Widerøe

Has Operated from Feb 1934 to Present

Country of Origin – Norway

Founder/Director – Viggo Widerøe, Einar Isdahl & Arild Widerøe

Widerøe’s Flyveselskap AS is Norway’s longest lived airline, not to mention the fact that it is also one of the oldest airlines in the world. It began life with the merging of two companies, those of Widerøe & Bjørneby and Lotsberg & Skappel whose remit at the time, mostly revolved around flying skiers to and from resorts in both well known and more remote mountain regions. The company later branched out into postal services in combination with several steamship companies. At the time, Widerøe’s greatest competitor was Fred Olsen & Co (another SEN regular) and this rivalry would continue for many years. With the Nazi invasion in 1940 flying was suspended, although the company was quick to re-establish itself after the war and by 1946, it had begun aerial photography using two captured Bf-108 Taifuns and three Fairchild Argus aircraft.

This photographic work saw many single engined aircraft and light twins being added to its fleet, a number of which flew far and wide, sometimes as far away as Africa. Meanwhile in May 1951, Widerøe began to operate its very first commercial service from Narvik to Bodø using using ex-RNAF Airspeed Oxfords. During the ’50s this company expanded dramatically, adding an engineering wing to its ever growing list of concerns while a glut of domestic, seaplane routes and ambulance services were also provided. However, it wasn’t until 1962 that Widerøe finally bought its first commercial type in the shape of a DC-3 and it was in this very same year that this company began to frequent SEN.

Early operations to Southend comprised of DC-3 charter flights which brought tourists in for day trips to London. The following year would then see the emergence of a new and extremely rare type, the Nord 260, three of which were leased from this French company and were again used on charters to both Southend and Manchester during 1963. However these aircraft were beset with problems with as many as 23 engines being changed during the first year and as a result of this, these airframes were subsequently returned to Nord while the Widerøe order for the upgraded Nord 262 was subsequently cancelled. As a consequence, Southend would then see the return of the company’s DC-3s which operated to the airport until at least 1966.

 

Widerøe fleet from 1962 to 1966

Douglas DC-3

LN-LMR*– 5/62 to 9/62

Leased from E. Reis & Co

LN-PAS – 1/64 to 3/64

DBR and W/O by engine fire at Oslo-Fornebu 5/3/64

LN-RTA*– ?/63 to ?/71

WFU Oslo-Fornebu and used by fire service until c.1976

LN-RTE – 4/64 to 1/68

Sold to Polaris Air Transport

Nord 260

LN-LMB*– 12/62 to 2/64

First visit to SEN 16/1/63 – Leased from Nord

LN-LME*– 3/63 to 2/64

First visit to SEN 4/7/63 –  Leased from Nord

LN-LMG*– 9/63 to 2/64

First visit to SEN 15/10/63 – Leased from Nord

 

Do you have any other, interesting snippets of information about this company’s SEN history 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.