Gulf Aviation

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Gulf Aviation was a Bahrain-based charter and scheduled airline that evolved into Gulf Air. Its formal incorporation in 1950 was followed by constant change as the Persian Gulf economies developed. The airline operation became a subsidiary company branded as Gulf Air on 1 January 1974.[citation needed]


Gulf Aviation Company was established in Bahrain in 1949. The founder was a former RAF pilot, Freddie Bosworth. Bosworth's original business plan was based on establishing scheduled feeder and cabotage services between some of the Arab States of the Persian Gulf, alongside charter/air taxi services, aircraft handling services and flying training services. Scheduled operations based in Bahrain commenced on 5 July 1950 to Doha (Qatar) and Sharjah (Trucial States, latterly UAE) and on 28 September 1950 to Dhahran (Saudi Arabia).[1] The original fleet comprised several Ansons[1] and, briefly, a de Havilland DH.86B Express.[1] The de Havilland Dove[1] was selected to replace these, but Bosworth was killed on a demonstration flight at Croydon on 9 June 1951 whilst preparing to introduce the type into service.[2]

During the course of the 1950s de Havilland DH.114 Heron and Douglas C-47/Dakota aircraft joined the fleet.[3][a]

In 1967 the airline introduced Fokker F27 aircraft and so was able to operate current generation scheduled services with pressurised, air conditioned aircraft and cabin service. The Heron aircraft were replaced with Beechcraft B80 Queen Airs.[4]

Ownership and subsidiary companies[edit]

Gulf Aviation was established as a limited company on 24 March 1950. Following the death of Bosworth in 1951, BOAC took a shareholding through its subsidiary BOAC Associated Companies.[1]

Subsidiary companies[edit]

Gulf Helicopters was established in February 1973. Gulf Aviation held 74% of the shares with British Airways Helicopters holding the remaining 26%.[5]

Aircraft operated[edit]

Type Number In Service Date Out of Service Date (if before 31 Dec 73) Notes
Avro Anson 2[6] Replaced by De Havilland Dove
de Havilland DH.86B Express 1[6] April 1951 August 1951 Replaced by De Havilland Dove
de Havilland Dove 4[7]
de Havilland Heron 5[6] 1967 Replaced on PDO contract by Beech B80
Douglas C-47/Dakota 5[8] Commonly referred to as 'DC-3' in most publications
Fokker F27-200/400 Friendship 2[6] January 1967
BAC One-Eleven 400 2 November 1969 [citation needed]
Vickers VC10-1101 1 1 April 1970 Operated by BOAC in Gulf Aviation colours on a service to London.[6]
Beechcraft Queen Air B80 2[8] January 1967 Replacements for DH Heron. 5-year contract to support PDO operations in Oman.
Shorts Skyvan 4[6] 1971
Britten-Norman Islander 2[6] December 1971

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On 19 February 1958, a Gulf Aviation de Havilland Heron (registered G-APJS) crashed into a hill in Italy during bad weather conditions. The aircraft had been on a ferry flight from Athens to Rome with three crew members on board, all of which were killed.[9]
  • On 10 July 1960, the thirteen passengers and three crew on board a Gulf Aviation Douglas C-47 (registered VT-DGS) died when the aircraft was lost during a flight from Doha to Sharjah. As the wreckage could not be located, the cause for this worst accident in the history of the airline could not be determined.[10]
  • On 17 August 1966, a Gulf Aviation C-47 (registered G-AOFZ) crashed after take-off from Muscat/Azaiba aerodrome due to an operating error. The aircraft was unable to climb or maintain altitude after take off due to lack of engine power on the port engine, and crashed 560 yds from the end of the departure runway (rwy 06.) All 20 people on board (18 passengers and two crew) survived the accident.[11]


  1. ^ C-47/Dakota aircraft converted for airline use are often referred to as DC-3 aircraft.


  1. ^ a b c d e "Brevities". Flight International. 2/11/51. pp. 577–578. Check date values in: |date=, |year= / |date= mismatch (help)
  2. ^ "Airline profile Gulf Air – Going for Gold". Aviation News Magazine.
  3. ^ Flight International. 1957. p. 604. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ Flight International. 9/2/67. p. 198. Check date values in: |date=, |year= / |date= mismatch (help); Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ "Middle East Market". Flight International. 13/3/75. Check date values in: |date=, |year= / |date= mismatch (help)
  6. ^ a b c d e f g "UK and Irish Airlines Since 1945 - Gulf Aviation". Aviation News. 65 (9): 716. September 2003.
  7. ^ Flight International. 1958-04-18. p. 538. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ a b "A. and C. licensed engineer". Flight International. 18 July 1968.
  9. ^ Information about the 1958 Gulf Aviation crash at the Aviation Safety Network
  10. ^ Information about the 1960 Gulf Aviation crash at the Aviation Safety Network
  11. ^ Information about the 1966 Gulf Aviation crash at the Aviation Safety Network

External links[edit]

Media related to Gulf Aviation at Wikimedia Commons