While large turboprop aircraft may have well made up the backbone of the HeavyLift fleet, beginning at the end of the ’80s, an assortment of pure jet G-HEVYaircraft were also leased or procured. The first type to arrive came in the shape of four Boeing 707s, with G-HEVY being the most frequent visitor to Southend. This aircraft was the only one of its type to have actually been purchased while the rest were taken up on short term leases from Buffalo Airways in the U.S. However, other turboprops would also enter service, in particular the ungainly looking Antonov An-12, three of which were leased during the mid-1990s. While two of these An-12s would only remain with HeavyLift for a short time, LZ-BAE stayed for almost a year and was rumoured to have visited SEN at one point, but this rumour has since been quashed.

During the last few years of its life, HeavyLift entered into partnerships with other airlines such as Air Foyle and Volga Dnepr and as such, began to use even larger equipment, starting with the Ilyushin Il-76 and later, moving on to the vast Antonov An-124. LZ-BAEWhile Heavylift’s Il-76s could just about get in and out of SEN, none of its aircraft were ever seen at the airport, while the An-124s are quite naturally beyond the scope of this website. With most of its older jet equipment gone by late 1996, HeavyLift looked to a replacement and by the end of 1998, it had purchased three Airbus 300 freighters that had been fitted with large, side cargo doors. One of these aircraft (G-HLAA) put in an appearance at SEN just three months before the company’s collapse and to this day, remains as the the only A300 to have ever operated from Southend. These aircraft would ultimately soldier on until the demise of the company in September 2002.

Robin J. Pinnock’s video of G-HEVY at SEN during the 1990s

Click here to view


HeavyLift Jet Fleet

(Only those aircraft that were likely to have been seen at SEN are included)

Boeing 707

G-HEVY – 1/90 to 3/96

Sold to Ariana Afghan Airlines as EL-LAT

N108BV – 9/89 to 10/90

Leased from Buffalo Airways

N110BV – 8/90 to 10/90

Leased from Buffalo Airways

N2215Y – 3/89 to 5/89

Leased from Buffalo Airways

Airbus A300

G-HLAA – 7/98 to 9/02

Sold in the U.S as N740SC – 6/03

G-HLAB – 2/98 to 9/02

Sold to Aero Union as XA-TWQ

G-HLAC – 11/98 to 9/02

Sold to Aero Union as XA-TVU


Do you have any other, interesting snippets of information about these aircraft or indeed, any pictures that you would like to share? If so, then please contact us on saadinfomail@gmail.com

Many thanks from the SAAD Admin Team.