Air Safaris

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For the New Zealand airline, see Air Safaris (NZ airline).
Air Safaris
Founded 1959
Ceased operations 1962
Hubs London Gatwick Airport
Headquarters Old Terminal Building, Gatwick Airport South
Key people Alan Stocks (General Manager)

Air Safaris was a British scheduled and charter airline from 1959 to 1962.[1]


Air Safaris Hermes 4 at Manchester Airport in 1961

Air Safaris Limited was formed on 26 November 1959 equipped with four-engined Handley Page Hermes and twin-engined Vickers Viking airliners to operate scheduled and charter flights based at London Gatwick Airport.[1] Originally started as Meredith Air Transport in 1952 as a Dakota operator it changed name in November 1954 to African Air Safaris Limited and in 1956 bought a Handley Page Hermes from the British Overseas Airways Corporation. It acquired two Vikings in 1959 and with a move to Gatwick Airport became Air Safaris.

In 1960 the company acquired the transport division of Don Everall Aviation with its scheduled flights from Birmingham Airport and one Viking aircraft.[2] The airline opened an operating and maintenance base at Hurn Airport in 1961. The company operated charters from most British airports but by 1961 had ceased operating.[1][3]

When the company ceased operations on 2 November 1961 it had five Hermes and eight Vikings, the 200 staff were given formal notice that the company would close due to "money difficulties".[4] An official from the company announced that they were trying to save the company but the following week a receiver was appointed.[4][5]

At a meeting of creditors on 29 January 1962 the company had a total deficiency of £521,073, the failure of the company was attributed by the directors to insufficient capital and too rapid expansion, loss of income from aircraft under repair, high wage costs and large hire-purchase payments were also cited.[6] As the company's assets would just about cover the debts the company was handed over to the official receiver to liquidate.[6]

Aircraft operated[edit]

Air Safaris Hermes at Manchester (Ringway) Airport in 1961

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Merton Jones 1972, p. 15
  2. ^ "Air Companies MergeMachine" (Business and Finance). The Times (London). Monday, 21 November 1960. (54934), col G, p. 18.
  3. ^ "Airline to Suspend Operations" (News in Brief). The Times (London). Friday, 3 November 1961. (55229), col D, p. 8.
  4. ^ a b "200 of Air Company's Staff get Notice" (News in Brief). The Times (London). Friday, 4 November 1961. (55230), col B, p. 5.
  5. ^ "Receiver Appointed for Air Safaris" (Business Appointments). The Times (London). Thursday, 16 November 1961. (55240), col B, p. 23.
  6. ^ a b "Creditors of Air Safaris Meet" (News). The Times (London). Tuesday, 30 January 1962. (55302), col D, p. 4.
  • Merton Jones, T. (1972). British Independent Airline & Operators Since 1947. United Kingdom: LAAS International.