in 2005, the company's director Andy Cluver, together with Kobus Nell, the organization's accountant, were called to account for Civair's actions by the CAA in South Africa.
I had friends booked on Civair - it was cheap, and the first flights saw some lucky booked pax re-protected and put on BA, SAA and Virgin.
A pal coming to visit me in CPT was really distraught and I managed to get him a BA hotline ticket instead, and on arrival off his BA43 we went to the Civair office around the corner, to demand his money back - lucky for him they issued a money draft which we cashed PDQ at the bank that same morning!

Another CPT fail was AV8 Air.
Established in 2003 as Man-Air, as a subsidiary of tour operator HCCT/CT2 LOCO flights and began operations with a low-cost long-haul flight Manchester to Cape Town using a Boeing 767-383ER aircraft with 28C and 254Y seats. AV8 operated the 767 on a damp lease basis from Icelandair until their own AOC was granted from the UK CAA. Their call sign was Pennine, but soon changed to Ringway.
CT2 Club Travel also sold direct DUB-CPT flights to the booming Irish holiday market.
Unfortunately, due to a lack of an ATOL bond, the AOC was revoked. The airline ceased trading after only one season.
Passengers who had booked 'direct' non-stop MAN-CPT flights only to find out once they got on board that they were in fact to fly via DUB, and then a fuel up stop at PMI !
There was another attempt by CT2 to start up with Air Scandic to operate the CPT flights with an ex MyTravel DC-10 30 that had just been retired, but this came to nothing.

LTU would later pick up the DUB-CPT flights.

FlyGlobespan's MAN-CPT attempt came along in 2006 to fly there 3 x weekly seasonal only.
The 767-300s were formerly operated by Air New Zealand and Flyglobespan opted not to remove the 24 business class seats with 50in pitch. There was also a 60-seat premium economy section with 34in pitch, in addition to 162 regular economy seats with 32in pitch. The food and on-board service offerings on GSM's long haul were excellent in all classes.
The route ended after the 2007 CPT summer season.


Some of the best flights I have ever had were all on 747's to/from LHR and CPT -

Virgin J in the nose - just me, no one else. Staff Travel on Boxing Day on the day flight back to LHR from CPT - was like my own private jet, gazing down at the Namibian sand dunes, then the wonders of the Sahara with 4 lovely Virgin girls looking after me!

BA J in the Upper Deck overnight down to CPT - After waking up to the smell of a wonderful full English, I really did not want to get off...

SAA in J overnight to CPT, wonderful huge armchair sleeper seats in J, soft plump pillows and white linens, with a dinner service to die for, like a classy London Hotel.
Could have been in First really.

BA back to LHR BA58 on staff travel - CPT check-in was jam packed that evening, with loads of hopeful non-revs, plus a delayed BA 42 from the morning also going out at the same time, but I knew the lovely BA ladies there (sadly all BA staff there now long gone) and she produced a boarding card in row 24 for a very nice Y bulkhead seat with no-one next to me.
Big wide comfy old style seats and endless leg room. A nice dinner then shut-eye....
Bliss!


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Old 19th Jun 2021, 18:27
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Pan Am operated a lot of charter flights with wide bodied jets. I saw four at Gatwick one Saturday in the early 80s although I think that one was scheduled (IAH route). Also Transamerica (747), American Transair (L15) and probably other US supplementals. I even saw a United 747 in the 80s on a charter from ORD at LGW.

I think that Nationair had a 747.
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Old 20th Jun 2021, 07:09
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Originally Posted by Peter47 View Post
Pan Am operated a lot of charter flights with wide bodied jets. I saw four at Gatwick one Saturday in the early 80s although I think that one was scheduled (IAH route). Also Transamerica (747), American Transair (L15) and probably other US supplementals. I even saw a United 747 in the 80s on a charter from ORD at LGW.

I think that Nationair had a 747.
Indeed -
We saw the first charter flight 747's and DC-10's at LGW and at other UK airports from 1973/74 with Jumbo's from Wardair, and CP Air, who both added DC-10 30's in 1979.
It would be many years before CP Air could gain a foothold in to the UK flying as scheduled routes.
They had only AMS as the nearest to LON on their European route network.

The Canadian charter market to/from UK was huge during the summer months.
These flights were all on Affinity Groups at first, and then ABC Charter bookings were permitted.

World AW 747C's also came in from 1973.
ONA and TIA both got DC-10's at the same time in 1973, along with Laker, who were still to have to wait some more years to be allowed to fly their Skytrain.
Laker would have to continue with flying Charter flights to the USA & Canada.
Transamerica Airlines (TIA) got their 3 747C's later around 1980/81.

BCAL did use their DC-10 30's on ABC charters to the USA & Canada for Jetsave, and Golden Lion.



ATA, Air Transat and Worldways came along much later with Tristars.

Nationair got 3 747 from Wardair, and obtained a few other elderly examples, such as one of Condor's -230B's, one of Swissair's -257B original order, and both of Sabena's -129's, but they did not last long. Following the DC-8 crash in July 1991 the airline was audited for serious safety issues and violations, and this was followed by a massive labour & union dispute citing safety issues as a major factor. Nationair was gone before Summer 1993 started, owing nearly $80m, with $60m in unpaid landing fees.





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Old 20th Jun 2021, 15:50
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You've jogged a few memories out of my brain naming all those airlines from the 70's, I could picture them just by reading the paragraphs you wrote.

Does anyone remember Continental Airlines at LGW in the 80's ? I've convinced myself that I did a round trip to Mexico City via Houston sometime in the latter part of that decade. It was on a DC-10-30 if that helps.
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Old 20th Jun 2021, 16:00
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I flew Continental 747 to Newark, came back from Houston. Was it one of theirs or a People Express example that had the excessively exciting departure from 26?
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Old 20th Jun 2021, 16:38
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Of course! That was the curvature of the earth takeoff where they cleared the trees on that hill by not a lot wasn't it ?
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