Tradewinds Airways

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Canadair CL-44D-4 of Tradewinds Airways at London Gatwick Airport in 1974 with the rear fuselage swung open to allow freight loading

Tradewinds Airways Ltd (IATA: IKICAO: IKACall sign: Tradewinds ) was a former British all-cargo airline. Its head office was located in Timberham House, on the property of London Gatwick Airport in Crawley, England.[1]


Tradewinds was founded in November 1968 after the collapse of Transglobe Airways under the name BOBWOOD and flew charter flights from its base at London Gatwick (LGW) airport, using Canadair CL-44-D4 aircraft previously operated by Transglobe.

In January 1969 the name was changed to Tradewinds Airways but since Seaboard World Airlines (a USA based company) had a large interest in Tradewinds, the British Government would not issue a license. By April 1969 the majority of the stock was passed on to British nationals and the company was able to start operations later in 1969.

Tradewinds flew a lot of relief flights to Nigeria during the civil war with Biafra and that allowed the company to expand in Africa, the Middle East and the Far East. Tradewinds also flew numerous flights for the UK Ministry of Defence. These military flights included the transport of missiles to the NATO arctic test ranges. Tradewinds also held the exclusive contract for the movement of Formula One racing cars. As part of this operation, charter services would be arranged for two of the CL-44's in South America and flight and ground crews were stationed in Brasil for two weeks each year whilst the Grand Prix were taking place. Tradewinds was also a specialist carrier of bloodstock, pioneering the use of special stalls that allowed horse to travel safely and without stress. Many champion race horses were transported in this way. Other livestock transport was also undertaken including sheep, goats and pigs. Tradewinds ran its own warehouse at London Gatwick Airport, a privilege accorded only to British Caledonian and British Airways. All other airlines had to use either Gatwick Handling services or one of these other carriers for handling.

Later history and closure[edit]

The company was taken over in 1977 by the Lonrho Group and began to replace the CL44's with used Boeing 707-320C freighters. With those aircraft, flights to Chicago and Toronto were begun. A December 1983 Tradewinds timetable lists scheduled weekly nonstop flights between London Gatwick Airport and Chicago O'Hare Airport and also between London Stansted Airport and Khartoum as well as "split charter services" flights between London Gatwick and Accra (operated on behalf of Gemini Airlines) and also between London Stansted and Kano, Lagos, Mogadishu, Nairobi and Port Harcourt.[2] Tradewinds previously operated twice-weekly scheduled services to Larnaca in Cyprus on behalf of Cyprus Airways, which eventually were operated by that carrier when they purchased CL-44 5B-DAN. Tradewinds then acted as the General Sales Agent, Flight Operations Department and Warehouse for scheduled cargo flying to Cyprus on Cyprus Airways' services. Although the scheduled carrier held licences for services from Cyprus to many other destinations in the middle east, including one to Dubai that regularly appeared in international schedule guides, the economics were insufficient for these services to take place. These services were part of a major export drive by the Cypriot Government to supply northern Europe with fresh fruit and vegetable produce every night. As such, services would operate via Basle and occasionally Manchester. 5B-DAN was maintained after sale by Tradan Engineering Ltd at the glider airfield of Lasham in Hampshire, a joint venture between Tradewinds Airways Limited and Dan-Air. Experience gained from these operations was utilised in Tradewinds' own scheduled operations, which led to the formation of another joint venture, Sudan Air Cargo with Sudan Airways, to operate twice-weekly Boeing 707 freighter services from London Gatwick to Khartoum. With the new services, the company grew to be the largest British pure cargo airline during the early 80's, but the Lonrho Group ran into financial trouble and was forced to sell Tradewinds to Homac Aviation. Lack of capital did not allow the 707 aircraft to be replaced when they became subject to new noise regulations and the airline ceased operations on September 28, 1990.[3]


Canadair CL-44[4]

Registration Model Serial Number Years Operated Notes
G-AWDK CL44-D4-1 23 02/06/1969 - 08/01/1979 Sold to Bayu Indonesia Air
G-AWGS CL44-D4-1 27 02/06/1969 - 03/01/1980 Sold to Westinghouse
G-AWGT CL44-D4-1 30 02/06/1969 - 04/22/1978 Sold to Cyprus Airways (As 5B-DAN)
G-AWOV CL44-D4-1 32 07/23/1970 - 12/15/1977 Sold to Transvalair
G-AWSC CL44-D4-1 26 10/31/1970 - 12/22/1974 written off after heavy landing in Lusaka, Zambia 12/22/1974
G-BCWJ CL44-D4-6 28 02/01/1975 - 07/06/1978 written off after heavy landing in Nairobi, Kenya 07/06/1978

Boeing 707-320C[5]

Registration Model Serial Number Years Operated Notes
G-AWHU 707-379C 19821/718 10/01/1989 - 08/02/1990
G-BFEO 707-323C 18691/357 10/14/1977 - 04/14/1986
G-BFZF 707-321C 18718/368 06/01/1985 - 01/01/1986 Sold to Greyhound and re-registered as G-BNGH
G-BNGH 707-321C 18718/368 05/01/1986 - 11/05/1989 Leased from Greyhound
G-SAIL 707-323C 18690/356 09/25/1978 - 04/21/1986
G-TRAD 707-321C 18717/366 01/24/1984 - 04/16/1986
G-WIND 707-323C 18689/354 03/02/1978 - 03/18/1982
N5772T 707-331C 19213/613 08/28/1977 - 03/30/1978 Leased from TWA
HB-IEI 707-328C 19521/584 11/14/1989 - 03/01/1990 Leased from Homac Aviation

External links[edit]


  1. ^ World Airline Directory. Flight International. 20 March 1975. 505. "Head Office: Gatwick Airport, Horley, Surrey."
  2. ^
  3. ^ Airlines Remembered by BI Hengi, Publisher Midland Publishing
  4. ^ Production List
  5. ^ 707 Production List