Orion Airways

B737 Orion

Operated from Apr 1980 to Aug 1988

Main Base – Birmingham

Founders/Directors – Horizon Travel Ltd

This incarnation of Orion Airways began life as the airline wing of holiday company Horizon Travel and thus invariably, had nothing to do with the Viking operator of the late-50s which was also known as Orion. Most of this company’s holiday flights would depart from its home base oforion-1983 Birmingham or from East Midlands, Luton and Manchester to a huge range of European and Mediterranean destinations, initially with a fleet of four Boeing 737-200s. It was between 1981 and 1984 that a number of Orion 737s made their presence felt at Southend after Horizon (Cosmos) had offered winter sun flights from the airport to Corfu and Tenerife via Ostend, where the aircraft would take on extra fuel. These charters would take place from early autumn 1983 until early spring of 1984 and it was two aircraft in particular (G-BGTY and G-BHVG) that would become the most frequent visitors to SEN, although it is likely that other aircraft were used on other occasions. Otherwise, this airline continued to expand its fleet and its operations until being taken over by rival Thomson in 1988 which then later merged Orion with its own operator, Britannia Airways.


Orion Airways fleet from 1983 to 1984

Boeing 737-200

G-BGTV* – 2/80 to 3/85

Sold to Haiti Air as EI-BPV

G-BGTW – 11/80 to 3/85

Sold to Transavia as PH-TVX

G-BGTY* – 3/80 to 6/88

TFR to Thomson/Britannia

G-BHVG* – 1/81 to 3/85

Sold to Eastern Provincial Airways as C-GEPM

G-BHVH* – 2/81 to 12/88

Sold to Vacationair as C-GVRE

G-BHVI – 3/81 to 11/86

Sold to America West Airlines

G-BJBJ – 3/82 to 11/86

Sold to America West Airlines

G-BKHO – 3/83 to 11/85

Sold to America West Airlines

G-BKMS – 3/83 to 12/84

Sold to America West Airlines as N143AW


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.