Air Safaris

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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.