Aviation Traders ATL.98A Carvair – c/n 17/18342

With BAF from Apr 1969 to Dec 1975

Given Name – ‘Fat Albert’

Over the years, Interocean had provided a number of C-54 and DC-4 (modified C-54s) in lieu of part payment for their Carvair conversions and this particular aircraft would be the very last. Arriving at Stansted as LX-IOF on February 4th 1964, the decision was taken to convert her, despite the fact that ATEL’s order book for Carvairs was currently empty. Thus, the construction of Carvair 17 would begin, culminating in an extremely long period of storage, which ended almost 5 years later when BAF added her to their fleet in April 1969. With Carvair conversions having long since been abandoned and Alpha India having been used as a source of spares for other Carvairs, the engineers at ATEL, nevertheless did what they could to source parts and get this aircraft airborne. Finally on April 2nd 1969, she took to the air for the first time and was then delivered to Southend two days later.

Like most of the other Carvairs that entered service with BAF, she was initially put to work on the cross-Channel routes being seen at both Ostend and Caravir G-AXAIRotterdam during the early 1970s. However, as car ferry services began to wither, around the spring of 1973, Alpha India was equipped with one of the largest passenger cabins ever fitted to a Carvair and in this new layout, she could now haul 65 passengers with space for cargo in the nose, a condition of the operating licence which still stated that BAF could only operate ferry services in a mixed freight/pax configuration. The cabin was also redesigned to be more comfortable with a slightly more luxurious interior and a sound system for playing calming music throughout the entire, passenger area. It was also around this time that she received the second BAF livery.

Quite naturally, it wasn’t long before Alpha India was flying passenger charters from a number of British airports to other, less trafficked destinations, at least by Carvair standards. In June 1973, she was seen operating a passenger flight from Southampton in her new, 65 seat layout, while a year later, she could be seen at a number of European destinations including Dusseldorf where she appeared during the summer of 1974. Nineteen seventy five would see a temporary re-opening of the Basle route from Southend and as such, AXAI would be instrumental in flying these services. However, the Carvair’s end was quickly approaching and by the end of 1975, the decision was taken to remove Alpha India from service. By December, this aircraft had been sold to SF Air and she was summarily stripped down by ATEL for use as a pure freighter before being ferried to Nice on January 7th 1976.


History of G-AXAI

4/69 to 12/75

British Air Ferries

12/75 to 11/79


11/79 to 2/80

Airtime Corp as N55243

2/80 to 6/88

Aero Union Corp

6/88 to 8/92

Academy Airlines

8/92 to 2/93

City of Naples Airport Authority


WFU and later B/U at Naples, Florida 2/93

The cockpit and several parts are rumoured to still exist


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Many thanks from the SAAD Admin Team.