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IATA ICAO Callsign
BB BBB Balair
Founded 1953
Commenced operations 1965
Ceased operations 1993
Fleet size See Historical fleet details below
Parent company Schweizerische Luftverkehr AG
Headquarters Basel, Basel-Stadt, Switzerland

Balair was a Swiss airline that became BalairCTA when it merged with CTA/Compagnie de Transport Aerien in 1993. Balair had its headquarters in Basel.[1]

Code information[edit]

  • ICAO Code: BBB
  • IATA Code: BB
  • Call Sign: Balair

Company history[edit]

Pre World War Two[edit]

In the history of aviation in Switzerland, there are two Balair airlines; the first one existed from 1925 to 1931[2] 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.

1953 onwards[edit]

Douglas DC-4 of Balair at Manchester Airport in 1963
This Douglas DC-8-63CF was flown on Balair's intercontinental schedules between 1972 and 1985.

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 airline's 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.[3]

Balair CTA became Belair after the demise of the Swissair Group.

Historical fleet details[edit]


  1. ^ "World Airline Directory." Flight International. April 13, 1967. 560.
  2. ^ "ONE YEAR'S AIR TRAFFIC IN SWITZERLAND". Flight. 14 February 1930. 
  3. ^ Hengi,[page needed]
  • Hengi, B.I. (2000). Airlines Remembered: Over 200 Airlines of the Past, Described and Illustrated in Colour. Midland. ISBN 9781857800913. 

External links[edit]