Air Condor

Air Condor

Based at Southend from Mar 1960 to Dec 1960

Founders/Directors – Mr R.A Short and Mr Cutler

Although Air Condor quickly became a familiar sight at SEN during the year 1960, this airline would actually last little more than nine months, during which time it operated a total of two Bristol 170 Freighters and a single Vickers Viking. Starting out as Blackbushe based Shortcut Airlines, this company later reformed at SEN as Air Condor with a single aircraft to its name, namely Bristol 170 G-AGPV – the very first production Bristol Freighter. This rebranded company then launched itself into a glut of charter work carrying passengers, freight and livestock between Southend and the near Continent and Ireland. However after just four weeks of operations at Southend, their sole aircraft would be involved in an accident while taxing out to take off from SEN. More details can be found on the ‘Prangs’ page.

Needless to say, with the damage to PV being too extensive to repair at Southend, this immediately necessitated the requirement for a replacement aircraft which arrived in the shape of North-South Airline’s B170 G-AHJD. This aircraft would then remain with Air Condor until such time that Papa Victor was airworthy again, although JD was still unable to fulfil Air Condor’s charter commitments and as a result, Airwork ended up leasing this company a Vickers Viking to get them through the summer months. During the high season, both aircraft were kept busy flying from Southend and Manchester to Ostend and Rotterdam. Meanwhile, the Viking also made trips to Dublin and Basle, while the B170 could often be seen at Glasgow.

Eventually, PV returned to Air Condor and resumed her charter commitments, while JD was sent back to her rightful owner. Sufficed to say, flightscontinued into the autumn although as the year wore on these would gradually become fewer in number and as a result of this, the airline began to struggle. However, Air Condor still looked to the future with rather grandiose plans that involved flying charters with larger equipment such as DC-4/C-54 aircraft, which went as far as witnessing G-APID being rolled out at Field’s (Gatwick) in Air Condor colours although this aircraft would ultimately not enter service. Sadly, any attempts to extend this airline’s longevity were destined to come to a rather abrupt end and with little in the way of work to sustain operations, Air Condor finally went into administration during December 1960.

With thanks to Peter Clark for helping with images for this page

 

Air Condor fleet while based at SEN

Bristol 170 Freighter

G-AGPV – 3/60 to 11/60

Sold to Trans European Airways

G-AHJD – 4/60 to 8/60

Leased from North-South Airlines

Vickers Viking

G-AKTU – 6/60 to 11/60

Leased from Airwork

Douglas DC-4

G-APID – 11/60 to 1/61

Leased from Continental Air Services/Kay Rings – NTU

 

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