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British and European charter airlines from days past...

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British and European charter airlines from days past...

Old 10th May 2024, 09:17
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Really nice 'nostalgic' element with the thread drifting, a bit about charters. Colourful era. New thread could be started "Who was your fave & least fave charterer ?".

In AE, I enjoyed the company of "Owners Abroad". Specially out of LGW. Title says it all but smashing bunch. Least was "18-30 Club" outa Manch to Ibiza. Animals ! Bort, great larf.

Chartering decreased as more airlines went 'in-house'. Britannia was possibly the most loyal to it's owners. Buy a holiday with Thompson & you would almost certainly fly with Brit. Most holiday makers didn;t actually care which airline they would be travelling with.

Golden era though......darn Mooncrest; got me blubbing again.....................
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Old 10th May 2024, 10:00
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Britannia actually had quite a lot of 1970s-80s work on military charters to Germany, some of which went into RAF bases rather than civil airports. They also seemed, late 1970s, to even pick up winter subcharter work from British Airways at Heathrow, at times when the Trident fleet had run into their latest problem. Seemed strange to see them on stand at Terminal One.

Monarch meanwhile had a niche for longer haul military work. Their Britannia fleet in the 1970s (Monarch were rather late into all-jet) apparently were quite regular on such work from Brize Norton all the way to Australia. Must make for interesting crewing on intermittent work like this.

Least was "18-30 Club" outa Manch to Ibiza
I did read a cabin crew report that, although not initially rostered as such, disorganisation led to them doing three Night Ibizas, back-to-back on three consecutive nights. Someone then queried whether this constituted the legal definition of "Cruel and Unusual Punishment" .
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Old 10th May 2024, 22:14
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Metropolitan Airways were a small operator with 3 Shorts 3-30s. They did a few weekend charters including all three aircraft to Le Mans for the 24 hour race one weekend, and one aircraft to the Isle of Man the day after they went bust. The aircraft was impounded.
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Old 11th May 2024, 08:40
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Rig Air - Air Anglia. Norwich and Aberdeen. Checking my only diary (1971) I have written that the hourly charter flat rate for the Dak was 80 Cargo or 105 Pax, both with additional handling charges. The Islander was 45, Aztec 44, Twin Comanche 38, Cessna 206 27 and Cessna 172 20. Aberdeen Airport was 'By Arrangement' on Sundays. Sumburgh (Telephone number Sumburgh 259) was closed on Sundays but would open up for a charge of 27. Quality Sheepskins could be purchased there at a very reasonable price from the SATCO Les Isaacs.
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Old 11th May 2024, 12:15
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I flew on Britannia B737 trooping flights in the 1980's. Both were ex LTN, firstly to RAF Wildenrath but weather diversion to Dusseldorf; then latterly to RAF Gutersloh. During the late 80's at Gutersloh BIA commenced weekend holiday charters to LGW where service personnel could connect to regular flights. These were operated by 1-11's which seemed enormous when parked up next to Harriers.
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Old 11th May 2024, 12:57
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Originally Posted by Akrotiri bad boy
I flew on Britannia B737 trooping flights in the 1980's.
So did a colleague of mine from university. An excellent simultaneous translator in French and German, he went straight into the MoD Whitehall as a translator, and did a lot of trips to Europe - by various means. Now if you were with The Minister you might ride First Class (Ministers did then) in the Trident from Heathrow. But often going out on his own the parsimonious procurement department, if there was a spare seat, might put him on one of their Britannia 737 charters from Luton. 130 seats, and they booked 130 adults, squaddies and their families. For the babies, which were apparently plentiful, they would suspend bassinets from the overheads, above the parents (and of course adjacent passengers).

Their noise, plus various bodily fluids, soon filled the air all around, especially if turbulent they would swing about, and Papa Squaddie would leap over everyone to try and steady them, bracing themselves on any convenient adjacent passenger. Well, we are all squaddies, aren't we ? If he was going straight into a meeting on arrival he would be in his office suit. I can still recall his graphic, and doubtless only slightly embellished, stories of it all. Was there zero catering provided on the military charters to Germany, to minimise the cost ?

I wonder if the Britannia cabin crew might say "Come back Night Ibizas, all is forgiven".
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Old 11th May 2024, 15:06
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" Was there zero catering provided on the military charters to Germany, to minimise the cost ? "

There was catering in the form of the somewhat ubiquitous pork pie, with a bit of egg in the middle, because I had two meals when I trooped to Wildenrath. Mine, and the Army person sat next to me as he decided he didn't like flying...despite my efforts to encourage him to look out of the window and admire the view.

It all went a bit downhill after that. Try arriving at an RAF Station, in this case, Bruggen, on the Friday afternoon when the August BH is about to commence...

Night Gerona's could make Ibiiza's look, almost, civilised.

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Old 12th May 2024, 14:02
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The worst of all time had to be a Sunday night Zakynthos. As the airport's opening hours were restricted to protect the turtles breeding on the nearby beach, you couldn't leave the UK before 23:30 local. There was inevitably a line-up of charter departures from across the UK taking up the available slots at Zakynthos, so for most, your departure was scheduled for after midnight. You therefore had a 23:00-ish crew report on Sunday night. You landed in Zakynthos and your passengers were generally grumpy and tired after being thrown out of their holiday accommodation at 9am the previous morning, and even more grumpy after a couple of hours in a heaving airport terminal building. You then left at about 6am local to land back into the UK at about 07:30 - 08:00, just in time to do battle with the Monday morning rush hour traffic to get home.

Tuesday night Reus and Wednesday night Ibiza were fairly tame by comparison.
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Old 13th May 2024, 09:12
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Agreed. How tame those Manch,18-30 flts were ! Forgot all about Gerona and cripes, The Zak flts ! Fought to stay awake on the return flt and hit the A23 gravel on the side three times on the drive home. Delighted when AE "Charters" did one leg there, week on the beach, one leg back ! A move into the Long haul charter, IT market, welcomed by many of us.
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Old 14th May 2024, 06:03
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Originally Posted by Gordomac
Delighted when AE "Charters" did one leg there, week on the beach, one leg back ! A move into the Long haul charter, IT market, welcomed by many of us.
Yes indeed, AE hit the ground running with the new 757; a game changer for using the later type fitted with 535E4 engines for long haul charter flights, along with mixing it with the short haul Med stuff.
Air Europe having done a deal with BA, kept the same specification as British Airways for their 757s and so its aircraft were also 757-236s, initial models were equipped with the earlier RB211-535C engines, but later orders were upgraded with 535E4s.
It enabled Air Europe to get the leap on other UK charter airlines with earlier delivery positions at an advantageous price.


Such a versatile beast, you sent the 757 out in the morning to Palma and back, then say an afternoon Alicante or Ibiza rotation, then at dinner time turn it around and then send it back out for the tropical hot spots of Goa, Colombo, Male Hulhule, or Mombasa. AE also sent the 757 to far flung Penang and Phuket.

So, as well as flying to the usual Mediterranean hotspots Air Europe was one of the first charter airlines to take advantage of the change in ETOPs (was EROPS) rules that allowed twin engine aircraft to fly long overwater routes as long as a diversionary field was within 120 minutes flying distance.
This opened up the possibility of transatlantic operations with the AE 757s and Orlando was their first ETOPS destination served in 1989, and then to Mexico (IIRC: Cancun, Acapulco and Puerto Vallarta).

BAH and BGR both became AE crew hubs for transit stops for Fuel and Crew changes as the 757 needed a drink, and the Pax needed a well deserved stretch of the legs around the Duty Free shops for an hour or so.

Monarch MON/OM and Air 2000/AMM were also in the leading pack regarding the first EROPS (1988).
Overcoming the ''if it ain't got four engines'' school of thought was hard work, but just look at the situation now, few even bat an eyelid when they board a two engine aircraft for a long over water flight (few may know what EROPS is, which became known as ETOPS).

With the 757 you could bung it into tiny places like Skiathos, Mykonos, Chambery and Innsbruck, and easily do SOU-TFS, all with no payload issues.

Last edited by rog747; 14th May 2024 at 06:15.
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Old 14th May 2024, 11:19
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Charter airline Aeropa , with their ex TWA 707 I-SAVA, in the early 70s !
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Old 14th May 2024, 16:44
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Did anyone mention Modern Air Transport? CV990s based in Berlin (US registered of course). Not really in this category but one of my personal favourites was Trans Caribbean - DC8s with palm trees on the tail.
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Old 14th May 2024, 20:22
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Originally Posted by willy wombat
Did anyone mention Modern Air Transport? CV990s based in Berlin (US registered of course). Not really in this category but one of my personal favourites was Trans Caribbean - DC8s with palm trees on the tail.
Trans Caribbean were on the face of it a USA scheduled airline, focused on San Juan, Puerto Rico (though headquartered in New York). Small scheduled operation but they also ran substantial charters with their DC8s for the US military over to Germany, and linked this in on returning with some affinity-group charter work as well, which is how they turned up at Gatwick. Although many US airlines had large fleets of 707s and DC8s, by no means all of them were fitted out for intercontinental over-ocean work, and thus suitable for military work over the Atlantic or Pacific, whereas Trans Caribbean had to do this to all their fleet to get to San Juan. Their orange palm tree on a blue background was an unusual livery.
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Old 14th May 2024, 20:40
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Originally Posted by billyg
Charter airline Aeropa , with their ex TWA 707 I-SAVA, in the early 70s !
Ah, Aeropa was who I meant by Europa in post #3. I remember I-SAVA at Gatwick on my first proper spotting trip there in December '74, a momentus occasion when I splurged 25p or whatever on my first copy of Civil Aircraft Markings - which was bloody silly as CAM '75 hit the shelves three months later. Not that I needed to transfer many sightings...
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Old 15th May 2024, 05:56
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I actually remember Trans Caribbean DC8s from Prestwick rather than Gatwick. Presumably on MAC charters to do with the Holy Loch US base. The other rather tenuous connection I have with Trans Caribbean is that my first proper job in the industry was with IAS Cargo Airlines and Trans Caribbean was the source of our first two DC8s.
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Old 15th May 2024, 09:42
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Originally Posted by treadigraph
I splurged 25p or whatever on my first copy of Civil Aircraft Markings
Out of interest just found a copy on ebay - 45p originally, the used copy available for 5.99 today! My copy fell apart eventually. The 1975 edition was 60p, inflation or expansion of content?
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Old 15th May 2024, 17:59
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Originally Posted by treadigraph
which was bloody silly as CAM '75 hit the shelves three months later. Not that I needed to transfer many sightings...
It took the emergence of spotter databases some 25 or so years ago to underline how frustrating that used to be.
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Old 15th May 2024, 18:42
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Am I correct in thinking that CAM '74 had a BEA Heron on the front cover?
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Old 15th May 2024, 18:45
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Decent potted history of Aeropa
Just dusted off my 1977 CAM (JAL Cargo 747 on cover).....65p!
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Old 15th May 2024, 18:45
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I used to write in the place and date of sighting... and transfer that. Until cycling, trains and LAAS coaches took me out and about more... (IBLAS Cranfield 1979, half the GB register seemed to be there...)
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