G-APTA

Viscount G-APTA

Vickers 702 Viscount – c/n 71

With Channel from Dec 1964 to Feb 1970

Something of an anomaly in the Channel Viscount fleet was this 702 series aircraft which had initially been built to BOAC’s specifications, although the plane itself was to come to Channel via BOAC subsidiaries British West Indian and Bahamas Airways. Nevertheless, while she would be the last 700 series aircraft to be purchased by Channel, she would go on to become one of Channel’s longest serving 700 series Viscounts, providing 4-1/2 years of operational services and lucrative leases for her owner. On December 13th 1964, she was flown to Southend and was readied for service making a test flight on the 21st, although she would not actually enter service until the following summer. She flew again on July 1st 1965 and went into revenue service the following day on a flight between Southend and Ostend. Later in July, she was sent to Manchester to take over the Mediterranean I.T routes from Viscount Zulu Charlie although she would still continue to make flights between Southend and Ostend/Rotterdam in between.

However, by October, the Caribbean sun was calling once again and she headed back to the Bahamas for 1-1/2 years to operate with BWIA, although this time on lease. She would return to SEN for four months in June 1966 for some much needed maintenance but by September, she had left again and Tango Alpha would not return until May 1967 when she was seen at Southend in her Channel livery, albeit with Bahamas titles and the registration VP-BBW (this reg incidentally later being carried by a Boeing 737 which turned up at SEN during August 2009!). Throughout May and June she stood idle at SEN during which time she was prepared for the resumption of services within the UK. Then in July she would again depart on lease, although this time she would remain in the UK with former SEN airline B.K.S. This Viscount was operated in full B.K.S livery until the contract expired in October.

After her return, she would once more enter a period of storage and was not flown again until April 5th 1968. The following day, she would fly a service between Southend and Cardiff (her first revenue flight for Channel in 2-1/2 years) after which, she would then go into service on the Rotterdam bulb charters for the rest of April and most of May. In June 1968, she made the first flight from Liverpool to Ostend (initially without titles) and would spend much of the summer season flying the Liverpool and Manchester to Ostend services in tandem with G-APZC. The year 1968 also saw Tango Alpha operating a number of I.T routes out of Stansted, flying the first services to Malta on May 13th, Tunis on the 21st, Zurich on the 26th and the very first Teesside-Stansted-Milan service on the 27th, all on behalf of Channel’s very own Mediterranean Holidays.

Come October, G-APTA was once again withdrawn from service for the winter and was not reactivated again until the spring of 1969. This would be her last year of service and she would spend the remainder of it mostly flying the routes between Southend/Manchester and the Low Countries, along with the odd I.T charter. Eventually, the end would come and she was permanently withdrawn from service after making a final flight to Ostend on 30th July 1969 and thus, she would retain the distinction of flying the last ever, 700 series Viscount service for Channel. By February the following year she was no more, having been reduced to scrap at Southend along with the two, former Tradair Viscounts.

 

History of G-APTA

7/55 – 12/64

BWIA as VP-TDK

(TFR to parent company BOAC 3/59)

12/64 – 2/70

Channel Airways

Fate

WFU at SEN 7/69 and B/U 2/70

 

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