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

Laker Airways IT and charter

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

Laker Airways IT and charter

Old 19th Aug 2022, 11:27
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: London UK
Posts: 7,287
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Laker Airways IT and charter

We've had discussions about various onetime holiday airlines, but anything Laker seems to only discuss Skytrain. However they were much more than that, being a pioneer One-Eleven IT operator, plus 707s and, later DC-10s, used on Mediterranean flights, transatlantic ABCs before Skytrain, and such like. They bought up tour operators, and I think had a half-share in Gatwick Handling. Right at the beginning they had a couple of Bristol Britannia 100s, which seem to have been hardly used, and even bought the prototype VC-10, which I don't think was ever painted or operated under their own name, seemingly always leased out (but was it with Laker crews ?).

Any recollections ? Anyone ever get a flight on the A300 ?
WHBM is offline  
Old 19th Aug 2022, 11:58
  #2 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: UK
Posts: 2,601
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
rog747 is really your encyclopedia for this but in the interim I recall that Laker ITs were mainly flown for their associated tour operators Arrowsmith from MAN and possibly LPL, and Lord Bros from LGW.

The Britannias were before my time I am afraid.
ATNotts is online now  
Old 19th Aug 2022, 12:10
  #3 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Dorset UK
Age: 69
Posts: 1,576
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I was at BCAL when Laker went bust. It cost me a promotion to Inspector/Supervisor as the company took on quite a few well qualified ex Laker licensed engineers who filled the vacancies.
We (BCAL engineers) did care and maintenance on the grounded Laker fleet. The DC-10-30s and A300s went very quickly, but the DC10-10s and BAC1-11s hung around for about 6 months before becoming the new BCAL Charter fleet.
The A300s came back to BCAL to be re-furbished for Air Jamaica. I did a little work in the cabin of one.
The 2 Boeing 707s were flown to Lasham and scrapped.
Gatwick Handling was started by Dan-Air and Laker, 50/50 ownership.
dixi188 is offline  
Old 19th Aug 2022, 14:10
  #4 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Beyond the Blue Horizon
Age: 62
Posts: 1,033
Received 14 Likes on 6 Posts
WHBM
As a teenager I got an extended cockpit visit in a Dan Air 727 operating from Tenerife to Manchester. We had a Laker 1-11 in front of us out of Gran Canaria heading for Gatwick that night. I queried with the crew about using a 1-11 over that distance without a stop. They said it was very marginal but “typical Laker” or words to that effect, though Flight Eng was more base in his comments.

Cheers
Mr Mac
Mr Mac is offline  
Old 19th Aug 2022, 16:25
  #5 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: London UK
Posts: 7,287
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I believe the Laker One-Eleven services to the Canaries were indeed on the edge of performance, but they used a range of techniques to be inside the regulations, starting with only allowing an even less baggage allowance than the normal IT 15 kg. Did they do refiling of flight plan destination at the halfway point, as they passed Oporto ?

Laker had been a first user of the more capable One Eleven 300, which had more power and lifted more fuel, but broke the US weight limit for two-crew operation there, which the original 200 series aircraft had been sized to fit, The series 400 then had all these new features, but a lesser "paper" MTOW to suit the USA, commonly by not having full tanks, which the US operators did not need, and did not have the maximum passengers IT cabin layout. Their One-Eleven operations would have been the first nonstops to the Canaries by an aircraft without an FE - doubtless hence the comments !
WHBM is offline  
Old 19th Aug 2022, 16:29
  #6 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: LEEDS
Posts: 1,144
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I can't contribute much but a family member flew on a Laker DC10 from Luton to Turin in early 1980 on a school ski trip.
Mooncrest is offline  
Old 19th Aug 2022, 17:08
  #7 (permalink)  
Gnome de PPRuNe
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Too close to Croydon for comfort
Age: 58
Posts: 10,957
Received 5 Likes on 5 Posts
Apropos of not much, sometime around Easter or Summer 1973 I was at a place called Street Courte School near Godstone (between the M25 and the A25 and just east of the A22 - now a golf course) with a friend whose mother was the school secretary. It was school holidays, she was working and we had the run of the grounds (but not the Tuck Shop). I distinctly recall this vast aeroplane hurtling overhead very low indeed - even at the age of nine and before I took up spotting I knew it was the first DC-10 I had seen (I had a book or two, still have somewhere!) and it must have been one of Freddie's, perhaps doing crew training circuits. It was approximately on the downwind for 26 and turning south, probably less than 1500'.

(It was about a year later that collecting numbers became a hobby and I first visited Gatters: Laker, Dan-Air, BCal, BIA, Tradewinds, IAS... sigh.)

treadigraph is offline  
Old 19th Aug 2022, 19:45
  #8 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: UK
Posts: 1,894
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The comments about Laker 1-11 long range operations in posts #4 and #5 caught my attention. Back in the winter of 74/75 I was due to return on a Laker B707 to Cyprus, after a short spell of Christmas leave in the UK. At Gatwick we were told that our departure would be delayed as the aircraft had gone tech. Eventually we were split into two groups, and flown back to Akrotiri in two BAC 1-11s. Shortly after departure the Captain spoke on the PA, apologised for the delay, and explained that we may have to make a tech stop to refuel. In the event, we picked up a favourable tail wind and landed at Akrotiri without refuelling en route.

spekesoftly is online now  
Old 19th Aug 2022, 20:32
  #9 (permalink)  
TCU
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: On BA58/59
Posts: 289
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I seem to recall from a previous thread..."Holiday Jets" possibly?...that Laker developed some unique take-off (reduced thrust) and climb techniques for its 1-11's that gave them just enough margin to make the 1-11 viable on these long legs. I'm sure the learned rog747 and others will fill the gaps

I am rather jealous of Mooncrest's Laker DC-10 recollection. My school ski-trips were always on Dan Air or Monarch 1-11's, save one glorious year where our ride both ways was on Monarch 720's
TCU is offline  
Old 19th Aug 2022, 20:54
  #10 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: England
Posts: 733
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I remember in the early 70's during winter seeing a Laker 1-11 do non-stop Tenerife-Glasgow. Must have been a good tailwind day.
Musket90 is offline  
Old 19th Aug 2022, 21:25
  #11 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Germany
Posts: 976
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I spoke with some crew who remembered the technique on canary flights of filing Jersey with Gatwick as the alternate. This allowed a much lower contingency fuel with most flights then continuing on perfectly legally to Gatwick. I am told they did have to tech stop quite often in the channel Islands though.
lederhosen is offline  
Old 19th Aug 2022, 22:47
  #12 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: London UK
Posts: 7,287
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
A Laker DC-10-10 was my first DC-10 flight, 1974, Manchester to Toronto ABC. That must have been up near the performance limits for the type as well (first DC-10 ever seen, to take up Treadders point, was September 1971, American at San Francisco, just a few days, I later found out, after the type's inaugural flight, which was JFK-SFO).

Those Laker One-Eleven -300s must have been good performers, because when Laker went under they were sold to British Caledonian, who simultaneously sold their same sized -200 fleet.

I believe they had five of them, commonly based for summer three at Gatwick, one at Manchester, and one at Liverpool, operating for the two Laker tour operators mentioned above. The northern Arrowsmith company was actually headquartered in Liverpool. I seem to recall that some years they used a Laker aircraft at Liverpool, and other years a Cambrian One-Eleven on the same sort of routings.

The 707s were an early purchase, the first two were actually ex-British Eagle, when they shut down in 1968, doing transatlantic charters in summer and a few of the longer holiday flights. Am I correct that they used to do charters to Hong Kong in the off season ? They also got together with a Barbados operator, and did winter flights there from not only Gatwick but various continental Europe points.

I believe those first Laker DC-10-10s were a confident speculation by McDonnell Douglas salesmen that All Nippon would buy them, but they decided on the Tristar instead, and were offered as a quick delivery bargain. This introduced Laker to the Japanese Mitsui finance house, who later bankrolled the excessive DC-10-30 fleet which led to the end for the airline.
WHBM is offline  
Old 19th Aug 2022, 23:00
  #13 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: near an airplane
Posts: 2,367
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Originally Posted by WHBM View Post
... and even bought the prototype VC10, which I don't think was ever painted or operated under their own name, seemingly always leased out (but was it with Laker crews ?).
Sir Freddie had been interested in purchasing the prototype VC10 for a while. He bought it in 1967 and immediately leased it to MEA who were already operating the second Ghana Airways airframe. The prototype spent a year with MEA and once the lease ended (MEA had enough 707s by now) Laker sold the VC10 to BUA. I don't think any Laker crews ever flew it.
Jhieminga is offline  
Old 20th Aug 2022, 04:15
  #14 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: LEEDS
Posts: 1,144
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by TCU View Post
I seem to recall from a previous thread..."Holiday Jets" possibly?...that Laker developed some unique take-off (reduced thrust) and climb techniques for its 1-11's that gave them just enough margin to make the 1-11 viable on these long legs. I'm sure the learned rog747 and others will fill the gaps

I am rather jealous of Mooncrest's Laker DC-10 recollection. My school ski-trips were always on Dan Air or Monarch 1-11's, save one glorious year where our ride both ways was on Monarch 720's
This flight was less than a year after AA lost a DC-10 at Chicago. Apparently there were a lot of gasps and expletives when the Luton airport bus pulled up outside the Laker aircraft, having already passed a few Monarch aircraft.
Mooncrest is offline  
Old 20th Aug 2022, 05:59
  #15 (permalink)  
Gnome de PPRuNe
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Too close to Croydon for comfort
Age: 58
Posts: 10,957
Received 5 Likes on 5 Posts
Laker 1-11s were G-ATPK, G-AVBW, X and Y, G-AVYZ.
B707s, G-AVZZ and AWDG ex Eagle/Qantas 138s, G-BFBS and Z ex NW/Cathay 351s.
DC-10 10s, G-AZZC and D, BBSZ, BELO, GFAL and GSKY.
DC-10 30s, G-BGXE - I.
A300s G-BIMA - C, which I think were the only three delivered from 10 ordered.
Britannias G-ANBM/N

I recall one of one 707 always had International Caribbean titles, certainly when I first spent time atop the Gatwick spectators' balcony...

Currently wading through Part 1 of the Biography recommended on the other thread as my bedtime reading...
treadigraph is offline  
Old 20th Aug 2022, 08:01
  #16 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: stockport
Posts: 337
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I can remember a trip to Rhodes from Manchester with a call at Zagreb in both direction on a 1-11 in 1976, very enjoyable. Next trip was to be on DC10-30 Manchester to Miami and return which was to my last in 1982
chaps1954 is offline  
Old 20th Aug 2022, 12:51
  #17 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: UK
Age: 65
Posts: 462
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Laker 1-11s were G-ATPK, G-AVBW, X and Y, G-AVYZ plus a leased one from Bahamas Airways, G-AXMU summer 1969

4 B707s, G-AVZZ and WDG ex Eagle/Qantas -138Bs, these were passed to Laker in early 1969 by a deal via Kleinwort, Eagles administrators.
G-BFBS and Z ex NW/Cathay 351s. These were the unique SCD models for NW - very early build 320B's non-adv to replace the -138B's.

6 DC-10 10s, G-AZZC and D, BBSZ, BELO, GFAL and GSKY - several came from the cancelled ANA and Mitsui Japan order - as did THY's trio,
and one of Laker's G-BELO was an early prototype #2 destined for AA but NTU - built in 1970 but not to GK until 1977.
2 of the youngest DC10-10's went to BCAL Charter/ BCA Charter (+ G-BELO added to Calair/Novair) -- op'd to 380 pax from 345 with GK.

5 DC-10 30s, G-BGXE - I

3 A300s G-BIMA - C, which were only the three delivered from 10 ordered.


One 707-138B usually had the gold International Caribbean titles, G-AVZZ, as did the DC-10 G-BBSZ
Both the 707-351B's carried Caribbean Airways titles, one was named "Bridgetown".
The airline had been renamed Caribbean Airways.
A long standing venture with Laker and locals from 1970 - ICA was the national airline of Barbados.

All of the fleet were used on IT holiday charters -
The short haul places saw all of the types being used flying mainly from LGW and MAN, including the ICA painted aircraft.
DC-10 30's would go to Reus and to Ibiza for instance.

Laker had bought Lord Bros Holidays and later on bought Arrowsmith Holidays (flying from MAN and LPL)
Both firms later became Laker Holidays. Wings Tours was a big charterer of Laker too.
Laker did a huge amount of cruise ship flights and School Trips, including the school educational cruises.
I think Laker picked up Channel Airways Berlin based IT charters.

The longest IT's back then were LPA and TCI, Istanbul, Izmir, Heraklion, Nicosia and Rhodes

Never had an accident, nor even a serious incident AFAIK....EDIT see below lol
The DC-10 bulk hold cargo door modifications had already been embodied in the Laker Airways aircraft prior to delivery, and before the THY Paris crash.

I think the 1-11 range enhancements and fuel management ideas pioneered I gather, by Laker has been covered above already (Thanks)
Passengers were restricted to 15kgs /33lbs for luggage on many IT flights.

As a young spotter in the late 60's and early 70's the Laker Hangar was a ''must visit'' as the very nice guys there usually let you wander and/or be shown around the planes.
(so did BUA and Donaldson Hangar guys too)

GK Holiday flights were operated principally on behalf of Lords, Arrowsmith (from Manchester), Blue Sky (a division of Laker's competitor - British Caledonian) and small-to-medium sized operators, such as Club 18-30 in its early days.
Later on, Laker Holidays also sold seats on their charter flights direct to the public. To comply with the new regulations for flight only bookings were accepted on the understanding that Laker provided the accommodation.
A nominal £1 fee was charged for arranging the accommodation. It was supposedly available, but I do not think anyone actually expected any accommodation to be provided.

In-flight meals or snacks were served on all package holiday flights. The "meals" were often cold and normally consisted of Ham and mini salad, or similar, dessert and tea/coffee, served on disposable trays. Hot meals were provided on longer flights or if the Tour Op paid for them.
Breakfast was rolls, butter, preserves and fruit cup.
The snack served on a Laker night flight from LGW to Palma was two bridge rolls - one ham and one cheese - and a small Kit Kat.
Drinks were always served and charged for.
Big Duty Free Sales of course.

There was no IFE on any Laker IT flights.
Neither the BAC 111s nor B707s had the equipment.
DC10s did have the IFE but on the package tour flights this was perhaps used for the safety demonstrations, although they did sometimes put on a film.
Interestingly, Laker got high utilisation of their aircraft. The DC10s would fly their Skytrain service to JFK and back and then do quick hop over to Palma or similar before repeating the JFK service.

I flew on the very last DC-10 30 in to LAX from LGW in FEB 1982 - Turned on the Hotel room TV the next morning and GK had just gone bust.
rog747 is offline  
Old 20th Aug 2022, 12:53
  #18 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Northern skyport
Posts: 109
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Laker 1-11's operating between TFN and MAN often had to make a last minute call at CWL for fuel if the winds were unfavourable.

My overriding memory of Laker was when I was one of the 389 passengers who exited from a DC-10 via the chutes on a runway at Lax after an emergency return on a LAX to LGW flight. The view from my window seat of the fuel being jettisoned from the wing tips to bring us down to something approaching landing weight was very impressive.

I was especially keen to see the In Flight Director exit the aircraft along with the rest of the crew as she was (is) my wife!
bar none is offline  
Old 20th Aug 2022, 13:08
  #19 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: se england
Posts: 1,421
Likes: 0
Received 2 Likes on 1 Post
IWife and I flew on a package holiday to Athens with Laker- not sure why as both had BA staff travel options me dependent her employee. Going out was fine although I though LGW-Athens a bit of a stretch for a 1-11 . Coming back a different story , we ahd already had to have an overnight stop due toa starter shaft breaking the previous day ( very audible in the cabin) . . I no longer recall how high we were flying but the captain commented that we were climbing higher than initial crise. Part of the charter was Saga so lots of pensioners and just after the second climb a substantial number of older pax suffered breathing difficulties and the cabin crew were running around with portable O2 bottles. All seemed very odd to me being almost entirely BA or Euro flag carriers experience and it was only in recent years I read on hear about 'inventive range extensions' on Laker. I know they had a bit of a reputation for sailing close to the wind but I would have to say they sorted out our unplanned extra night very quickly and efficiently at an airport hotel but in hundreds of thousands of miles since then I have never again come across multiple pax starting to pass out or gasping desperately like that trip. Our next door neighbour had the misfortune of being with both Eagle and Laker when they went broke , but ended up with Dan Dare for remainder of his career.

PB
pax britanica is offline  
Old 20th Aug 2022, 13:38
  #20 (permalink)  
Gnome de PPRuNe
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Too close to Croydon for comfort
Age: 58
Posts: 10,957
Received 5 Likes on 5 Posts
Originally Posted by rog747 View Post
Never had an accident, nor even a serious incident AFAIK....EDIT see below lol
I remember seeing somebody's 1-11 being steered off the right hand side of 08 onto the grass at Gatwick after landing with no flaps/brakes, maybe 1978 or 79. Memory thinks not BCal or Dan-Air so possibly Laker or even BIA? I can clearly see it on the grass with attendant fire appliances approximately by the 26 numbers but can't see the scheme or remember whether the pax evacuated via the slides or deplaned more normally using the airstairs! Runway (well before 08L/26R) was closed of course for an hour or so until it was towed away.
treadigraph is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

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

Copyright © 2023 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.