British Island Airways

Herald BIA

Operated from Jul 1970 to Feb 1990

Main Base – Gatwick

British United Island Airways initially emerged as early as November 1968, as a result of a re-organisation of British United Airways which would later see the ‘United’ part of the name being officially dropped in July 1970, when it became a separate entity to the BUA Group of Companies. While BUA would eventually end up in the hands of Caledonian, BIA would go it alone under the controlling board of Commonwealth Shipping who owned more than a 90% share in the company. Services were initially run between the main London airports to the Continent and the Channel Islands with its fleet of Viscounts that were used for flights to the heart of the Continent, Heralds which were mostly used for domestic and cross-Channel passenger services, while its DC-3s would be reserved mostly for hauling cargo. BIA also had a small number of Doves and Herons that had been inherited from Morton Air Services and these were, for the most, used as feeder airliners. However, by 1970 it was for the most, only Heralds that remained.

No doubt due to a significant competition, BIA would not become a regular visitor to the airport until January 1st 1979 when Mike Keegan decided to sell off BAF’s scheduled service licences, these quickly being acquired by BIA. As a condition of the contract, a number of BAF HeraldsBIA were transferred to this airline although most of them would operate under lease. Thus in 1979, BIA aircraft became a regular sight at SEN, especially at the weekend when the Channel Islands services were the busiest. Yet only a year after BIA took over these services, this airline found itself being absorbed into the newly formed Air UK which would continue to fly these Southend routes under its new banner. While the BIA name would survive for another decade, it would have no further dealings with SEN with the exception of a load of cigarettes flown to Rotterdam by 1-11 G-AXLN on July 1st 1985. However, as a somewhat interesting footnote, with the airline’s demise at the beginning of 1990, a number of its former 1-11 aircraft would pass through Southend for maintenance and refinishing before heading off on their delivery flights to Okada Airlines in Nigeria.

 

British Island Airways fleet from 1979 to 1990

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

Handley Page Herald

G-APWE*– 7/70 to 1/80

TFR to Air UK

G-APWF*– 7/70 to 1/80

TFR to Air UK

G-APWG*– 7/70 to 1/80

TFR to Air UK

G-APWH – 7/70 to 1/80

TFR to Air UK

G-APWJ*– 7/70 to 1/80

TFR to Air UK

G-ASBG – 7/73 to 1/80

TFR to Air UK

G-ASKK*– 7/70 to 1/80

TFR to Air UK

G-ASVO*– 1/79 to 10/79

On lease from BAF

G-AVEZ – 7/70 to 1/80

TFR to Air UK

G-AVPN*– 7/73 to 1/80

TFR to Air UK

G-AYMG*– 10/70 to 1/80

TFR to Air UK

G-BAZJ*– 6/73 to 1/80

TFR to Air UK

G-BBXI*– 12/73 to 1/80

TFR to Air UK

G-BCWE*– 1/79 to 10/79

On lease from BAF

G-BDZV*– 1/79 to 9/79

On lease from BAF

G-BEBB*– 1/79 to 10/79

On lease from BAF

G-BEYD*– 4/79 to 9/79

On lease from BAF

G-BEYF*– 1/79 to 9/79

On lease from BAF

G-BEYK*– 3/78 to 1/80

TFR to Air UK

Embraer EMB-110 Bandeirante

G-OAIR – 9/79 to 1/80

TFR to Air UK

G-OBIA*– 9/79 to 1/80

TFR to Air UK

BAC 1-11

G-AWWZ*– 10/85 to 2/90

Sold to Dan-Air

G-AXBB*– 5/82 to 10/89

Sold to Okada Airlines

G-AXLN* – 4/84 to 2/90

Sold to Ryanair

G-AXMG – 5/85 to 2/90

Sold to Ryanair

G-AXMU*– 5/82 to 2/90

Sold to Okada Airlines

G-AXOX*– 5/82 to 2/90

Sold to Okada Airlines

G-AYWB – 4/84 to 2/90

Sold to Ryanair

G-CBIA*– 5/82 to 10/89

Sold to Okada Airlines

 

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Many thanks from the SAAD Admin Team.