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Holiday Props

Old 18th Jun 2021, 11:49
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Holiday Props

What about all the propeller driven aircraft that did holiday flights in the 1960s/70s.
DC-3, DC-4/Argonaut, DC-6, DC-7, Ambassador, Constellation, Carvair, Herald, Viscount.
Anyone with others?
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Old 18th Jun 2021, 11:54
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Monarch Airlines and Britannia Airways Bristol Britannia's.
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Old 18th Jun 2021, 12:07
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LTU with Vickers Viking, Bristol 170, DC-4, Fokker F-27
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Old 18th Jun 2021, 12:45
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Kar-Air, Convair Metropolitans in 50's and 60's, from Finland and Sweden to mediterranean.
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Old 18th Jun 2021, 13:09
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Very sadly, just about all gone by the time I started taking an interest in 1974. Dredging the memory, Viscounts, Heralds, F-27s, HS-748s were doing pax stuff from Gatters (plus the odd Nord 262 and lots of French Beech 99s). Don't think I ever saw a passenger Britannia, CL-44 (unconfirmed sighting of a Loftleidir CL-44J overflying Purley) or Vanguard, possibly Balair's DC-6 was still pax - I only saw it landing from inside the terminal. Skyways and Intra DC-3s. IL-18s from Balkan, Tarom and maybe LOT.
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Old 18th Jun 2021, 14:46
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Glasgow used to see the occasional EAS Vanguard F-BTOV and BTYV on summer charters in the 70s and 80s.
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Old 18th Jun 2021, 14:56
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For those of a certain age........Jersey and Dinard holidays.....

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Old 18th Jun 2021, 15:17
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The BAF Carvairs plying their trade at Southend. Ugly as sin, but somehow appealing at the same time. I always liked the Douglas airliners and the Boeing KC-97, the clattering sounds of their engines whilst idling on the tarmac

BEA Viscounts and Vanguards for flights and later Dan Air HS748's not to mention the odd YS-11 flight.
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Old 18th Jun 2021, 15:18
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Dove, Heron & probably early Islanders(?) not forgetting the mighty Bristol Freighters & Carvair's - oh the noise of those when they took off over my Nan's house at Southend, only beaten by Concorde at Heathrow when I worked at Colnbrook & then Hatton Cross, pure joy!
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Old 18th Jun 2021, 15:21
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I was on board Globe Air flight GG5213 on 3/9/66, flown by a Dart Herald, cruising along above the Alps when I spotted an airfield almost vertically below. After some very tight descending turns we landed on it and it was Interlaken. Quite exciting. Strangely the return trip was from Basle. Judging by his approach I think the pilot may have been a part time Swiss Air Force pilot flying Venoms or Hunters at the weekend.
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Old 18th Jun 2021, 16:42
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Invicta with the Vanguard,
Sadly one out of Bristol crashed at Basel killing all on board.
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Old 18th Jun 2021, 17:25
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RAF Argosy from Khormaksar to Mombasa. Service families going to rest centre on the coast (Silver Sands) Happy days. I was only five at the time, but I clearly recall looking down at pyramids in Sudan. My earliest memory of flying. The one before that was a British Eagle Britannia out to Aden, but that might be stretching the term 'holiday' a bit, as much as I enjoyed the sunshine and the beach.
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Old 18th Jun 2021, 17:27
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I don’t know if they did holiday flights but British Air Ferries operated out of Southend with Viscounts. Their charming chief pilot interviewed me. I think she may have been Caroline Frost.
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Old 18th Jun 2021, 19:32
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Package Holidays by Air all started in the early 1950's with a few entrepreneurs such as Harry Chandler of the Travel Club Upminster, Vladimir Raitz who founded Horizon Holidays, Peter Bath of Bath Travel/Palmair, and Sir Henry Lunn, and Sydney Perez founder of Global Holidays. And of course, Cooks.
Early Tour Operators such as the above, also included Inghams, Erna Low, Gaytours, Skytours, Swans, and Wings (set up by the Ramblers Asscn)

Their flights would be flown using a variety of old and slow piston airliners namely the C-47/DC-3, C-54/DC-4, DC-6, Vickers Viking, HP Hermes, Constellation, and the Ambassador.
Airlines were many at the start - Eagle, Derby, Channel, Airnautic, Dan Air, BKS, Falcon, Air Safaris, Transair, Starways, Independant Air, Blue Air, Skyways, Britavia, Air Kruise, Euravia, Trans European, Cambrian, Autair, Lloyd, and others.
was to be formed by the merging of several of these.

Many of the package holiday pioneers were people who simply enjoyed travel themselves and fancied the idea of turning it into a business. They included a London taxi driver named Aubrey Morris, who set up Riviera Holidays, and three siblings whose Lord Brothers package holiday firm operated at first from their council house in Wimbledon, before rapid growth and relocation to Regent Street in the West End.
Clarksons would come along much later in the 1960's.

Cruises in the Med deemed too 'posh' for most were being organized from the 1950's by Swan Hellenic, sold as Fly/Cruises using some old Greek and Turkish liners that proved hugely popular due to choice of exotic and historic destinations starting at Athens, then calls at Nafplion, Delos, Istanbul, Ephesus, Crete, Haifa, Egypt, and Rhodes.

Larger piston aircraft types joined in, such as the DC-4, Argonaut, DC-6 and 7, and the Constellation.
Air Ferry was set up jointly to fly for Leroy and Lyons Tours from 1963 using some of these types along with Vikings. Invicta would arise from Air Ferry.
Caledonian Airways had also started up by now using large Douglas aircraft.
Derby AW became British Midland Airways in 1964.

Spain, by 1963 had started to see the booming UK package holiday market which first saw TASSA, then Spantax, Transeuropa, and TAE all obtain 4 engine Douglas props to fly these passengers. TASSA would fail first in 1965.
Aviaco also flew IT's using aircraft such as Constellations from it's parent Iberia, and obtained large Douglas props.

Italy's charter airline S.A.M.
owned by Alitalia, had a busy fleet of DC-6's flying IT's to the UK.

The Thomson Organisation, a Canada-based corporation with widespread media interests in the UK, decided to buy into the travel business in 1965, this was seen as a turning point. Big business saw the potential of package holidays, as Thomson acquired Riviera Holidays, Universal Sky Tours and Gaytours, names that all disappeared within a few years. It also acquired Universal Sky Tours’ own new charter airline, Britannia Airways, with a fleet of Bristol Britannia prop-jets (previously Skytours owned Euravia)
The Skytours brochure slogan for summer 1965 said ''Fly British''.

More big change came about in the 1960s, as new hotel construction developed rapidly in many Mediterranean countries but especially in Spain and her Islands, where the fascist dictator General Franco saw tourism as a way of enriching a ‘backward’ nation. Restrictions on taking currency abroad were eased, though not yet abolished, hence the hideous V-Form.
The booming economy and sense of fun and adventure that marked the 1960s had encouraged Tour Operators of many types, with Air/Coach Tours making use of better Continental roads and Tours by Rail both continuing to be very popular.

At the same time, larger and faster Prop-Jet aircraft were becoming available to Charter Airlines, bringing economies of scale and rapid growth, with faster non-stop flights reducing the journey time to the Spanish island of Mallorca to four, and then three hours – whereas the journey by rail and sea a few years earlier took nearly 48 hours, including an overnight ferry from Barcelona.
Now we saw Bristol Britannia's of many airlines fly package holidaymakers to the Sun and also to the Dutch, Swiss, Italian, Austrian, and German airports for the Air/Coach passengers.
Brits of BUA, BKS, British Eagle, Britannia, Laker, Caledonian, Transglobe, Lloyd, Donaldson, Tellair, plus the Globe Air and Air Spain fleets all flew many 1000's on their holidays. Monarch was to be the last major operator of the type.

The Viscount would be usually seen on many UK provincial airport departures to the Med, and for the Air/Coach passengers - OST, BSL and RTM were always popular.
BKS, Cambrian, BUA, British Eagle Channel, BMA, Invicta, Air Ferry, and Treffield.
Viscounts would fly from SEN, BOH, MSE, BRS, CWL, CDD, BHX, LBA, LPL etc.

BEA were incensed by the growing IT market and offered low YN Night Tourist fares on its scheduled holiday routes from London Airport, usually flying the large and popular Vanguard.
They worked these cheaper night flights around their own package holiday brand BEA Silver Wing, plus Cooks and Hickie Borman Holidays also used these YN fares, plus chartered BEA Vanguards too. The BEA Vanguards had a similar seating capacity as the Britannia 312, at around 135 seats.
Invicta purchased some Vanguards from Air Canada in 1971 for IT charter work.

From the outset, Package Holiday Props were to suffer serious accidents which were a sobering fact of life until the 1970's.

Many crashes occurred around the Mt.Canigou region of the French Pyrenees near PGP Perpignan Airport which was much used back then for Costa Brava holidays.
Passengers were then coached across the Border into Spain. There was a reason why this was so popular but I cannot now recall.
Airnautic Viking, Derby AW DC-3, Transair DC-3, and Air Ferry DC-4 were all to suffer major serious accidents here, or nearby.
In 1970 Dan Air was to lose a Comet 4 in mountains not that far away on a Clarksons Holidays MAN-BCN flight.
In June 1967 a BMA Argonaut crashed at Stockport on a flight from Palma on the following morning after the Air Ferry DC-4 had crashed on Mt. Canigou.

In 1959 an Austria Flugdienst DC-3 crashed in Mallorca on a flight to Vienna. After take off from Son Bonet Airport at Palma, the crew reported their altitude at 3,000 feet and obtained clearance to continue to 9,000 feet. About two minutes later, the airplane struck the slope of Alfabia Peak located 20 km north of the airfield. The aircraft was destroyed and all occupants were killed.
In 1960 an Air Safaris Viking flying from LGW approached Tarbes in poor visibility. At decision altitude the runway was not visible, so a go around was initiated. Immediately thereafter the runway became visible and the approach was continued. The Viking landed gear up and came to rest after 330yds. All 30 on board were uninjured.
In 1960 a Falcon Airways HP Hermes returned from a charter flight to Spain when it landed at Southend and overran the runway. The plane struck an earth bank adjacent to the airport boundary. The plane came to rest on an adjoining railway track. All 76 on board were unhurt.
In 1961 an Overseas Aviation Vickers Viking G-AJCE operated on a charter flight from Palma de Mallorca Airport to London-Gatwick Airport. An intermediate stop was planned at Lyon-Bron Airport. On take off from Lyon, the airplane suffered a simultaneous failure of both engines. Consequently the airplane crash-landed near the airport. All 40 on board were uninjured.

An Eagle Viking G-APHM crashed in 1961 on a school camping trip holiday charter near Stavanger, Norway. All 39 were killed.
The 36 passengers were a school class of boys aged 13 to 16 and two teachers from Lanfranc Secondary Modern School for Boys, Croydon, Surrey.

In 1961 a DC-4 of Lloyd International G-ARLF was on the ground at MŠlaga Airport and was destroyed by a fuel fire.
The flight was a charter flight from Tangiers to LGW with a stop at AGP.

In 1963 a Sterling Airways DC-6B departed Las Palmas to Copenhagen, Denmark via Barcelona, Spain.
The airplane took off after refuelling at Barcelona at 22:24 GMT.
On short final to Copenhagen, immediately before passing the first approach lights, the pilot-in-command ordered full flaps. The speed was then 110 - 130 knots and the height rather low, the aircraft banked violently to the right. The wingtip struck the ground 200 m beyond the threshold and 80 m right of the centreline. The outer portion of the wing disintegrated and the aircraft crashed. All on board survived.

In 1962 a Caledonian Airways DC-7C crashed at Douala.
The heavily-laden DC-7 G-ARUD was making a night take off from Douala runway 12 in conditions of high ambient temperature and humidity.
After a long take off from the 9350 feet long runway, it gained little height. Some 2300yds from the runway end, 500yds left of the extended centreline, the left wing struck trees 72 feet above aerodrome elevation. The DC-7, named "Star of Robbie Burns", crashed into a tidal swamp and exploded on impact. All 111 on board died.
The flight, a special holiday charter flight on behalf of Trans Africa Air Coach Holidays of London, had departed Luxembourg on March 1, 1962, arriving in LourenÁo Marques Mozambique on March 2.The flight left there on March 4, bound for Douala Cameroon to re fuel, Lisbon Portugal and Luxembourg.

In 1964 a Caledonian Airways DC-7C crashed at Istanbul.
A Douglas DC-7C G-ASID) operating Caledonian charter flight CA355 from London Gatwick via Istanbul YeşilkŲy to Singapore crash-landed in heavy rain just short of the threshold of YeşilkŲy's runway 24 when the aircraft's left main gear struck the ground in line with the runway.
This caused the aircraft to bounce and touch down again further on, which in turn resulted in the nose gear collapsing and engines 1 and 2 breaking off, followed by the separation of the entire port wing. The fuselage, which skidded 850 ft down the runway, caught fire.
Although the aircraft was completely destroyed, all 97 occupants miraculously survived.

British Eagle lost a Britannia near Innsbruck in 1964.
British Eagle International Airlines Flight EG802 crashed into the Glungezer mountain. The aircraft registered G-AOVO had taken off from London Airport destined for Innsbruck Kranebitten Airport in Austria. All 75 passengers and 8 crew died in the crash, most of whom were on a Ski Holiday.

In 1965 SAS/Scanair lost a DC-7C at Tenerife.
Departure airport: Tenerife-Los Rodeos TCI. Destination airports: CPH and ARN
Just after take off the DC-7 SE-CCC sank down on the runway. The aircraft caught fire but all on board survived. During the take off roll at Tenerife Los Rodeos Airport, the crew inadvertently raised the landing gear too early. Subsequently, the airplane sank on its belly and slid before coming to rest in flames. While all 91 occupants were evacuated (six of them were injured), the aircraft was totally destroyed by a post crash fire.

Britannia Airways lost a Britannia at Ljubljana in 1966.
Britannia Airways Flight BY105 was a Skytours charter flight from London Luton Airport to Ljubljana Brnik Airport.
Passengers were primarily British, most of them going on their first holiday abroad to Yugoslavia.
The flight was operated by a Britannia 102 aircraft, G-ANBB. The aircraft took off from Luton at 21:10 hours on August 31st, 1966, with 110 passengers and 7 crew on board.
After an uneventful flight, radar contact was lost at 00:47 hours local time on September 1st during the final approach to runway 31.
The aircraft struck trees in the woods by the village of Nasovče 2.8 km south east of the RWY threshold and 0.7 km north of the runway extended centreline, flying under Visual Meteorological Conditions. 98 of the 117 passengers and crew were killed in the accident.

Globe Air lost a Britannia near Nicosia in 1967. It was operating a charter flight bringing holidaymakers back from Bangkok to Basel with stopovers in Colombo, Bombay, and Cairo.
The crew diverted the flight to Nicosia due to bad weather at Cairo but the planned alternate was Beirut. The aircraft was on the third attempt to land on Runway 32 in a violent thunderstorm when it flew into a hill near the village of Lakatamia. 126 of the 130 on board were killed.

In 1969 TAE/Trabajos Aťreos y Enlaces lost a DC-7C at Las Palmas in a ground refuelling fire. Passengers had not yet boarded the aircraft bound for Germany.
Registration: EC-BEO

In 1971 BEA lost a Vanguard G-APEC in Belgium.
En route from London-Heathrow to Salzburg at an altitude of 19,000 feet, the rear pressure bulkhead ruptured. An explosive decompression of the fuselage occurred, causing serious interior damage and severe distortion of upper tail plane attachments. The tail surfaces subsequently detached, causing the airplane to enter a steep dive. The Vanguard spiralled down out of control and crashed in a field next to farm. All 63 on board were killed. Many passengers were going on a walking holiday of the Austrian Tyrol, including some BEA staff on non-rev tickets.

Invicta International Airlines Flight 435 Vanguard G-AXOP crashed in to a mountain during a snowy missed approach to Basel in 1973. 108 of the 145 on board were killed.
The passengers, mostly ladies of their local W.I's were all going on a day trip to Basel from Bristol.

In 1974 a DAT Delta Air Transport DC-6B OO-VGB crashed on take off at Southend Airport, but all 105 on board were evacuated OK.
The flight was a day trip charter flight from Antwerp.
At about 80 knots, shortly before V1, the Captain instructed the Flight Engineer to adjust the power on engines 1 and 2. The Flight Engineer made this adjustment with the captain calling V1 at 88 knots, and very shortly afterwards the Captain saw the red 'gear unsafe' warning lights illuminate. Unknown to the Captain or the First Officer the Flight Engineer had made an UP selection of the landing gear. He stated subsequently that he thought the captain had instructed him to do so shortly after calling V1. The pilots maintain that no such order was given by either of them.
The aircraft went on to its nose and its propellers struck the runway; the throttles were closed and the captain attempted to maintain directional control by use of rudder.
The aircraft came to rest 3 metres from the end of the runway with its nose on the ground and with the main landing gear still extended. As soon as the aircraft came to rest the Flight Engineer, having closed the mixture controls to idle cut off and pulled the 'ganged switches' bar, he left the aircraft through the right front exit door. On seeing exhaust fires in Nos. 2 and 3 engines he returned to the flight deck and carried out the appropriate engine fire drills. However No. 3 engine continued to burn, and he extinguished this fire with a portable CO2.
During this period, evacuation drills were initiated, and the passengers left the aircraft quickly, mostly through the front exit, but some by chute from the rear exit, and a few from an over wing emergency exit.

The arrival of the first Jet aircraft in UK charter fleets in 1965 and 1966 (BUA and British Eagle BAC 1-11) reduced the journey time to Palma to under two hours,which remains unchanged today.
Due to the serious accidents that had occurred many airlines sought to replace their older Prop aircraft with Prop-Jets or the new Jets.
Sadly CFIT accidents were to continue with holiday jets with Dan Air to suffer 2 such accidents in 1970 and 1980, with the loss of a Comet 4 near BCN and a 727 near TCI.
Sobelair, SATA, and Sterling Airways were all to lose a Caravelle near Tangier, Funchal, and Dubai.
Inex Adria were to lose a brand new DC-9 Super 80 near Ajaccio.

Forgot to say that the Ambassador and the Herald was used by Globe Air for IT's and that Autair also flew their HS748's on IT's with the Ambassadors.
There is a whole chapter to add on the early German, Swiss and Scandinavian props.

Last edited by rog747; 18th Jun 2021 at 19:46.
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Old 18th Jun 2021, 20:24
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Now in my mid 60s. When a small boy I can remember going on holiday in a Bristol Freighter (maybe Super, no idea), probably Silver City Airways, to France...with the family car. Probably Lydd or Southend to either Calais or Ostend. More than one trip. I pointed out to the Stewardess than the undercarriage was still down (as it would be) so one of the pilots came back to explain and then invited me cockpit visit. In Ostend every bar was playing "The House of the Rising Sun" (Eric Burdon & the Animals). I ate a whole half chicken. Good grief I must be getting old, sorry.

Also a trip to Alderney in a DH Heron or Dove. Can't remember from where we departed...Hurn??
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Old 18th Jun 2021, 20:57
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Pegasus with their Vikings was a regular at Renfrew operating for a Glasgow tour operator around 1959..
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Old 18th Jun 2021, 20:58
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No mention yet of one of the latest survivors in the prop holiday era - Janus Airways and its HP Herald at Lydd!
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Old 18th Jun 2021, 21:19
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Iím pretty certain that the Dash-7ís of both London City Airways/Eurocity Express and Brymon were used on flights to/from LCY to Jersey at weekends. They may even have operated from other small regionals in the U.K. mainland to the Channel Islands on weekend charters in the late 80ís/90ís?
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Old 18th Jun 2021, 22:10
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Originally Posted by draglift View Post
I don’t know if they did holiday flights but British Air Ferries operated out of Southend with Viscounts. Their charming chief pilot interviewed me. I think she may have been Caroline Frost.
I knew Caroline Frost as a Captain with BAF, so it must have been her.

After Mike Keegan acquired the BA Viscount fleet he hired them out for IT work from Southend. To reach Palma with all seats used required flight planning for Nice and diverting to Palma; Mike Keegan was expert at pushing the boundaries. Keeping the FOI onside was another skill he had.

On another subject, someone mentioned Brymon's Dash 7s. A niche Ski tour operator, InStyle Holidays, was started up in Exeter (around 1986?) to operate the Dash 7 direct from Exeter to Chambery, at that time much to short and small for larger aircraft. The sector was about 2.5 hours and priced quite high, but was a good alternative to going via Gatwick and Lyons with a long bus journey. The flights departed at 0900, and guests were invited to check in early and join a free Bucks Fizz party in the airport bar (cheap white sparkling and orange juice). By the time they boarded they were anaesthetised against the dreadful discomfort of a Dash 7 for 150 minutes, and slept soundly throughout. The business failed after 2-3 years when its owner ignored advice and tried to do the same thing from London City.
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Old 19th Jun 2021, 09:10
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Originally Posted by AnglianAV8R View Post
RAF Argosy from Khormaksar to Mombasa. Service families going to rest centre on the coast (Silver Sands) Happy days. I was only five at the time, but I clearly recall looking down at pyramids in Sudan. My earliest memory of flying. The one before that was a British Eagle Britannia out to Aden, but that might be stretching the term 'holiday' a bit, as much as I enjoyed the sunshine and the beach.
I used to fly the 105 Squadron Argosies from Aden to Mombasa and back. We were tasked with the job after a bomb blew up an Aden Airways Viscount at Khormaksar. It was a long 5 hours each way, but lunch at Mombasa was always welcome!

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