Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Misc. Forums > Aviation History and Nostalgia
Reload this Page >

Britannia Airways and the Boeing 707

Aviation History and Nostalgia Whether working in aviation, retired, wannabee or just plain fascinated this forum welcomes all with a love of flight.

Britannia Airways and the Boeing 707

Old 9th Feb 2022, 20:57
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: LEEDS
Posts: 1,084
Britannia Airways and the Boeing 707

Does anybody know what prompted Britannia to take on a couple of these aeroplanes ? I believe it was 1971 and they were dry-leased from either World Airways or British Caledonian. Whatever the reason, they didn't stop that long and both were in the hands of BCAL by 1973. Was the plan to boost capacity on the busier Mediterranean routes or to get a piece of the ABC transatlantic market alongside BMA, Donaldson et al ? Britannia could have bought a brand new pair of 707s built to their -04 specification but they opted for the used/lease direction, perhaps suggesting an evaluation of the aircraft before committing to new, which never happened.

Thankyou.
Mooncrest is offline  
Old 10th Feb 2022, 13:05
  #2 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Milton Keynes
Posts: 1,004
They were obtained to get Britannia in the affinity group charters which later became advance booking charters. These allowed members of a club to travel together on charter flights, but the rules surrounding them were widely flaunted. In 1973 the rules required operators of these flights to set up a U.S office and Britannia decided it was not worth their while and disposed of the aircraft. They did do other things - freight charters, racehorses as well as IT flights to the Canaries etc. I remember one going to Kuala Lumper once.
22/04 is offline  
Old 10th Feb 2022, 14:01
  #3 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Switzerland
Posts: 602
It enabled me to get from Luton via Keflavik to Oakland on a student charter in 1972 on G-AYSI.

Laurence
l.garey is offline  
Old 10th Feb 2022, 17:16
  #4 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: London UK
Posts: 7,073
I think it was just a shortage of jets. They were used on conventional IT routes through the summer, one certainly full time at Manchester. The early 737-200 didn't have a huge range, Manchester to The Canaries was sometimes marginal for one, plus they had considerable extra capacity on major hauls like Palma. They did find other long haul work in the off season, more than the 737s were able to.
WHBM is offline  
Old 10th Feb 2022, 19:53
  #5 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: LEEDS
Posts: 1,084
Thankyou all. I wonder, had the 707 concept had worked for Britannia, if the company would have purchased some new aircraft, as I alluded to upthread ? They were already in the business of buying factory fresh 737s so extending the idea to 707s would have seemed logical. On the other hand, the early 70s was a time when the 320B and 320C 707s were appearing on the used market as their owners upgraded to widebody jets, perhaps making these airframes a more attractive option.
Mooncrest is offline  
Old 10th Feb 2022, 21:30
  #6 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: London UK
Posts: 7,073
Monarch of course went for the same, introducing a fleet of onetime Northwest 720Bs from the end of 1971. The 720B is essentially the same as a 707, with a series of structural lightenings etc to suit more medium-haul operations. They ran, mainly from across the ramp from Britannia at Luton, to the same range of Mediterranean etc holiday destinations and the scatter of off-season points further afield.

I wonder, had the 707 concept had worked for Britannia, if the company would have purchased some new aircraft
707 production was on its last legs by the time this trial ended, the world had moved on; Laker was getting the DC-10 and Court the Tristar by then. Both were really too big for the holiday flight market which, especially for Britannia witrh their approach of services from every significant UK airport, needed something smaller and more flexible, but with the range to reach the "4 hour" destinations like The Canaries or Cyprus. When the 757 came along 10 years later, that was spot on.

Last edited by WHBM; 11th Feb 2022 at 08:54.
WHBM is offline  
Old 11th Feb 2022, 10:11
  #7 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: LEEDS
Posts: 1,084
The main difference between Monarch and Britannia in this regard is that this was Monarch's first foray into jet operations whereas Britannia had already racked up three years 'experience with new aircraft. With the benefit of hindsight (i.e. knowing the ABC's days were numbered), Britannia may have been better off with new Advanced 727-200s, in order to reach the distant spots that the 737s couldn't quite manage. Of course, we shall never know.
Mooncrest is offline  
Old 11th Feb 2022, 15:08
  #8 (permalink)  
BSD
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Deepest Essex.
Posts: 400
In the mid-70s Britannia, I believe came reasonably close to buying/leasing 2 DC-8 60 series. They even went so far as to nominate key personnel (fleet captain etc.)
Binning the idea eventually lead to the project that saw the 767 being ordered.
BSD is offline  
Old 11th Feb 2022, 15:55
  #9 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: LEEDS
Posts: 1,084
Originally Posted by BSD View Post
In the mid-70s Britannia, I believe came reasonably close to buying/leasing 2 DC-8 60 series. They even went so far as to nominate key personnel (fleet captain etc.)
Binning the idea eventually lead to the project that saw the 767 being ordered.
I never knew that. The only non-Boeing jet I remember Britannia getting involved with was the Transaer A320 for a couple of summer seasons in the late 1990s.
Mooncrest is offline  
Old 11th Feb 2022, 20:43
  #10 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Brighton
Posts: 888
BAL had a wet-leased DC-8 for at least a couple of Summers in the 80s. My recollection is that it was Spanish registered and worked mainly to the Canaries. It also ran, mostly, many hours late, and provided very poor customer service. for example, the time they offloaded the pax, then did some hours of base training for new crews - with the baggage still on board. Oh dear.
kenparry is offline  
Old 12th Feb 2022, 10:21
  #11 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: LEEDS
Posts: 1,084
A shabby DC8 can't have done Britannia's reputation much good. Perhaps they should have kept the 707s after all.
Mooncrest is offline  
Old 12th Feb 2022, 15:05
  #12 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Under the flight path
Posts: 2,486
I seem to remember seeing the BY 707s used on charters to Georgetown, Guyana, to New York and to Australia, the latter for Austravel. Some of these operated from Luton, other ops were from Gatwick and Manchester.
LGS6753 is online now  
Old 12th Feb 2022, 15:49
  #13 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Brighton
Posts: 888
AFAIK the Oz/NZ routes only started around 1990, using the B767; yes, for Austravel. If the 707s did go that way, I suspect it was only infrequently and for a different charterer.
kenparry is offline  
Old 12th Feb 2022, 17:40
  #14 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: London UK
Posts: 7,073
Originally Posted by usedtobeATC View Post
I took this picture in mid 70s, in uuee for RW 07
That photo at Moscow Sheremetyevo is presumably one of the two BA 707-336Bs, actually bought new after the 747 came on line, for the London-Moscow-Tokyo direct route "Russiaway to Japan".
WHBM is offline  
Old 21st Feb 2022, 09:06
  #15 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: UK
Age: 65
Posts: 348
Mooncrest asks that the idea of BY was buying factory fresh 737s so extending the idea to order new 707-304Cs would have seemed logical - but the 707C order heyday in 1971, as WHBM says was almost over - BOAC had just taken its last new 707C, G-AYLT to replace the SVC-10 lost at Dawson's.
Although BCAL formed in 1971 had agreed that their front line long haul aircraft was to be the 707C over the VC-10.

The early 70s was a time when the 720B, 320, 420, and even the better 320B and 320C 707s were appearing on the used market, offloaded as their owners upgraded to wide body jets.

Laker already had, in 1969, a pair of 707-138B's flying for Lord Bros and Group charters.
Caledonian AW had by 1969, a fleet of 7 new or almost new 707C's - Global, Tartan Arrow, Whitehall, Pontinental, and Horizon Holidays were big charterers of Caledonian 707's.
In 1970/71 Dan Air, Lloyd International, and BMA all obtained a pair of old ex Pan Am -321's for IT's and Affinity Group (to become ABC) charters. (Donaldson would also obtain 4 -321's).
All of the above were to be seen in Tenerife, Alicante, Ibiza, or Palma and they of course, also flew to the Far East/USA/Canada as was the norm.

BEA Airtours from 1971 for Enterprise, Flair, Thomas Cook and Martin Rooks Holidays, took on eventually 9 or so ex BOAC 707-420's, but KT had wanted ex AA 707-123B's but HM Govt and/or the BofT said no.
By 1971 Monarch had bought their first 3 720B's for Cosmos, which they used afar as St Lucia (for Pegasus Holidays) via the Azores iirc. They would also add 707-123B's to enable longer range.
Channel AW was looking at Continental 707's.

As mentioned, the 2 BRITANNIA 707's were used on IT's to the Med and the Canaries but they also flew for Thomson Holidays to MBJ Montego Bay, as well as on the Affinity Group T/A flights. Not sure what the KUL operation was - It may have been the jet-ship charter operation for LON to Australia for The FETC. Sabre Air took that on from LGW to SIN.
Both 707 though would soon end up at BCAL.

I was aware that Court Line looked at the DC-8 63 but I never heard that Britannia had.
Lloyd International had an order for 3 brand new DC-8 63PF's
rog747 is offline  
Old 21st Feb 2022, 18:05
  #16 (permalink)  
BSD
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Deepest Essex.
Posts: 400
Rog747,

I joined Britanna in 1979 and recall flying with a captain who had been involved in the stretched DC-8 project. He would have beeb the fleet captain if it had gone ahead.

Just how much momentum or traction the project gathered, what the aeroplanes would have been used for or when they would have been bought/leased I can't tell you.

Mind you, during the 70s (when this would have been happening) Britannia engineering looked after the IAS DC-8s, which came to Luton for their hangar visits.
BSD is offline  
Old 21st Feb 2022, 19:02
  #17 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: London UK
Posts: 7,073
Originally Posted by rog747 View Post
Caledonian AW had by 1969, a fleet of 7 new or almost new 707C's - Global, Tartan Arrow, Whitehall, Pontinental, and Horizon Holidays were big charterers of Caledonian 707's.
You are correct about the Caledonian (and others) 707 fleet, and about Caledonian's Mediterranean IT charterers, but the latter were almost wholly on their One-Eleven 500s, which broadly (it varied by year) was one in Glasgow, one in Manchester, and the rest in Gatwick, flights often being shared between multiple holiday companies. The 707s, certainly in summer, were principally used on transatlantic charters, for which Caledonian were notably the market leaders, picking up business from both Britain and North America. There were likely a few 707 rotations to Tenerife etc, which were beyond normal One-Eleven range, but not a lot, and not a dedicated aircraft.

The Glasgow Caledonian One-Eleven sometimes operated out of Prestwick rather than Abbotsinch, for a reason I have never been able to put my finger on.
WHBM is offline  
Old 21st Feb 2022, 19:49
  #18 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: LEEDS
Posts: 1,084
Interesting how the 707 cornered the UK market for long-haul capable narrowbody passenger jets but, for pure freight, the DC8 was the winner. Horses for courses.
Mooncrest is offline  
Old 21st Feb 2022, 19:52
  #19 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Posts: 355
Originally Posted by WHBM View Post
The Glasgow Caledonian One-Eleven sometimes operated out of Prestwick rather than Abbotsinch, for a reason I have never been able to put my finger on.
Runway length, perhaps? The 1-11-500 at high weights was not a stellar performer...
Liffy 1M is offline  
Old 21st Feb 2022, 19:57
  #20 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: North UK
Posts: 277
Originally Posted by WHBM View Post
The Glasgow Caledonian One-Eleven sometimes operated out of Prestwick rather than Abbotsinch, for a reason I have never been able to put my finger on.
Runway length at gross weight perhaps?
DH106 is online now  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.