Meredith Air Transport

Trek Lugdiens G-AHOW

Based at Southend from Oct 1952 to Nov 1954

Founder/Director – Mr W.E. Hamilton

From humble beginnings began an airline that would eventually expand to become one of Britain’s biggest aviation names during the late 1950s. Meredith Air Transport started business in 1952 with one C-47 – G-AMSU which was primarily used to fly 12 day trips between Amsterdam, Düsseldorf and Frankfurt to South Africa with all flights originating from Southend. Indeed, this airline had formed associations with a number of companies including South African Tropic Airways (the director of Meredith once having been on this airline’s board) and the Davies and Newman partnership (that would later go on to create the Dan-Air leviathan).

However, by the end of 1953, Meredith owed a substantial amount of money and a deal was struck with the airline’s financial backers Davies and Newman who received the Dakota in lieu of the debt, this aircraft incidentally becoming the first aeroplane to enter the Dan-Air fleet. The following August, Meredith bought its first Vickers Viking although this aircraft was subsequently transferred to South African associate company Trek Airways, a business that had been formed by the directors of the aforementioned Tropic. At this point Meredith again found itself without aircraft, although it did eventually buy another Viking October 1954, but within a month of her purchase, she too had been passed on to Trek, an airline that would continue to visit SEN on a regular basis.

Finally in November 1954, the airline re-branded itself as African Air Safaris although it remained without aircraft until May 1956 when it procured H.P. Hermes G-ALDM. However, this aircraft seemingly never entered service and was instead leased to Britavia, once again leaving AAS without equipment until April 1958, when a Viking joined the company and operations finally began in earnest. Needless to say in the meantime, Meredith and its African Air Safaris successor would continue to act as an agent for Trek’s Vikings that would continue to fly the long distance route between Southend and Johannesburg until 1958, when they were finally replaced by DC-4s.

With thanks to Chris Garton for help with suggestions for edits to this page.

 

Meredith Air Transport fleet while based at SEN

Douglas C-47 Dakota

G-AMSU – 10/52 to 6/53

TFR to Dan-Air

Vickers 498 Viking

G-AHOT – 8/54 to 9/54

Sold to Trek Airways as ZS-DKH

G-AHOW – 10/54 to 11/54

Sold to Trek Airways as ZS-DKI

 

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