Air Links/Transglobe

Air Links

Operated from May 1959 to Nov 1968

Main Base – Gatwick

Founder/Director – Capt Denis Martin

Air Links was first registered as a going concern in August 1958, although it would not actually begin operations until spring the following year. While it may have started life as a Gatwick based airline, it would in fact fly its first ever commercial service from Southend Airport on July 22nd using Douglas Dakota G-APUC. Indeed, all through August a number of charters would be flown from Southend to Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Continent. However over the next few years, Southend would receive few visits, although this wasn’t to be the last that SEN would see of this airline. In 1963, Air Links once more began to use SEN and in August 1962, this company signed a maintenance contract with Tradair who would from this point on look after their Hermes airliners. Three aircraft eventually arrived although two of them were quickly withdrawn and then scrapped to provide G-ALDA with a source of spares.

It was on December 7th 1962 that Hermes Delta Alpha took to the air again on a positioning flight from Southend to Gatwick where she would eventually be used for crew training. She wouldn’t return again until January 8th, declaring an emergency on the approach to Southend with only three engines functioning properly. With the engine repaired, she returned once more to Gatwick on the 17th. While Air Links would continue to make use of SEN’s engineering facilities it wasn’t until the end of 1964 that operations would resume, this time with newly acquired Argonaut G-ALHW providing her services and making 18 return trips between Southend and Rotterdam. As such, the procurement of several Argonauts had made the sole remaining Hermes redundant and she was sent to Southend in December where she was put into open storage.

Services would continue infrequently into 1965 and on May 15th, the first of Air Links Britannias G-ATGD arrived at Southend for maintenance work and painting. However, the ATLB was allegedly not very happy with this turn of events, so Air Links reorganised and became TransGlobe, this aircraft departing in its new guise to Gatwick on July 30th with the airline officially changing its name two days later on August 1st. The airline’s second Britannia would arrive at Southend approximately one month after the first and was handed over to the company on December 12th. However, while the Britannia fleet was slowly increasing, the sole remaining Hermes that had been languishing at SEN for a year was sadly scrapped during the same month and by November 1965, all of its Argonauts had been removed from service too.

Needless to say, while SEN operations would cease completely during 1965, being part of ATEL’s Britannia Pool (see the ‘ATEL’ menu for more details) the airline’s Britannias would continue to frequent the hangars of Aviation Traders from time to time until the summer of 1967 when TransGlobe bought out Gatwick based engineering company Air Couriers. While this airline would eventually go on to purchase a number of CL-44s, they would ultimately play no part in SEN’s history. The airline finally collapsed in November 1968 when its major share holders took the decision to wind up the company.

With thanks to Richard Goring for help with information relevant to this page.

 

Air Links fleet from 1959 to 1968

(Only those aircraft that are likely to have visited SEN are listed below)

Douglas C-47 Dakota

G-AMGD – 11/60 to 4/61

Sold to Skyways

G-APUC – 5/59 to 4/63

Sold to Shackleton Aviation

G-AMKE – 7/61 to 10/62

Sold to Rhodesian Air Services as VP-YUU

Handley Page Hermes

G-ALDA*– 8/62 to 12/64

WFU at Southend 12/64 – B/U 12/65 with part of the fuselage becoming a workman’s hut

G-ALDL*– 8/62 to 12/62

NTU – Flown to SEN and WFU – B/U 12/62

G-ALDT*– 8/62 to 12/62

NTU – Flown to SEN and WFU – B/U 12/62

Canadair C-4 Argonaut

All Argonauts were transferred from Air Links to Transglobe during August 1965

G-ALHI*– 7/64 to 1/66

WFU Redhill 10/65 and TFR to Stansted Fire School 1/66

G-ALHM*– 7/64 to 9/66

WFU Redhill 11/65 and later sold to British Midland for spares use – Reg cancelled 10/66 as B/U

G-ALHT*– 1/64 to 10/65

WFU Redhill and B/U 10/65

G-ALHW*– 7/64 to 3/66

WFU Redhill 10/65 and later sold to British Midland for spares use – Reg cancelled 10/66 as B/U

Bristol Britannia

G-ANCC – 5/66 to 10/68

Sold to International Aviation Services

G-ANCH – 12/66 to 9/67

Leased from Ghana Airways

G-ATGD*– 5/65 to 9/69

TFR from Air Links to Transglobe 8/65 – Sold to African Safari as 5X-UVT

G-ATLE*– 6/65 to 12/69

TFR from Air Links to Transglobe 11/65 – Sold to International Aviation Services

 

Do you have any other, interesting snippets of information about this airline’s SEN history 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.