Maersk/Star Air


Operated from Jan 1970 to Sep 2005

Country of Origin – Denmark

Founders/Directors – A.P. Möller-Maersk Group

While today Maersk is more commonly known for being the world’s largest shipping company, for more than 35 years, it also ran an airline alongside its maritime concerns. Starting out in 1969 with De Havilland Heron and Hawker Siddeley H.S 748 equipment that had been acquired after a buy outmaersk-hs125-oy-dkp of Falck Air, the management then added its own Hawker Siddeley H.S. 125 jets which had initially been used for corporate services and were then later transferred to charter work on primarily domestic routes. Fokker F-27s were quickly added to the fleet and by the end of 1970 seven aircraft were flying for the company. However, it wasn’t until January 1st 1970 that Maersk Air officially became an airline in its own right and then sought to purchase or lease more aircraft that would be engaged on charters, wet leasing contracts, inclusive tours and oil rig flights for Maersk Oil, the latter also employing Bell 212 helicopters that began joining the fleet from 1975.

However, Maersk was still restricted to operating domestic or international charter flights only and began looking into how it could start scheduled services to other countries. In 1984, this issue was resolved when EEC rules concerning flights within maersk-dhc-7-oy-mbcEurope were changed to permit any operator to fly between two regional airports that were more than 400km apart. Already having one of their primary bases at Billund, Maersk then sought out other regional airports overseas resulting in the airline beginning what would eventually become a 5-year relationship with Southend, not to mention its first, international scheduled service route. The first flight took place on November 29th 1984 with a De Havilland D.H.C.7 being selected to operate the twice daily route although being as it was designated a Billund to London flight, train tickets also had to be sold so that passengers could complete their journey. In fact, Maersk went as far as to set up a check in facility and lounge at Liverpool St. station to facilitate this. However, SAS and BA quickly began to conspire in an attempt to prevent Maersk from selling tickets to London by convincing I.A.T.A. to remove the ‘London’ title from SEN’s official name.

Sufficed to say, initially the route was not a major success and Maersk would just about break even. As such, flights weremaersk-737-oy-aps later reduced from twice to once per day excluding weekends. The occasional Boeing 737 would turn up however, on the odd rare occasion when passenger numbers were unusually high or when the route’s Dash-7 had gone tech. The very first visit made by the type was on July 4th 1985 when OY-APS replaced a Dash-7 due to serviceability issues. However, at the end of the ’80s, the route picked up again and flights went back to twice a day. Later in 1988, Fokker F-50s would usurp the Dash-7s and became a permanent feature on the BLL-SEN route until these flights were finally pulled and moved to Gatwick in 1990, not as a result of poor passenger numbers, but because Maersk simply wanted to fly larger aircraft to the UK and the type specified, could not be operated from SEN’s short runway.

Meanwhile, the Möller-Maersk Group had added another airline to its list of assets during 1987 with the purchase of Alkair. This airline was star-air-f-27-oy-srrsubsequently re-branded as Star Air and was in the very early stages put to work flying passenger charters. However, it would quickly transform into a cargo only subsidiary of Maersk Air with three leased, cargo configured, Fokker F-27 aircraft which would carry Maersk colours and logos albeit with Star Air titles. Rather than flying scheduled freight services this company instead became involved with on demand charters for most of the large courier companies such as Fed Ex, TNT and UPS, this being one of the main reasons why Star Air’s aircraft became a regular sight at Southend. Flights would operate to SEN from the late 1980s through to the early-’90s.


Maersk Air fleet from 1985 to 1990

(Only those aircraft that were likely to have been seen at SEN are listed)

Hawker Siddeley H.S.125

OY-APM – 6/72 to 11/85

Sold to Aravia Ltd as G-BROD

OY-DKP* – 4/67 to 5/72

Sold to Imperial Tobacco Group as G-AZVS

OY-MCL* – 7/93 to 12/97

Sold to International Aviation Ltd as N10YJ

OY-MPA – 12/85 to 7/93

Sold to Uni Air S.A as F-GODB

De Havilland DHC-7 (Dash-7)

OY-MBC* – 4/81 to 8/88

To PK Air Finance

OY-MBD* – 7/81 to 4/89

Sold to Leasair as N8102N

OY-MBE* – 2/82 to 4/89

Sold to Leasair as N8110N

OY-MBF – 2/86 to 8/88

Leased from Schreiner Airways

OY-MBG – 8/86 to 8/88

Leased from Schreiner Airways

Boeing 737-200

OY-APP – 9/80 to 5/87

TFR to Inter European Airways as G-BNGK

OY-APS* – 11/80 to 7/93

Sold to LACSA as N251LS

OY-MBV – 12/81 to 11/90

Sold to Polaris Holdings as N164PL

OY-MBZ – 11/81 to 9/93

Sold to Aero Costa Rica as N170PL

Fokker F-50

OY-MMG* – 6/88 to 9/99

Sold to Flying Enterprise as SE-KTC

OY-MMH – 6/88 to 10/99

Sold to Flying Enterprise as SE-KTD

OY-MMI* – 7/88 to 8/00

Sold to Celsius Aviation as ES-AFK

OY-MMJ – 7/88 to 12/99

Sold to VLM Airlines as OO-VLO

OY-MMS – 2/89 to 10/03

Sold to Air Baltic as YL-BAW

OY-MMT* – 3/89 to 11/98

Sold to Air Baltic as YL-BAR

OY-MMV* – 2/89 to 9/98

Sold to QIP Aviation as G-BXZW


Star Air fleet from 1987 to 1991

Fokker F-27

OY-APE – 9/87 to 5/88

Crashed at Hannover 26/5/88

OY-CCL* – 9/87 to 10/89

TFR from Alkair

OY-CCK – 9/87 to 5/88

Leased from Satair

OY-CCL – 6/86 to 9/87

Leased from Fokker

OY-SRA* – 9/88 to 9/94

Sold to Channel Express as G-BNIZ

OY-SRC – 1/91 to 10/94

Sold to Myanmar Airways as XY-AEY

OY-SRR* – 4/88 to 7/94

Sold to the Myanmar Air Force as 5001 XY-AE

OY-SRZ – 2/89 to ?/92

Leased from the American Finance Group


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