Keegan Enterprises

Operated from c.1952 to c.1983

Founder/Director – T.D. ‘Mike’ Keegan

Thomas Dennis ‘Mike’ Keegan is one name that always comes to mind whenever Southend Airport’s history is brought up. While ‘Mike’ may have started his relationship with the airport as far back as the early ’50s with Crewsair which then continued on and off through to the ’80s with BAF, he also had other separate concerns that he ran alongside his bigger interests. Some of his larger acquisitions over the years included African Air Safaris, BAF, BKS, Continental Air Services and of course the Stansted based Transmeridian whose aircraft would become regular visitors to SEN. However, while these airlines have been covering in depth elsewhere on this site, the main purpose of this particular page is to cover Mike’s lesser known companies and the aircraft that were registered under their names. While some of these aircraft were overhauled and even occasionally kept at SEN, he also retained facilities at Baginton, Luton and Panshanger where many of them were actually based.

Some of Keegan’s smaller companies that were run from Southend or that had Southend ties included Airline Air Spares which provided parts and spares to the aircraft industry while Keegan Aviation (KGA), Keegan Leasing and Management and Trans World Leasing (TWL) all concerned themselves with the hiring and leasing of aircraft. Mike even operated a small number of non-aviation related concerns including a motor sport company known as ‘Hawke Racing’ which provided an F3 car for his son Rupert who was something of a whiz behind the steering wheel. Finally, a number of holding companies were founded with which he would register his various assets. These entities included: Bembridge Air Hire (BAH), Bembridge Car Hire (BCH) and Panavia Ltd (PVL) while Keystone Finance, Killyspae Ltd and Staymond Investments would emerge during the ’70s mostly as holding companies for BAF’s Malaysian Heralds. Meanwhile, several types were registered in Mike’s own name (TDK). Please note that these abbreviations are used in the fleet listing below.

Of course being an engineer at heart, Mike always kept his hand in and as such, ran a number of engineering firms during his lengthy career in aviation. Starting off in the early ’50s with Crewsair Engineering, he went on to become Managing Director of B.K.S Engineering which ran until 1969 and then subsequently returned to engineering at Southend around 1973 with BAF Engineering. Asides from his SEN exploits, Mike would also begin manufacturing microlights at Cardiff where BAF also had an engineering facility, while during the mid-1960s and in association with McAlpine Aviation he became involved with the production of Riley Doves at Luton which would see base D.H.104s being upgraded with turboprop engines and a small cabin stretch. It is believed that a total of three aircraft were finally converted, namely Doves G-ATGI and G-ATGK while G-ASUX was employed as the Riley demonstrator.

It goes without saying that a huge number of aircraft passed through Mike Keegan’s hands which in themselves would have probably made his company an airline of significant size had he put them all into service at the same time (as many as 18 aircraft were under Keegan’s ownership at the beginning of 1962). However asides from purchasing airframes, Mike would also act as an agent for many sales and these aircraft would often be flown to one of his bases before being sold on. One particular example included two Swiss H.S 125s that were bought and then quickly sold on to France and Biafra respectively. Another interesting acquisition saw Keegan attempting to buy five Viscounts from T.A.A. in Australia (VH-TVD to VH-TVH) in the hope of selling them on. However, only two were eventually purchased (VH-TVD & VH TVF) due to currency devaluation and they were dispatched to Southend where they sat until being sold on to Flightspares who scrapped them for parts in February 1970.

So, below I will make an attempt to compile a non-exhaustive list of the many aircraft that were owned by Mike Keegan and that were not passed on to or used by any of his airlines. For the most, these include aircraft that were purchased for one of his many sales, leasing or holding companies and that were not painted up in any specific livery bar those of their eventual purchasers. While a considerable number of these aircraft did pass through SEN, those that are known to have had nothing to do with the airport whatsoever (such as the 1961/62 bulk acquisitions of Canadair C-4s that ended up at Panshangar and Baginton) have not been included. It is also possible that some of the aircraft below were permanently based or stored at Mike Keegan’s other facilities and in such cases are merely listed for historical interest.

 

Aircraft owned by the various Keegan Enterprises between 1952 and 1970

(The aircraft marked with a * are known to have made at least one recorded visit SEN)

Aero Commander

G-ARJA*– 3/61 to 10/63

Reg to TWL – Sold to William Tomkins Ltd

G-ARJJ* – 5/61 to 6/62

Reg to KGA – Sold to Ronald Wilson

Airspeed Consul

G-AJXE*– 11/56 to 10/59

Reg to TDK – Sold to Patrick Lawler

Bristol 170 Freighter

G-AILW*– 8/61 to 8/63

Reg to TWL – Sold to Avions Fairey as OO-FAH

G-AIMA*– 7/61 to 6/62

Reg to PVL – Sold to Avions Fairey as OO-FAG

Caribbean 150

G-ARCU*– 8/60 to 10/60

Reg to KGA – Sold to Rent-A-Plane Ltd

Cessna 180

G-ARGC* – 1/64 to 12/64

Reg to KGA – Sold to William Tomkins Ltd

Cessna 310/Riley 65

G-ARGP*– 2/61 to 4/62

Reg to KGA – Sold in France

G-ARRR*– 8/61 to 6/62

Reg to KGA – Sold in Switzerland

G-ARTK*– 11/61 to 12/61

Reg to KGA – Sold to Tyne Tees Airways

G-ASNS – 1/64 to 3/67

Reg to KGA – WFU 3/67 – Fate Unknown

G-ASSZ – 5/64 to 7/64

Reg to KGA – Sold to Slingsby Air Charter Ltd

Cessna 421

G-AXAW*– 11/79 to 6/83

Reg to BAH – Sold to Airline Air Spares, Southend

Consolidated Catalina

G-APZA*– 1/60 to 6/61

Reg to TDK – WFU at SEN and scrapped in June 1961

De Havilland D.H.104 Dove

G-AHRI*– 6/57 to 8/57

Reg to TDK – Sold in Israel as 4X-ARI

G-AICY – 1/65 to 3/77

Reg to KGA – WFU and later B/U at Stansted

G-AIWF – 11/63 to 5/64

Reg to KGA – Sold in Iceland as TF-BPD

G-AMRN*– 8/57 to 1/63

Reg to TDK – Sold to Plant Hire Ltd, Walsall

G-AMVV*– 6/57 to 4/58

Reg to TDK – Sold to Overseas Aviation

G-AMZJ*– 11/62 to 7/73

Reg to TWL – WFU 7/73 and scrapped

G-ANGE*– 2/62 to 2/64

Reg to KGA – Leased and DBR in Libya 26/2/64

G-ARBH*– 10/60 to 12/60

Reg to KGA – Sold to Horizon Pictures (G.B) Ltd

G-ARDN*– 12/60 to 1/62

Reg to KGA – Sold to Martin’s Air Charter as PH-MAC

G-ARGN – 1/62 to 11/62

Reg to TWL – Sold to North East Avaition Engineering

G-ASUV – 7/64 to 3/65

Reg to KGA – Sold to Bristow Helicopters (Nigeria) as 5N-AGF

G-ASUW* – 7/64 to 12/64

Reg to KGA – Sold to McAlpine Aviation

G-ATGK – 8/66 to 3/67

Reg to KGA – Sold to Fairflight Charters

G-ASUX – 7/64 to 10/65

Reg to KGA – Used as Riley Dove Demonstrator- Sold in the U.S as N668R

De Havilland D.H.114 Heron

G-ANCI*– 11/68

Reg to KGA – Sold to Channel Airways

G-AOZM*– 11/68 to 1/69

Reg to KGA – Sold to Channel Airways

G-APRK*– 5/61 to 1/62

Reg to KGA – Sold to Martin’s Air Charter as PH-VLA

G-ASUY – 7/64 to 7/65

Reg to KGA – Sold to to Falck F/S as OY-DPR

Douglas C-47 Dakota

G-AJHZ – 2/65 to 8/66

Reg to TWL – Sold in Portugal

Miles Gemini

G-AKEK*– 4/59 to 7/60

Reg to TDK – Sold to Herts and Essex Aero Club

Percival Prentice

G-AOMK*– 7/59 to 2/62

Reg to TDK – Sold to Skeels Aviation

Piper PA-23 Apache

G-AREW* – 8/62 to 2/63

Reg to KGA – Sold in Switzerland

G-ARHJ* – 4/62 to 5/63

Reg to TWL- Sold to Bartella Ltd

G-ARLI* – 4/61 to 9/63

Reg to KGA – Sold to Flairavia Ltd

G-ARLJ* – 6/61 to 9/61

Reg to KGA – Sold to Finance & General Hire Comp

Piper PA-30 Twin Comanche

G-ATET – 5/65 to 10/66

Reg to KGA – Sold to Kebbell Development Ltd

G-AVGT – 2/67 to 5/69

Reg to KGA – Sold to Executive Air Engineering Ltd

G-AWIX – 5/68 to 8/76

Reg to TDK – Sold to Holding and Barnes Ltd

Scottish Aviation Twin Pioneer

G-APLW – 11/63 to 4/64

Reg to KGA – Sold to B.O.A.C

G-ASHN – 4/63 to 6/63

Reg to KGA – Aero Taxis Ecuador as HC-AHT

G-ASJS – 6/63 to 9/63

Reg to KGA – Sold to Fjallfly as LN-BFK

TF-LOA – 8/65 to 1/66

Reg to KGA – Sold to North Coast Air Services as CF-STX

Taylorcraft Plus

G-AFZI*– 3/52 to 7/57

Reg to TDK – Sold to John Stewart Mitchell

Vickers Viking

G-AHPR – 12/59 to 3/60

Reg to BCH – Sold to Maitland Drewery

G-AIKN*– 2/61 to 11/65

Reg to BAH – WFU SEN 10/60 – Bought for spares and donated to SEN Fire Service 11/65

G-AJBU – 12/59 to 3/61

Reg to BCH – WFU Hurn 3/60 – B/U 3/61 & spares to Overseas

G-AJCE*– 12/59 to 18/61

Reg to BCH – DBR in forced landing Lyons, France 14/8/61

G-AMGH*– 7/60 to 9/62

Reg to TWL – WFU Cambridge 10/60 – To SEN by road 6/7/61 for spares use – Scrapped 9/62

G-AMNR*– 12/59 to 9/62

Reg to BAH – WFU Cambridge 4/61 – To SEN by road 14/7/61 for spares use – Scrapped 9/62

G-AHPB*– 8/62 to 5/63

Reg to KGA – WFU at Panshangar 11/62 – Sold to Autair

Vickers Viscount

VH-TVD*– 9/67 to 2/70

Reg to KGA – WFU at SEN 9/67 – Sold to Flightspares & B/U for parts 2/70

VH-TVF*– 10/67 to 2/70

Reg to KGA – WFU at SEN 10/67 – Sold to Flightspares & B/U for parts 2/70

 

Do you have any other, interesting snippets of information relevant to the SEN history of these companies or indeed any pictures that you would like to share? If so, then please contact us on saadinfomail@gmail.com

Many thanks from the SAAD Admin Team.