- ICAO Code: BBB
- IATA Code: BB
- Call Sign: Balair
In the history of aviation in Switzerland, there are two Balair airlines; the first one existed from 1925 to 1931 and was a progenitor of Swissair. On March 26, 1931, "Swissair - Schweizerische Luftverkehr AG" ("Swissair - Swiss Aviation AG") was founded through the fusion of the airlines Ad Astra Aero (founded in 1919) and Balair.
The second Balair started in 1953 as a flying school and pilot training organisation. Commercial service began with the acquisition of a Vickers VC.1 Viking in June 1957. Soon afterwards, Swissair invested heavily in Balair and in 1959, two Douglas DC-4s were acquired from Swissair. During that time, Balair flew charter flights and did so for many years. In 1960, the Douglas DC-6 came into service.
Scheduled service started in 1965 and cities served were: Basel (for which the airline is named), Geneva, Bern and Frankfurt. The DC-4s were replaced by Fokker F27 Friendship sometime in the late 1960s. The first jet aircraft was the Convair 990 Coronado and then the Douglas DC-9-32 entered service followed by a Douglas DC-8-63 which it flew on routes to Colombo, Bangkok and Rio de Janeiro. The next expansion came in 1974 when flights to the USA were started and five years later a Douglas DC-10-30 was acquired.
Balair became an all jet airline in 1982 and by 1986 the Airbus A310-325 and the MD-80 were the mainstay of the fleet. By this time, Swissair was a majority owner and in 1993 merged Balair with another subsidiary, CTA (Compagnie de Transport Aerien) to form BalairCTA.
BalairCTA became Belair after the demise of the Swissair Group.
Historical fleet details
- Vickers VC.1 Viking
- Douglas DC-4
- Douglas DC-6A
- Douglas DC-6B
- Douglas DC-6BF
- Sud SE-210 Caravelle
- Fokker F27 Friendship
- Douglas DC-9-32
- Douglas DC-8-62F and Douglas DC-8-73F
- Douglas DC-10-30
- MD-80, MD-82, MD-83 and MD-87
- Airbus A310-325
- Boeing 757-2G5
- Boeing 767-35H(ER) and 767-3BG(ER)
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