Viscount G-APZB

Vickers 707 Viscount – c/n 30

With Tradair from Feb 1960 to Nov 1962

While Southend may have received a considerable number of visits by Viscounts during the late 50s, often as a result of the requirement to divert, it was with this very aircraft that Southend’s almost uninterrupted, 44 year relationship with the Viscount would begin. Flying in from Stansted on Feb 10th 1960, after a week of maintenance and refinishing at Stansted, this former Aer Lingus aircraft would make its inaugural flight for Tradair, Southend’s very first, Viscount equipped airline on a charter between Southend and Copenhagen on the 12th, after which she would make a trip between Southend and Amsterdam, arriving back at the airport on the 14th. Needless to say, Tradair were determined to get the most out of its two Viscounts and as such, they faced a busy year ahead.

Things really began to pick up in the spring with flights between Heathrow and Manchester on March 24th, while April would witness a number of trooping movements between Dusseldorf and Belfast and visits to many European destinations such as Berlin, Gothenburg, Hamburg, Le Bourget and Oslo which would also be undertaken from Southend. It was on the 22nd that Zulu Bravo would return to Berlin where over the next week, she would be chartered to carry German tourists off to their favourite, Mediterranean holiday destinations. By May 6th, she was back at Southend and spent the summer weekends flying to numerous, continental cities which included Naples, Oporto, Palma, Pisa, Rimini, Rome, Treviso and Turin, while German I.T charters were still being flown from time to time from Berlin during the week.

With the departure of Viscount Zulu Charlie on lease to Kuwait Airways on June 1st, it was left to Zulu Bravo to operate these routes along with the venerable Vikings. Weekdays would see her spending much of her time operating from Berlin, while at weekends, she would invariably return to Southend to perform a good number of I.T. charter flights to most of the aforementioned, Mediterranean destinations and this is how operations would continue for the rest of the summer. With the approach of September, operations slowed and other work needed to be found if the Viscounts were to remain profitable. With the I.T season rapidly drawing to a close, ZB found herself hauling pilgrims to Tarbes during September and October while flying the odd charter, taking in Rome on October 16th.

While this slow down reduced ZB’s workload over the coming months, she would still fly charters to Jersey on the 26th and Amsterdam on November 14th. The Christmas period would also see a slight increase in flying duties with extra flights to Jersey, Palma and Tenerife on December 20th, 24th and 29th respectively, the latter destination being serviced every two weeks from this point forward. However, ZB would be temporarily withdrawn at the end of January for a spar inspection, finally returning to service on February 5th 1961. Indeed, with the odd exception, the Tenerife flight would be the only service operated by ZB until the following spring, when she reopened the Palma route on March 31st 1961. Unfortunately, the Berlin I.T. work would also drop off during this year, although more trips were added to Southend’s schedule with bi-weekly flights to Athens being added in May while the summer would see this Viscount heading off to Catania, Munich, Naples, Nice, Palma, Perpignan, Pisa, Rimini, Treviso and Zagreb at weekends with the odd charter and some sub-contracting work for the national airlines during the week.

However, as the year 1961 drew to a close, Tradair’s perilous financial situation would come under the spotlight and during November, the receivers were called in by Barclays and given a year to save the airline. Being rather costly aircraft to run, the Viscounts were both removed from service over the winter and ZB would not fly again for almost a year, making a short test flight on October 4th 1962. Three days later, she would depart for Berlin to replace ZC, which was due back at Southend for maintenance and would remain there until the end of October. She headed back to Southend, landing there on Nov 1st, only to depart the following day for charter work in the Middle East, flying back to SEN again via Rome on the 12th. This would be her last flight for Tradair and on the 21st, she joined her new owner Starways, although it wouldn’t be long before she was back at the airport, flying services for another SEN based airline…


History of G-APZB

3/54 to 2/60

Aer Lingus as EI-AFV

2/60 to 11/62

Tradair Ltd as G-APZB

11/62 to 1/64

Starways Ltd

1/64 to 11/64

Aviation Overhauls Ltd

11/64 to 7/67

Channel Airways Ltd


WFU 5/68 at Southend and later B/U during 2/70


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