Channel Airways

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Channel Airways
IATA ICAO Callsign
none CW Channel Air
Founded 1946 (as East Anglian
Flying Services)
Ceased operations 1972
Hubs Southend Municipal Airport
Ipswich Airport
Stansted Airport
Bournemouth Airport
Bristol Airport
Cardiff Airport
Norwich Airport
East Midlands Airport
Manchester Airport
Teesside Airport
Berlin Tegel Airport
Fleet size 25 aircraft (May 1971):
2 Hawker Siddeley Trident 1E
2 BAC One-Eleven 400
5 de Havilland Comet 4B
9 Vickers Viscount 800
6 de Havilland DH 114 Heron
1 de Havilland DH 104 Dove
Destinations worldwide
Headquarters Southend Municipal Airport
(1947–1968, 1972)
Stansted Airport (1968–1972)
Key people Sqn. Ldr. R.J. Jones[1]
Capt. A.E. Hugo Parsons
T.A. Atkins
Capt. P. Lockwood
L. Mellish

Channel Airways was a private airline formed in the United Kingdom in 1946 as East Anglian Flying Services.

The newly formed airline initially operated aerial joy rides with a single, three-seater aircraft from an airstrip on the Kent coast. Scheduled services began in 1947, following the move to Southend (Rochford) Airport earlier that year, while inclusive tour (IT) charter flights started in 1948. Rapid business growth saw seven additional aircraft join the fledgling airline's fleet by the end of that year.[2][3]

The introduction of exchange controls in the early 1950s resulted in a major contraction of the travel market, in turn compelling East Anglian to cease all operations other than pleasure flying. Following a recovery in demand, aircraft and employees that had been surplus to requirements during the slump were respectively brought back into service and re-hired. By that time, the airline had also opened a second base at Ipswich Airport and obtained its first long-term scheduled service licence. That decade also saw East Anglian updating its fleet with post-war aircraft designs.[4]

Fleet modernisation continued in the early 1960s with the addition of DC-3 and DC-4 equipment. In October 1962, East Anglian Flying Services became Channel Airways.[5][6] The following year saw the acquisition of Channel's first turbine-powered aircraft.[7]

Channel entered the jet age in June 1967 with the arrival of its first BAC One-Eleven 400 at Southend.[8] In May 1968, Channel Airways became the first independent[nb 1] airline in the UK to operate the Hawker Siddeley Trident.[9][10][11] Channel's new jets were contracted to major tour operators in the UK and West Germany from bases at Southend, London Stansted, other British airports and Berlin Tegel in what used to be West Berlin prior to German reunification.[12] During that time, Channel moved its main operating and engineering base as well as its head office from Southend to Stansted to enable regular jet operations to more distant destinations with a full commercial payload from the latter's longer runway.[13][14][15]

A bus stop scheduled service linking the airline's Southend base with Aberdeen via six intermediate points briefly operated in the late-1960s with modified Viscounts.[16][17][18][19]

The addition of five Comet 4Bs in 1970 marked a major expansion of Channel's jet operation, making it a leading contemporary UK charter airline, with IT operations accounting for more than half of its business.[20][21][22]

Low utilisation of the Trident fleet resulted in the type's disposal in December 1971, followed by closure of the Stansted engineering base and return of the head office to Southend.[10][15][23][24] The company's deteriorating trading position and diminishing prospects led to growing financial difficulties. This forced Channel Airways to cease operations in February 1972.[25][26]


Formative era[edit]

Channel Airways was one of the earliest, post-World War II British independent airlines. Former Royal Air Force squadron leader Reginald "Jack" Jones[1] founded Channel Airways in June 1946 as an aerial joy ride business, which was incorporated as East Anglian Flying Services on 16 August 1946.[27] The new airline was majority-owned by Jones and his family, who held more than 80% of its shares.[2][3]

This Puss Moth was the first aircraft to be flown by East Anglian Flying Services. Here it is seen visiting Manchester in 1948.

Commercial operations commenced on 16 August 1946 with a single, early-1930s vintage, three-seat Puss Moth, offering joy rides at 10s (50p as of early-2012[28]) a time from a landing strip near the Kent seaside town of Herne Bay.[2][29] Soon after, this aircraft also operated air taxi flights to destinations all over the UK.[30]

On 5 January 1947, East Anglian moved its base across the Thames estuary to Southend Municipal Airport near Southend-on-Sea in Essex, only four days after its re-opening as a civil airport. The move to Southend Airport led to the conclusion of an "associate" agreement with British European Airways (BEA) enabling the introduction of a regular SouthendRochester feeder service, East Anglian's first scheduled route as well as the first scheduled service from Southend.[28][29]

Nineteen forty-eight was the year East Anglian operated its first IT charter flight from Southend to Ostend in conjunction with two British travel agents. By winter 1948, a huge expansion of the fledgling airline's pleasure flying and charter business resulted in acquisition of seven additional aircraft. These included five de Havilland Dragon Rapides, a Miles Aerovan and an Airspeed Courier. One of East Anglian's engagements at the time included a one-off round-trip to Cyprus carrying a party of schoolboys, which was operated by a Miles Aerovan lacking radio equipment and an autopilot.[29]

Following a successful first year on the Southend—Ostend charter run, East Anglian obtained a scheduled service licence for the route, as well as a Southend—Jersey scheduled licence.[29]

The 1950s[edit]

Government restrictions on overseas travel and the introduction of exchange controls in 1951 caused a severe contraction of the travel market, resulting in the collapse of numerous small independent airlines in the UK. The industry's grave situation necessitated drastic cutbacks at East Anglian to ensure its survival. All commercial activities other than pleasure flying ceased and only two full-time employees remained on the company's payroll — Jones himself and an office boy. While Jones drove his passengers to and from Southend Airport, the boy was left in charge of a kiosk on Southend's seafront selling tickets.[29][31]

Channel Airways Bristol 170 Freighter 21 at Manchester Airport in July 1958

Following a gradual pickup in demand, East Anglian brought back into service aircraft that had been laid up during the slump, re-hired laid-off employees and, in 1953, obtained a lease on the grass airfield at Ipswich Airport as a secondary base for its charter operations and a future feeder point on its scheduled network. During that period, East Anglian concluded a new "associate" agreement with BEA, which led to the award of its first long-term scheduled licence[nb 2] on the Southend—Ostend route. Additional scheduled services were launched from Southend and Portsmouth to Paris as well as from Portsmouth to Jersey while some Southend—Jersey services featured additional stops in Rochester, Shoreham and Guernsey. A Southend—Rotterdam link followed in 1956.[31][32]

During the 1950s, East Anglian also began the process of augmenting and eventually replacing pre-war aircraft designs such as the Dragon Rapide with more modern equipment, starting with the acquisition of three de Havilland Doves from West African Airways Corporation in 1954. By the end of 1957, a year that saw nearly 30,000 passengers fly with East Anglian, two Bristol 170s had joined the fleet. These aircraft were the airline's first bulk carriers.[3][31]

Nineteen fifty-seven was also the year South African-born former World War II pilot, Jackie Moggeridge, joined East Anglian Flying Services as its first female pilot. She would become a captain on the DC-3 and Dove fleets.[31][33]

In 1958, the first two Vikings joined the airline's fleet.[31]

The 1960s[edit]

During the early-1960s, East Anglian added several Douglas DC-3s as well as a single Douglas DC-4, quickening the pace of its fleet modernisation programme.[7]

Channel Airways 88-seat Douglas DC-4 operating an IT flight From Manchester to Ostend in 1963
Channel Airways Vickers Viking refuelling at Manchester Airport in July 1964 - the last year of operation of the type

On 29 October 1962, East Anglian Flying Services officially changed its name to Channel Airways. (Although the Channel Airways name had first appeared on the company's aircraft as long ago as 1952, the old name was retained as the officially registered name until the somewhat similarly sounding Channel Air Bridge name became defunct to avoid any confusion.[31][34])[5][6][7][35] By that time, Channel Airways operated frequent scheduled passenger and freight services from Southend, Ipswich and Rochester to the Channel Islands, Rotterdam, Ostend and Paris as well as from Portsmouth to the Channel Islands.

The airline also held licences to operate vehicle ferry services from Bristol to Dublin, Cork, Jersey and Bilbao, as well as from Southend to Jersey and Bilbao. It furthermore applied for traffic rights to operate a vehicle ferry service between Liverpool and Dublin. Moreover, the company ran regular, 52-seat luxury express coach services linking Norwich with Ipswich as well as Eastbourne, Brighton, Worthing, London, Reading, Basingstoke and Guildford with Portsmouth. (There were also special coaches linking up with corporate shuttle services the company operated under contract to the Ford Motor Company between Southend and the airports serving the latter's continental plants.[36]) In addition, IT and general passenger and freight charter services, which accounted for a growing share of the firm's business, were operated while rival Southend-based independent airline Tradair equipped with Vickers Vikings became a wholly owned subsidiary of Channel Airways on 31 December 1962.[7][22][31][34][35][37][38]

Channel Airways Douglas DC-3 at Rochester Airport on a scheduled flight to the Channel Islands in 1965
Channel Airways Vickers Viscount 702 at Manchester Airport in 1965 on an IT from Malaga via Bordeaux

In 1963, Channel Airways acquired its first turboprop airliner, a Vickers Viscount 700 series inherited from Tradair.[nb 3] That year also marked the beginning of the airline's large-scale expansion into IT charters from Manchester and Southend.[7][31] This saw the operation of 71-seat Viscounts and a Douglas DC-4 in a high-density, 88-seat layout from Manchester and other UK airports to the Mediterranean and Ostend respectively.[31][39]

The arrival of Channel's first turbine-powered aircraft coincided with the introduction of a new "Golden"-themed livery that was subsequently adopted for all Viscounts, HS 748s, One-Elevens and Tridents, with minor variations for each sub-fleet. This was one of the few marketing gimmicks in which the airline indulged and marked a major departure from its refusal to build a brand identity or to engage in prestige promotion to keep costs down.[40]

By the mid-1960s, Channel Airways had acquired another nine Viscount 700s. Seven of these were former BEA aircraft while the remaining two were sourced from Bahamas Airways and Starways respectively.[nb 4] In addition to these aircraft, Channel also purchased 11 Viscount 812s from Continental Airlines[nb 5] and four new Hawker Siddeley 748s[nb 6] to support a rapidly growing number of IT flights and regional scheduled services along the UK's South Coast, between the South Coast, the Channel Islands and the Continent, as well as from Manchester Airport to continental destinations. The latter aircraft operated most of the airline's schedules serving the grass airfields.[nb 7]

Although IT operations generated about half its revenues by that time, making Channel one of the UK's foremost contemporary charter operators, senior management preferred to think of it as primarily a scheduled carrier, keeping in mind their longer-term corporate ambitions to operate more domestic links from Southend and to extend the network's reach beyond the Channel coast and Paris to new destinations in Europe and North Africa.[6][7][38][41][42][43][44][45]

Channel Airways received its first ex-Continental Viscount 812 at Southend in April 1966. The aircraft participated in that year's Biggin Hill Air Fair.[46] The fact that the ex-Continental Viscounts already wore a livery that was similar in appearance to the recently adopted Golden-themed livery enabled Channel Airways to save costs by only changing the name on these planes and making a few other, minor adjustments.[47]

BAC One-Eleven of Channel Airways at Manchester Airport in 1969

In September 1966, Channel Airways announced its first jet aircraft order comprising four BAC One-Eleven 400 series plus two options. That order was worth £5.5 million. These aircraft were the first jets to join the fleet, the first of which arrived at the company's Southend base on 15 June 1967.[nb 8] Nineteen sixty-six was also the year Channel arranged a 21-year lease on the grass field at Ipswich.[3][8][9][37][46][48][49]

By May 1967, Channel Airways had taken delivery of the remaining Viscount 800s from Continental. By that time, it had also retired and sold the last 700s and placed a follow-on order for another two One-Eleven 400s.[7][43][50][51]

Channel Airways Trident 1E

Despite being an established One-Eleven customer that was widely expected to order the stretched One-Eleven 500, Channel Airways instead ordered two Hawker Siddeley Trident 1E series jetliners on 5 October 1967, for £8 million. This order was the culmination of a successful sales campaign by Hawker Siddeley, which went out of its way to find a customer for its remaining five unsold Trident 1Es that were nearing completion on the production line at Hatfield in mid-1967. By that time, most UK independent airlines that were in the market for short-haul jet aircraft — including Channel Airways — had already committed themselves to the BAC One-Eleven, the Trident's more economical and ultimately more successful, home-grown rival. For want of viable alternatives and despite Channel Airways's reputation as financially weak, Hawker Siddeley began sales negotiations with the airline in August 1967. To clinch the deal, the manufacturer guaranteed the airline a 20% reduction in seat-mile costs over the standard Trident 1E. This modified Trident 1E was dubbed the Trident 140 and featured a 1,500 lb (680 kg) higher gross weight than other Trident 1/2 variants to make it suitable for Channel's European IT operations in a high-density seating arrangement. With a full payload of 139 passengers seated at a 31 in (79 cm) pitch, it had a range of 1,930 mi (3,110 km) or 2,570 mi (4,140 km) with 100 passengers in a lower-density seating configuration. The latter brought the Canary Islands within the aircraft's non-stop range from the UK and West Berlin. Not only were these the last five 1E series built, but they were also the first Tridents ordered by a UK independent airline.[9][10][11][52][53][54] The arrival of Channel's first Trident at the airline's Southend base in May 1968 coincided with the delivery of its second One-Eleven. Channel's first Trident operated the airline's first revenue service with the type on 13 June of that year, when the aircraft departed Southend for Barcelona via Teesside, while the second example was displayed at the following month's Farnborough Airshow. Channel also took advantage of the Trident's higher cruising speed[nb 9] by promoting the type's 3 hour 15 minute non-stop flying time between Stansted and Las Palmas as the fastest flight from anywhere in the UK to the Canaries.[7][10][51][55]

As Channel's new jets suffered range and payload restrictions at Southend due to its short runway and the introduction of the One-Eleven at the airport led to growing complaints about the aircraft's take-off noise, this resulted in Stansted becoming the main operating base in 1968.[13][14][20][48][56][57]

Nineteen sixty-eight was furthermore the year Channel reduced its outstanding jet aircraft orders due to the difficult economic situation in the UK during that time, especially the sterling devaluation and a tightening of the existing exchange control regime that limited passengers to £50 a trip. This resulted in cancellation of three remaining orders each for Tridents and One-Elevens, and only two[nb 10] and three[nb 11] examples respectively joining the airline's fleet.[51][58][59][52]

The introduction of these jet aircraft enabled Channel Airways to become a major provider of charter airline seats to the leading package tour operators in the UK from bases at Southend, Stansted, Bristol, Cardiff, East Midlands, Manchester and Teesside.[9][12][20][48][51] Channel Airways also held lucrative contracts to carry package tour holiday makers from West Berlin to holiday resorts in the Mediterranean and the Canary Islands on behalf of major West German tour operators. By 1971, these were worth £11 million per annum and involved more than 50 weekly departures from Tegel during the peak summer season. This had resulted in one of the airline's jets being permanently based there until its demise.[12][51][57][60]

Channel's increasing dependence on the IT market made it a highly seasonal airline, with pronounced peaks and troughs in activity and aircraft utilisation. Each year, the end of the winter trough was followed by a six-week period of intense activity starting in April, when the company's aircraft were contracted by Clarksons to ferry British tourists to and from Rotterdam for the Dutch bulbfield season from ten UK departure points. The end of this season in mid-May also marked the beginning of the actual summer season, when the firm's planes commenced flying holidaymakers from the UK to Majorca, the Spanish mainland and Morocco under contract to the leading contemporary providers of package holidays in the UK. Flights to other Mediterranean resorts — chiefly in Italy and other Adriatic regions — started the following month. During the peak period in July and August, aircraft operated round-the-clock, plying scheduled routes during the day and serving IT destinations at night. The resulting increase in utilisation meant that aircraft spent as little as 40 minutes on the ground.[nb 12] By mid-September, the IT programme began winding down, with flights to Italy ending first due to its short holiday season. Flights to Majorca and certain Spanish mainland destinations continued right until the end of the summer charter season in late-October. To avoid having aircraft sit idly on the ground during the lean winter months,[nb 13] when ad hoc charters and a small number of year-round scheduled services replaced the intensive summer IT programme and busy summer schedule, spare capacity was leased out. In addition, all heavy maintenance was scheduled to take place during this period.[61]

The rapid growth in Channel's IT business furthermore resulted in establishment of Mediterranean Holidays as its in-house tour operating subsidiary. This enabled the airline to take maximum advantage of the booming package holiday market while at the same time reducing its dependence on third party tour operators.[62]

Channel Airways held the record for operating the UK charter airline industry's tightest seating configurations.[6] For example, it managed to fit as many as 88 seats into its Douglas DC-4s, 139 seats[nb 14] into its Trident 1Es, as many as 99 seats[nb 15] into its One-Eleven 400s and as many as 83 and 56 seats[nb 16] into its Viscount 810s and HS 748s respectively. These were the highest-density seating configurations of any of the aforementioned aircraft types' operators.[9][10][11][12][16][48][51]

Channel Airways also became known for pressing into service aircraft it had acquired second-hand with only minimal changes to the previous operators' aircraft liveries, i.e. merely taping over those operators' names with its own.[6][40][63]

By the end of the decade, Channel Airways had established itself as one of the UK's leading, contemporary independent airlines, operating domestic and international scheduled passenger and freight services from East Midlands, Ipswich, Norwich, Stansted, Southend, Portsmouth and Bournemouth to the Channel Islands, Rotterdam, Ostend, Paris, Rimini, Palma and Barcelona.[20][22] Between 1965 and 1968, it recorded annual profits in excess of £500,000.[nb 17][20] The Scottish Flyer was the name of a twice-daily multi-stop, bus stop type scheduled service Channel operated with modified, 69-seat Viscount 812s featuring a large baggage compartment inside the aircraft's cabin. This service ran for a brief period from January until November 1969 between Southend and Aberdeen, with six four- to five-minute long, engine-running intermediate stops, including Luton, East Midlands, Leeds/Bradford, Teesside, Newcastle and Edinburgh. (While the aircraft was on the ground with its two starboard engines kept running, passengers were required to load/unload their own baggage.[36])[16][17][18][19][20][58][64][65][66] The Scottish Flyer North-South bus stop service was complemented by a similar, short-lived East-West service linking Norwich with Liverpool via an intermediate stop at East Midlands, where aircraft were scheduled to meet to enable passengers to make omnidirectional connections.[67] That year also saw a short-lived attempt to rename the airline as Air England; the new titles only appeared on a single Heron 1B.[52]

The 1970s and closure[edit]

Channel Airways Comet 4B G-APMB seen at Berlin Tempelhof in September 1971. This aircraft went on to serve with Dan-Air following Channel's demise.

The acquisition of five ex-BEA de Havilland Comet 4B series for £2 million following the award in 1970 of a major, two-year contract to operate IT flights on behalf of Lyons Tours resulted in a significant increase in Channel Airways's charter capacity. Unlike the other aircraft in Channel's fleet, the Comets continued to be flown in BEA's basic paint scheme, with the BEA logo and the Union Jack removed from the tail and forward, lower fuselage respectively, and the BEA name taped over with Channel Airways's name on the upper fuselage. They also continued to be flown in a comparatively spacious, 109-seat, single class configuration.[20][21][68]

Following the induction of the Comet into Channel Airways's fleet, the airline began using Comets and Tridents from West Berlin's city centre Tempelhof Airport as the airport's runways had been extended to about 7,000 ft (2,100 m) by that time to improve operational performance and safety. Although the lengthened runways were still too short to permit the operation of commercially viable long-haul flights, it was sufficient to make commercial operations with most contemporary short- and medium-haul jet aircraft types on shorter routes viable. These flights were additional to Channel's flying programme from its West Berlin base at Tegel.[69]

By the early-1970s, charter flights accounted for 60% of the airline's revenue.[22][57]

In January 1971, Channel Airways received UK, US and Canadian permission to operate transatlantic "affinity group" charters. A pair of long-haul Boeing 707s were to be purchased to commence North Atlantic operations to the United States and Canada later that year.[22][70]

Channel Airways's failure to enter the transatlantic affinity charter market was followed by an unsuccessful attempt to establish itself as the UK's third scheduled domestic trunk airline (in addition to BEA and British Caledonian), when partial approval of an application made to the UK Air Transport Licensing Board (ATLB) in early-1971 to fly from Stansted to Newcastle, Belfast and Glasgow resulted in the ATLB's decision to provisionally license Channel Airways to fly between Stansted and Glasgow from May 1972 being ultimately reversed under pressure from BEA.[71]

The increasing seasonality of the airline's operations since the late-1960s had resulted in regularly recurring crisis talks with its bankers at the end of each summer season to tide it over the lean winter months. By the early-1970s, there were further problems with spare parts to support the growing jet fleet. Lack of spares for Comets and Tridents had caused major disruptions to the 1971 summer charter programme. This accounted for 71% of the 541,000 passengers that flew with it that year and 91% in terms of total passenger miles (passenger kilometres) flown, resulting in a major financial hit for the company.[57] To ensure adequate access to spares to continue flying its Comets, Channel Airways acquired a further second-hand example from Mexicana.[71]

During the first week of December 1971, Channel Airways sold both of its Trident 1Es to BEA to counter the increase in unit costs resulting from low utilisation of these aircraft.[nb 18][10][23][24] (One of the aircraft was leased to BEA's Newcastle-based regional subsidiary Northeast Airlines while the other was operating the corporation's regional routes from Birmingham to the Continent.[10][23])

In early 1972, former Channel Airways director Captain Peter Lockwood acquired a pair of ex-American Airlines BAC One-Eleven 400s for his new charter company, Orientair, to take over Channel's lucrative German charter contracts.[72][73][74] When Orientair's plan to assume Channel Airways's position in Berlin ran into difficulties, Dan-Air took over these contracts, resulting in an expansion of that airline's Berlin operation.[75]

Lack of fleet standardisation[nb 19] and low, all-year round aircraft utilisation due to seasonal peaks and troughs in its charter and scheduled markets drove up Channel's unit costs while low charter rates and poor yields on short-haul scheduled routes served in competition with British Air Ferries from Southend depressed revenues.[12][24][61][76] To bring costs in line with revenues, Channel Airways announced the closure of its Stansted engineering base and the return of its headquarters to Southend at the end of January 1972.[15][24] A week later, Channel's main lender, Barclays Bank, appointed a receiver and put the airline up for sale while operations continued.[24] Potential buyers' lack of interest in Channel Airways as a going concern forced the break-up of the company. As by winter 1971/2 work for the remaining jet fleet[nb 20] had all but dried up, jet services ceased on 15 February 1972.[25][57] Operations ceased completely on 29 February, when de Havilland Heron 1B G-APKW, the first and only aircraft to which Air England titles were actually applied, had completed the last Channel Airways flight from Ostend to Southend.[26][71] Permanent cessation of operations was followed by withdrawal of Channel Airways's air operator's certificate at the end of March 1972.[77]

Following Channel Airways's demise, Dan-Air acquired the failed carrier's remaining four airworthy Comet 4Bs and its licence to operate year-round scheduled services from Bournemouth to Guernsey and Jersey while British Airways Regional Division acquired a One-Eleven 400 previously in service with Channel.[78][79][80][81][82][83] In addition, the last three remaining former Channel Airways Viscounts were sold together with the aircraft's entire spares inventory to newly formed Alidair.[84] Ipswich Aerodrome, previously owned by Channel Airways, was sold to Lonmet Aviation.[85]

Fleet details[edit]

Throughout its 26-year existence the following aircraft types formed part of the Channel Airways fleet:

Fleet in 1962[edit]

In April 1962, the Channel Airways fleet comprised 15 aircraft.[35]

Channel Airways fleet in April 1962
Aircraft Number
Bristol 170 Freighter Mark 21 2
Douglas DC-4 2
Douglas DC-3 6
Vickers Viking 3
de Havilland DH 104 Dove 2
Total 15

An Aviation Traders ATL 98 Carvair was on order.

Channel Airways employed 180 people at this time.[35]

Fleet in 1971[edit]

In May 1971, the Channel Airways fleet comprised 25 aircraft.[22]

Channel Airways fleet in May 1971
Aircraft Number
Hawker Siddeley Trident 1E 2
BAC One-Eleven 400 2
de Havilland Comet 4B 5
Vickers Viscount 800 9
de Havilland DH 114 Heron 6
de Havilland DH 104 Dove 1
Total 25

Channel Airways employed 600 people at this time.[22]

Accidents and incidents[edit]

There are seven recorded accidents involving East Anglian Flying Services/Channel Airways aircraft. One of these resulted in the loss of lives of fare-paying passengers. The airline's seven accidents are detailed below:

  • On 15 January 1958, a de Havilland Dove (registration G-AOCE) crashed on approach to Ferryfield Airfield, Lydd, Kent, when both engines stopped due to a mismanagement of the aircraft's fuel system, which had resulted in a lack of fuel in the engines. All seven occupants survived.[86]
  • On 28 July 1959, an East Anglian Flying Services Vickers 614 Viking 1 (registration G-AHPH) was written off at Southend Airport as a result of being damaged beyond repair in a landing accident at the end of a non-scheduled passenger flight. On approach to Southend, the aircraft's right-hand main gear indicator did not show "green", thereby failing to confirm that the gear was down and locked. The pilot in command of the aircraft attempted an emergency landing on the grass parallel to the runway after noticing that the emergency gear extension system was inoperable. Following touch-down, the right main gear collapsed and the aircraft swung to the right, damaging it beyond repair. None of the 39 occupants (three crew and 36 passengers) were injured.[87]
  • On 6 May 1962, a Channel Airways Douglas C-47A-1-DK (registration G-AGZB) operating a scheduled passenger flight from Jersey to Portsmouth collided with a cloud-covered hill at St Boniface Down near Ventnor on the Isle of Wight in Southern England, resulting in the aircraft's destruction and the deaths of 12 of the 18 occupants (all three crew members and nine out of 15 passengers) on board. The C-47 had descended to 1,000 ft (300 m) — well below the safe minimum height — while approaching Portsmouth in low cloud and drizzly weather conditions. The poor weather conditions made it impossible for the flightdeck crew to spot the hill in its vicinity and to take evasive action, as a result of which the aircraft struck high ground and burst into flames. This was Channel Airways's first and only fatal accident.[6][88]
  • On 3 May 1967, a Channel Airways Vickers Viscount 812 (registration G-AVJZ) was damaged beyond repair during a test flight to renew the aircraft's Certificate of Airworthiness as a result of propeller no. 4 being feathered shortly after takeoff from Southend Airport, causing the aircraft to enter an uncontrolled turn and scrape the ground with its right wingtip. This, in turn, caused the plane to crash into a wire fence compound, catch fire and kill two Aviation Traders workers on the ground. Although the aircraft was a complete write-off, none of the three crew members on board was hurt.[89][90]
  • On 15 August 1967, two Channel Airways Hawker Siddeley HS 748-222 Srs. 2 (registration: G-ATEH and G-ATEK) were substantially damaged in separate landing accidents at Portsmouth Airport that occurred within two hours of each other.[91][92] The first of these, involving HS 748-222 G-ATEK, occurred at 11.48 local time. The aircraft was operating that day's scheduled service from Southend to Paris via Portsmouth. Following a circling approach to Portsmouth Airport, it touched down normally ca. 330 ft (100 m) left of grass strip 36's centre-line. The pilot flying the aircraft selected ground fine propeller pitch during landing followed by continuous application of the wheel brakes. Initially, the aircraft decelerated normally. However, at an advanced stage of the landing roll, the flightdeck crew realised that the remaining distance might not be sufficient for the plane to stop. To keep within the airfield's boundary, the flightdeck crew attempted to swing the aircraft to the left. Although this caused the aircraft to turn in the desired direction, it began sliding sideways, finally coming to a halt on an earth embankment. Despite extensive damage to the aircraft, there was no post-crash fire and none of the 23 occupants (four crew, 19 passengers) were injured. The subsequent accident investigation established inadequate braking as a result of inadequate friction provided by the aerodrome's very wet grass covering a hard, dry and almost impermeable sub-soil. Accident investigators also cited the flightdeck crew's failure to take into account the additional landing distance that was required to land an HS 748 safely on the wet grass strip as an important contributory factor.[92] The second mishap, involving HS 748-222 G-ATEH, occurred at 13.34 local time. The aircraft was operating that day's scheduled service from Guernsey to Portsmouth. A visual approach to Portsmouth Airport's grass strip 07 resulted in an unsuccessful attempt to land. A second attempt was made, resulting in the aircraft landing on strip 07. Immediately after touchdown, selection of ground fine propeller pitch was followed by application of brakes. Although this caused the aircraft to decelerate initially, subsequent braking proved ineffective due to the wet grass. As a consequence, the aircraft broke through the perimeter fence alongside the main road in the aerodrome's northeast corner, coming to a halt across the road. Despite extensive damage to the aircraft, there was no post-crash fire and none of the 66 occupants (four crew, 62 passengers) were injured. The subsequent accident investigation established inadequate braking as a result of inadequate friction provided by the aerodrome's very wet grass covering a hard, dry and almost impermeable sub-soil. Accident investigators also cited the flightdeck crew's failure to take into account the additional landing distance that was required to land an HS 748 safely on the wet grass strip as an important contributory factor.[91] Both aircraft were subsequently repaired and returned to service.[91][92]
  • On 4 May 1968, a Channel Airways Vickers Viscount 812 (registration G-APPU)[93] was damaged beyond repair in a landing accident at Southend Airport at the end of a passenger charter flight from Rotterdam. The Viscount touched down on Southend's runway 06 in heavy rain at too high a speed. Braking proved ineffective because the pilot in command wrongly assumed that the aircraft was aquaplaning. Instead, he used the aircraft's parking brake in the ensuing emergency, in a futile attempt to arrest its speed. The plane ran off the runway and collided with an earth bank protecting the adjacent railway line. There were 18 injuries among the 83 occupants (four crew, 79 passengers).[94][95]

Notes and Citations[edit]

  1. ^ independent from government-owned corporations
  2. ^ valid for seven years
  3. ^ the inherited fleet comprised two Viscount 700s and 11 Vikings
  4. ^ entering service from 1964 and replacing Vikings
  5. ^ for £3 million including spares
  6. ^ ordered in 1965 and entering service from February 1966
  7. ^ Ipswich, Portsmouth and Rochester
  8. ^ operating its first revenue service from Southend to Palma de Mallorca the following day
  9. ^ compared with most other contemporary subsonic jets
  10. ^ only two Tridents were delivered, in May and June 1968; the three cancelled orders were taken up by BKS Air Transport (two) and Air Ceylon (one)
  11. ^ the first BAC One-Eleven was traded in for the second, with the former being sold on to Autair
  12. ^ turnarounds of as little as 25 minutes were achieved with the One-Elevens
  13. ^ apart from the brief peak around Christmas and New Year
  14. ^ seven abreast in the forward cabin
  15. ^ six abreast; this seating arrangement was exclusive to the second and third example and required the aircraft's modification with two additional over-wing emergency exits each side of the fuselage, the only short-bodied One-Elevens to have this
  16. ^ 62 without galley
  17. ^ 1965, £726,000; 1966, 765,000; 1967, £730,000; 1968, 520,000 (on turnover of £4.5 million)
  18. ^ each aircraft was utilised for only 894hr in 1971, the lowest of any type operated
  19. ^ at the time the airline went into receivership, its fleet comprised 13 aircraft of five different types
  20. ^ comprising four Comets and two One-Elevens
  1. ^ a b Aeroplane — Men at the top: Sqn. Ldr. R.J. Jones chairman, Channel Airways, Vol. 114, No. 2922, p. 17, Temple Press, London, 18 October 1967
  2. ^ a b c Airline Profile: Number Thirty-One in the Series — Channel Airways, Flight International, 17 August 1967, p. 255
  3. ^ a b c d Aeroplane — Airline of the month: Channel Airways, Vol. 112, No. 2867, pp. 5—6, Temple Press, London, 29 September 1966
  4. ^ Aeroplane — Airline of the month: Channel Airways, Vol. 112, No. 2867, pp. 5—7, Temple Press, London, 29 September 1966
  5. ^ a b Aeroplane — World Transport Affairs: Three U.K. independents change their names, Vol. 105, No. 2676, p. 14, Temple Press, London, 31 January 1963
  6. ^ a b c d e f 'No Radar on Sunday' — The Story of Channel Airways Dakota G-AGZB
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h Aeroplane — Airline of the month: Channel Airways, Vol. 112, No. 2867, p. 6, Temple Press, London, 29 September 1966
  8. ^ a b Air Transport ..., Flight International, 22 June 1967, p. 1010
  9. ^ a b c d e Tridents for Channel, Flight International, 12 October 1967, p. 594
  10. ^ a b c d e f g Airliner Classics (Hawker Siddeley's Trident – New Deliveries), Key Publishing, Stamford, UK, November 2010, p. 18
  11. ^ a b c Flight International, 22 February 1968, p. 251
  12. ^ a b c d e Tridents on the move, Flight International, 18 November 1971, p. 797
  13. ^ a b Aeroplane, Late News — Channel to move, Vol. 115, No. 2942, p. 38, Temple Press, London, 6 March 1968
  14. ^ a b Channel to Stansted, Air Transport ..., Flight International, 28 November 1968, p. 894
  15. ^ a b c Channel cut-back, Air Transport ..., Flight International, 3 February 1972, p. 170
  16. ^ a b c Next Bus to Aberdeen ..., Air Transport ..., Flight International, 19 October 1967, p. 641
  17. ^ a b Aeroplane — Commercial continued: Channel's 'bus stop' experiment, Vol. 114, No. 2922, p. 16, Temple Press, London, 18 October 1967
  18. ^ a b Next Bus to Aberdeen ..., Air Transport ..., Flight International, 19 October 1967, p. 642
  19. ^ a b The bus stops, Air Transport, Flight International, 4 December 1969, p. 863
  20. ^ a b c d e f g British Airlines Survey ..., Flight International, 16 October 1969, p. 610
  21. ^ a b Comet Customer, Air Transport, Flight International, 4 September 1969, p. 346
  22. ^ a b c d e f g World Airlines, Flight International, 6 May 1971, p. 624
  23. ^ a b c Tridents on the move, Air Transport ..., Flight International, 9 December 1971, p. 924
  24. ^ a b c d e Receiver for Channel, Air Transport ..., Flight International, 10 February 1972, p. 208
  25. ^ a b Channel stops jets, Air Transport, Flight International, 24 February 1972, p. 283
  26. ^ a b Channel routes taken over, Flight International, 9 March 1972, p. 348
  27. ^ photo caption "Air Transport" Flight International, 12 August 1971, p. 247
  28. ^ a b Classic Aircraft (Gone but not forgotten ... CHANNEL AIRWAYS: Going scheduled), p. 65, Ian Allan Publishing, Hersham, March 2012
  29. ^ a b c d e Aeroplane — Airline of the month: Channel Airways, Vol. 112, No. 2867, p. 5, Temple Press, London, 29 September 1966
  30. ^ Scholefield, R.A., Manchester Airport, Sutton Publishing, 1998, p.56
  31. ^ a b c d e f g h i Classic Aircraft (Gone but not forgotten ... CHANNEL AIRWAYS: Going scheduled), p. 66, Ian Allan Publishing, Hersham, March 2012
  32. ^ Aeroplane — Airline of the month: Channel Airways, Vol. 112, No. 2867, pp. 5, 7, Temple Press, London, 29 September 1966
  33. ^ Royal International Air Tattoo — Part Two: Women in Aviation (Supplying the front-line)
  34. ^ a b Tradair's troubles, Air Commerce ..., Flight International, 8 November 1962, p. 733
  35. ^ a b c d World Airline Survey — The UK Carriers ..., Flight International, 12 April 1962, p. 547
  36. ^ a b Classic Aircraft (Gone but not forgotten ... CHANNEL AIRWAYS: Golden jet years), p. 68, Ian Allan Publishing, Hersham, March 2012
  37. ^ a b Channel Airways ..., Flight International, 17 August 1967, p. 256
  38. ^ a b Ipswich Transport Museum (official website)
  39. ^ Scholefield, R.A., Manchester Airport, Sutton Publishing, 1998, p. 91
  40. ^ a b Aeroplane — Airline of the month: Channel Airways, Vol. 112, No. 2867, pp. 4, 7, Temple Press, London, 29 September 1966
  41. ^ Channel's Package Viscount Deal, Air Transport ..., Flight International, 16 December 1965, p. 1034
  42. ^ Aeroplane — Order Book continued: Channel deal confirmed, Vol. 110, No. 2825, p. 31, Temple Press, London, 9 December 1965
  43. ^ a b Aeroplane — Order Book: Channel weighs the jet market, Vol. 111, No. 2835, p. 16, Temple Press, London, 17 February 1966
  44. ^ Aeroplane — Order Book: Channel order for 748s, Vol. 109, No. 2796, p. 14, Temple Press, London, 20 May 1965
  45. ^ Aeroplane — Commercial continued: Channel Airways took delivery of the first of four Hawker Siddeley 748s on Sept. 23. ... (photo caption), Vol. 110, No. 2815, p. 10, Temple Press, London, 30 September 1965
  46. ^ a b Classic Aircraft (Gone but not forgotten ... CHANNEL AIRWAYS: Changing Channel), p. 66, Ian Allan Publishing, Hersham, March 2012
  47. ^ Classic Airliner (The Hawker Siddeley Trident: UK Trident 1Es), p. 55, Key Publishing, Stamford, 2014
  48. ^ a b c d Aeroplane — Order Book: One-Eleven wins Channel order, Vol. 112, No. 2864, p. 22, Temple Press, London, 8 September 1966
  49. ^ British Airline Survey ..., Flight International, 28 September 1967, p. 530
  50. ^ More One-Elevens sold, Air Transport ..., Flight International, 11 May 1967, p. 733
  51. ^ a b c d e f Home of the BAC 1-11 on the Web > Enter > Country guide to operators > United Kingdom: Channel Airways, Ltd. (CW)
  52. ^ a b c Classic Aircraft (Gone but not forgotten ... CHANNEL AIRWAYS: Golden jet years), p. 67, Ian Allan Publishing, Hersham, March 2012
  53. ^ Airliner World (CHANNEL AIRWAYS: The Golden Fleet — The Jet Age), p. 63, Key Publishing, Stamford, December 2014
  54. ^ Classic Airliner (The Hawker Siddeley Trident: UK Trident 1Es), pp. 55/6, Key Publishing, Stamford, 2014
  55. ^ Classic Aircraft (Gone but not forgotten ... CHANNEL AIRWAYS: Golden jet years), pp. 67/8, Ian Allan Publishing, Hersham, March 2012
  56. ^ Airliner World (Going for Olympic Gold — London's Southend Airport: A Long History/The Booming 1960s), Key Publishing, Stamford, UK, September 2010, pp. 44/5
  57. ^ a b c d e Classic Aircraft (Gone but not forgotten ... CHANNEL AIRWAYS: Well-placed worries), p. 69, Ian Allan Publishing, Hersham, March 2012
  58. ^ a b Channel's Scottish Flyer, Air Transport, Flight International, 16 January 1969, p. 81
  59. ^ Home of the BAC 1-11 on the Web > Enter > Model Number and Customer Code
  60. ^ Channel Contract, Air Transport ..., Flight International, 1 October 1970, p. 516
  61. ^ a b Aeroplane — Airline of the month: Channel Airways, Vol. 112, No. 2867, pp. 6—7, Temple Press, London, 29 September 1966
  62. ^ Aeroplane — Airline of the month: Channel Airways, Vol. 112, No. 2867, p. 7, Temple Press, London, 29 September 1966
  63. ^ Channel Airways de Havilland DH-106 Comet 4B (photo)
  64. ^ All stops to Aberdeen, Flight International, 12 October 1967, p. 595
  65. ^ World Airline Survey ..., Flight International, 10 April 1969, p. 566
  66. ^ Airline Timetable Images — Channel Airways
  67. ^ Airliner World (CHANNEL AIRWAYS: The Golden Fleet — The Bus-stop Service), pp. 63/4, Key Publishing, Stamford, December 2014
  68. ^ Airliner World (CHANNEL AIRWAYS: The Golden Fleet — The Bus-stop Service), p. 65, Key Publishing, Stamford, December 2014
  69. ^ Classic Airliner (The Hawker Siddeley Trident: German internal services), p. 38, Key Publishing, Stamford, 2014
  70. ^ Channel Airways ..., Air Transport ..., 14 January 1971, pp. 46/7
  71. ^ a b c Airliner World (CHANNEL AIRWAYS: The Golden Fleet — Air England), p. 66, Key Publishing, Stamford, December 2014
  72. ^ First for Orientair, Air Transport ..., Flight International, 3 February 1972, p. 164
  73. ^ World Airlines, Flight International, 18 May 1972, Supplement 35
  74. ^ World Airlines, Flight International, 18 May 1972, Supplement 36
  75. ^ The Spirit of Dan-Air, Simons, G.M., GMS Enterprises, Peterborough, 1993, p. 123
  76. ^ Depressed charter rates, World News ..., Flight International, 19 August 1971, p. 272
  77. ^ Channel Airways' ..., Air Transport ..., Flight International, 30 March 1972, p. 438
  78. ^ The Spirit of Dan-Air, Simons, G.M., GMS Enterprises, Peterborough, 1993, pp. 55, 61, 101, 228/9
  79. ^ Airliner World (The Last of Dan-Air's Comets – Additional Comets), Key Publishing, Stamford, UK, November 2010, pp. 71/2
  80. ^ Channel routes redistributed, World News ..., Flight International, 15 June 1972, p. 859
  81. ^ Airline Profile: Number Forty-Three in the Series — Dan-Air, Flight International, 31 May 1973, p. 838
  82. ^ Airline Profile: Number Forty-Three in the Series — Dan-Air, Flight International, 31 May 1973, p. 839
  83. ^ World airlines updated — British Airways Regional Division ..., Flight International, 11 October 1973, p. 594
  84. ^ Alidair, ..., Air Transport, Flight International, 8 June 1972, p. 823
  85. ^ Ipswich sale, Private Flying, Flight International, 16 March 1972, p. 381
  86. ^ "Aircraft lands on beach in fog". The Times (54050). London. 16 January 1958. col B, p. 10. 
  87. ^ ASN Aircraft accident description Vickers 614 Viking 1 G-AHPH — Southend Municipal Airport (SEN)
  88. ^ ASN Aircraft accident description Douglas C-47A-1-DK G-AGZB — St. Boniface Down
  89. ^ ASN Aircraft accident description Vickers 812 Viscount G-AVJZ — Southend Municipal Airport (SEN)
  90. ^ Southend Crash, Air Transport ..., Flight International, 11 May 1967, p. 733
  91. ^ a b c ASN Aircraft accident description Hawker Siddeley HS 748-222 Srs. 2 G-ATEH — Portsmouth Airport (PME)
  92. ^ a b c ASN Aircraft accident description Hawker Siddeley HS 748-222 Srs. 2 G-ATEK — Portsmouth Airport (PME)
  93. ^ Channel Airways Vickers 812 Viscount G-APPU (post-crash photo)
  94. ^ ASN Aircraft accident description Vickers 812 Viscount G-APPU — Southend Municipal Airport (SEN)
  95. ^ Aquaplaning ruled out, Air Transport, Flight International, 4 February 1971, p. 148


  • "Flight International". Sutton, UK: Reed Business Information. ISSN 0015-3710.  (various backdated issues relating to Channel Airways, 1962–1972)
  • "Classic Aircraft (Gone but not forgotten: Channel Airways)". Hersham, UK: Ian Allen Publishing. March 2012: 65–69. ISSN 2049-2081.  (Classic Aircraft online)
  • "Airliner World (CHANNEL AIRWAYS: The Golden Fleet)". Stamford, UK: Key Publishing. December 2014: 60–66. ISSN 1465-6337.  (Airliner World online)
  • Skinner, Stephen (2014). The Hawker Siddeley Trident: UK Trident 1Es. Stamford, UK: Key Publishing. pp. 55–56. ISBN 978-1909786-462.  (Aeroplane Illustrated online)
  • Scholefield, R.A. (1998). Manchester Airport. Sutton Publishing. ISBN 0-7509-1954-X. 
  • Simons, Graham M. (1993). The Spirit of Dan-Air. Peterborough, UK: GMS Enterprises. ISBN 1-870384-20-2. 

External links[edit]