Fairflight Charters

G-AMFV - Ron Roberts

Operated from May 1969 to Mar 1989

Main Base – Biggin Hill

Founders/Directors – Mr F.G Mulligan, Mr R.G Mulligan, Mr A.G Burdess and Capt C.M Leach

Fairflight Charters (no relation to Don Bennett’s Fairflight) began services as a small, Dove operator which from the outset, hauled mostly light freight loads back and forth across the Channel between France and Fairoaks Airfield. By mid-1970, the fleet had been further expanded upon, with the addition of a single C-47 and another Dove, while this modest outfit had at the same time, relocated its base to Biggin Hill. Operations would now mostly comprise of passenger charters, flown primarily from Gatwick, although cargo flights were still undertaken too. In the summer of the same year, a dock strike saw most of Britain’s independent airlines rising to the challenge of freighting in goods that had previously been brought in by ship and it was this specific period which witnessed a small number of Fairflight aircraft coming and going from Southend.

The first aircraft to put in regular appearances was the sole C-47 (G-AMFV), which for a good part of July and the first week of August flew aG-AROI multitude of cargo flights between Rotterdam and Southend. Then at the end of July, one of Fairflight’s Doves (G-AROI) would also begin to frequent the airport, bringing in smaller, but equally valuable loads from both Germany and Holland. However, only a few days into August the strike ended and the aircraft went back to normal services. While Fairflight aircraft would once again become a rare sight at Southend, visits were not unknown and during the early-70s a small number of freight flights were still undertaken to SEN. Otherwise, the airline would see further expansion and by the middle of 1975, Fairflight had a total of 10 aircraft on its books.

By this time, much of the airline’s work now consisted of oil charter flights in support of drilling operations in the North Sea, with services being flown mostly to and from Scotland or Norway and as a result of further growth, two, Fairflight owned airlines would emerge during 1977 and 1978 respectively – Air Ecosse (another SEN regular) and Air Shetland, although these two airlines were later merged with the Air Ecosse name surviving. While Ecosse eventually moved on to freight operations before being sold off in 1985, Fairflight would begin to offer leasing services, executive flights and engineering services. However in 1989, this concern would be taken over by what would later become Gill Airways and while the airline itself was absorbed into this company, the Fairflight name would continue as an engineering firm for several years to come.

 

Fairflight fleet during 1970

De Havilland Dove

G-ARFZ – 3/70 to 2/73

DBR at Biggin Hill – 23/2/73

G-AROI – 5/69 to 5/80

Sold in Denmark as OY-AJR

Douglas Dakota

G-AMFV – 6/90 to 9/70

Sold to C-47 Aviation

 

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, please post submissions below or contact us on saadinfomail@gmail.com

Many thanks from the SAAD Admin Team.