Macedonian Aviation

Dove G-APZU

Based at Southend from Nov 1972 to Nov 1974

Founder/Director – Mr Roger Collins

Macedonian began life at Luton during the late summer of 1972, later moving to Southend in November with a single aircraft, Dove G-APZU. This aircraft was initially used to fly charters to Europe to such destinations as Copenhagen, Hamburg and Oslo, although it became heavily involved on routes to the Benelux countries and Germany during the winter of ’72. The airline’s second aircraft was soon to arrive in the form of DC-3 G-AMPO, a plane that had previously been employed transporting engineers to the Concorde production facilities in the UK and France. However, this wasn’t to be its biggest claim to fame. Just after the tragic massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics, this Macedonian aircraft was dispatched to Beirut to undertake the daring extraction of a British wedding party just after the Israelis had initiated their response against the terrorist group responsible for this atrocity. On arrival, the aircraft made a quick touchdown under an Israeli, military escort and recovered the rather shaken up group, dropping them off in Cyprus where the celebrations resumed.

With this adrenaline fuelled episode over, the Dakota returned to more mundane services such as plying routes from Southend to the Channel Islands, Amsterdam, Brussels and Ostend which it flew during the winter of 1972/73. The following summer, Macedonian went to work on a number of domestic routes which included Southend – Castle Donnington – Scotland and Coventry – Jersey, while European route Birmingham – Cologne was also part of its schedule. Needless to say, this work load did not decrease during the winter of 1973 which saw this venerable Dakota spending a great deal of its time in the air both on passenger flights and cargo services for companies such as Ford. Obviously, something needed to be done and eventually in Jun 1973, two more aircraft were purchased boosting Macedonian’s operating capability immensely.

DC-3 AMPO

Another incentive for increasing the fleet came as a result of the airline winning a lucrative oil charter contract to fly oil workers between Sumburgh and Aberdeen. As a consequence, two Dakotas were flown from Southend to Scotland where they would be permanently based for the rest of 1974 and thus in the process, this made Aberdeen Macedonian’s second base of operations. While HJ and RA had been dispatched to the north, PO would remain at Southend where it would continue to fly charters around the country and to the near continent, including a new route from Le Havre to Rotterdam. Indeed, the never ending glut of work seemed to bode well for Macedonian’s future until a sudden change in the terms of the oil contract charter brought everything crashing down.

In 1974, the oil companies stipulated that they wanted their crews to be ferried around by turboprop aircraft rather than the piston engined aircraft that Macedonian were equipped with and as a result of this, the company looked into the feasibility of operating Viscounts although ultimately the costs were considered to be too great. By the end of 1974, it was decided instead to sell the airline and its assets and not long after this the Macedonian name disappeared, the oil contract later going to the Viscount equipped Alidair. Somewhat ironically though, this contract would eventually be returned to a Southend based airline after BAF bought out Guernsey Airlines along with these routes, due to the collapse of the aforementioned Alidair.

DC-3 G-AMRA

Macedonian flew their aircraft in two distinct liveries – ‘yellow and orange’ which was used by its Southend based aircraft and ‘green and yellow’ for those based at Aberdeen.

 

Macedonian Highlights…

Jun 1972

Macedonian is registered as an airline and starts flying from Luton

Nov 1972

The airline moves its base to Southend

Feb 1973

The Dove is sold and Macedonian becomes an all DC-3/C-47 operator

Apr 1973

Regular services begin between Southend and Jersey/Ostend

Charters include visits to Birmingham, Cologne, Coventry and Jersey

May 1973

Ad-hoc charters include flights to Bergen, Birmingham, Brussels and Groningen

Sep 1973

Charters undertaken on behalf of Intra Airways between Jersey and Cambridge

Nov/Dec 1973

A large number of charters are undertaken to destinations such as Aberdeen, Brussels, Calais, Cologne, Coventry, Exeter, Geneva, Glasgow, Jersey, Lisbon, Malta, Marseilles, Newcastle and Saarbrucken

Macedonian has to lease another C-47 to keep up with its busy schedule

Mar 1974

Two more C-47s are purchased by the airline bringing the fleet to three aircraft

Apr 1974

The first of two Dakotas arrives at Aberdeen to carry out oil contract charters

Apr/May 1974

The charter season begins again and flights are carried out to Amsterdam, Belfast, Gibraltar, Hamburg, Hurn, Le Havre, Lisbon, Newcastle, Ostend, Rotterdam and Saarbruken

Jun/Jul 1974

The bulk of Macedonian’s work consists of oil contract work between Sumburgh and Aberdeen

Sep 1974

Macedonian buys a fourth C-47, however this aircraft never flies for the airline

Nov 1974

Unable to buy turboprop aircraft for their oil charters due to insufficient capital, the airline is closed down and its assets are sold off

 

Macedonian fleet while based at SEN:

D.H.104 Dove

G-APZU – 10/72 to 2/73

Sold to Fairflight

Douglas DC-3/C-47

G-AMHJ – 3/74 to 11/74

Sold to Humber Aviation Ltd

G-AMPO – 8/72 to 11/74

Sold to Humber Aviation Ltd

G-AMRA – 3/74 to 11/74

Sold to Humber Aviation Ltd

G-AMPZ – 11/73 to 12/73

Leased from Intra Airways

 

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