Continental Air Transport

Viking G-AHPE

Based at Southend from Jan 1960 to Oct 1960

Founders/Directors – Mr. I.J. Maclean, Capt.V.H. Jeffries, Mr. D.E. le Boutillier and Mr. D.E. Picot
(later Mr. T.D. ‘Mike’ Keegan)

This airline initially known as Continental Air Services began life in November 1957 as the operator of a single Viking, with bases at Blackbushe and Rotterdam from where it flew a number of charters, one of which included a contract that involved the ferrying of Dutch shipping crews around Europe. The fleet was then bolstered further with the arrival of another Viking in June, this permitting Continental’s routes to grow further with services eventually being flown to Basle, Le Bourget, Palma and Perpignon. However, as 1959 dawned, Continental would increasingly begin to use Southend Airport as a hub from which it would continue to fly I.T. charters to the Continent.

Continental G-AMGH

Then late in 1959, Continental was put up for sale and as such would become another in a long line of Mike Keegan assets, the airline having been purchased outright by December of that year and by the beginning of 1960, CAS had relocated its base from Blackbushe to Southend along with the bulk of its services. At the same time, its maintenance department which was known as ‘Continental Engineering Services’ was merged with that of B.K.S. Engineering and from early 1960 onwards, all repairs and maintenance would be carried out by this company, although it would continue to run as an entirely separate operation. By May 1960, the airline had seven aircraft which included five Vikings and two C-54s.

Continental DC-4

To better reflect its status as an airline under new ownership, the name was changed slightly to Continental Air Transport and the company swung into action flying a multitude of I.T. flights to Barcelona, Basle, Brussels, Ostend, Le Bourget, Palma, Perpignan, Rimini, Rome, Rotterdam and Tarbes, from Southend while long distance charters were also undertaken, flying to such far off destinations as Australia. However, CAT flights were not exclusive to Southend and during the summer of 1960, a number of aircraft were based at their hub at Manchester where they also operated flights to the Continent.

Continental G-AIKN

However by October 1960, the airline’s financial situation had taken a turn for the worse which was made all the more evident with B.K.S.’ impounding of one of CAT’s Vikings for the non-payment of engineering work. Then, during the first week of the month, services were abandoned or suspended until finally on the 7th, flying ceased altogether. The company was subsequently wound up with most of the Vikings either being WFU at Southend and later used for spares or returning to their lessors. The two C-54 s were subsequently transferred to Kay Rings.

 

Continental Air Transport fleet while based at SEN

Vickers 614 Viking

G-AHPE – 5/58 to 10/60

Sold to Tradair for spares

Vickers 621 Viking

G-AIKN – 1/58 to ?/69

Scrapped at SEN

Vickers 635 Viking

G-AMGH – 10/59 to 7/61

Scrapped at SEN

G-AMNR – 1/60 to 10/60

Leased from Keegan’s Bembridge Air Hire – later B/U at SEN

G-AJBX – 10/59 to 6/60

Sold to Maitland Drewery Ltd

G-AJCE – 3/60 to 10/60

Leased from Keegan’s Bembridge Air Hire

Vickers 636 Viking

G-AJJN – 10/57 to 8/59

Scrapped at SEN 6/62 by Channel Airways

Douglas C-54

G-APCW – 5/60 to 10/60

Transferred to Kay Rings – 10/60

G-APID – 11/59 to 10/60

Transferred to Kay Rings – 12/60

 

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