GB Airways

Viscount G-BBVH

Operated from Sep 1931 to Oct 2007

Main Base – Gibraltar – later Gatwick

Founder/Director – Sir George Gaggero

This extremely long lived airline began life as a postal courier flying mail and parcels from Gibraltar to nearby cities and towns. While starting out as an independent, Gibraltar Airways (as it was then known) eventually became a part of the huge, national carrier, BEA who bought a majority share in the company in 1947. This witnessed the opening of a number of Spanish and North African routes that were initially operated with Dragon Rapides and later Dakotas, flown under the renamed brand of Gibair. With the advent of the 1970s came jet equipment in the shape of Tridents and later Boeing 737s which were operated on lease by Britannia under the new name of GB Airways or GB Leisure, however, most of the above would have little to do with SEN or its history.

In fact, there was one aircraft alone that would make a good number of regular visits to Southend, especially between 1985 and 1988. This particular 737 G-BECHaircraft was Viscount G-BBVH, which would often visit Jadepoint Engineering for maintenance and overhauls as and when required. She was also at SEN when she was painted up in a new GB livery during June 1988. However, these visits would come to a rather abrupt halt when Victor Hotel was DBR in a wheels up landing in Tangier during November 1988 and that would be the last that SEN would see of her. Needless to say, a Southend Viscount would go to the rescue in the shape of Hot Air’s Viscount G-BAPF which remained on lease until April 1989. Otherwise, Southend would receive the odd visit by GB Leisure 737s during the mid 1990s for refinishing purposes.

 

GB Airways fleet from 1985 to 1992

Vickers Viscount

G-BBVH – 5/81 to 11/88

DBR landing at Tangiers 23/11/88

G-BAPF – 11/88 to 4/89

Leased by Hot Air/Sean T Hulley

Boeing 737

G-BECG – 2/94 to 11/95

Sold to Easyjet

G-BECH – 5/94 to 11/95

Leased from Britannia/Sobelair

 

Do you have any other, interesting snippets of information about this airline’s SEN history or indeed, any pictures or paraphernalia that you would like to share? If so, then please contact us on saadinfomail@gmail.com

Many thanks from the SAAD Admin Team.