Vickers 621 Viking C.2 – c/n 156

With Tradair from Aug 1958 to Dec 1962

Having had a magnificent first summer season, Tradair looked to expanding its fleet further and as a consequence, put in a bid for the RAF’s three superbly maintained Queen’s Flight Vikings that were due for replacement. The bid was subsequently accepted and in mid-August, the Vikings made their way from RAF Benson to Southend where they would undergo conversion work to civilian airliners during the following months. Come December 13th, G-APOO was the first to be ready for service, making her maiden flight for Tradair from Southend to Bordeaux which would be the starting point for a three week tour that would take in various destinations throughout the Middle East. She returned just after the New Year and was put to work flying charters to Frankfurt on the 8th and Ostend on the 13th of January and later did her part during the busy summer of 1959, taking in among other places: Athens, Barcelona, Gibraltar, Malta, Palma, Pisa, Rimini, Rome and Treviso.

Invariably, the three almost immaculate ex-Queen’s Flight Vikings were reserved primarily to service Tradair’s I.T passenger routes while the others would mostly carry G-APOO afreight or perform mixed/ad-hoc charters. However, while 1960 would see this aircraft carrying out many of the same commitments that she had undertaken the previous year, a few additions added to the variety including the opening of an Oporto route and football charters to Gothenburg. That said, Oscar Oscar would go on to become the least used of these three aircraft and as such, she often stood idle over much of the winter, occasionally flying the odd charter around the slightly busier Christmas period when she departed to Amsterdam just before the holidays with happy shoppers while on the 30th, she flew to Basle on a skiing charter.

The following year would see the opening of what was to become the very popular Maastricht route with all three of the APO- Vikings doing their bit to keep things rolling smoothly. However, in May 1961 her presence was required on Tradair’s trooping flight contract between Dusseldorf, Prestwick and Benbecula which she flew with another Viking and a Viscount. She soldiered on throughout the 1961 summer season and in July, again went to the aid of beleaguered Viscount G-APZC which was unable to cope with the large loads of trans-Atlantic passengers who needed to be ferried between Prestwick and Gatwick thanks to a strike at BOAC.

Again, things went quiet during the winter of 1962 and as such, it would seem that the Vikings would now have to work even harder in an attempt to keep Tradair afloat. However, the airline’s impending demise was already more or less a certainty and it would be left to G-APOO to retain the somewhat sad, yet distinct honour of flying Tradair’s final service on a return flight from Southend to Le Bourget, this taking place on the 18th December 1962. With Tradair now no more, G-APOO would be transferred to Channel Airways several days later as part of a deal that had been struck with the receiver.


History of G-APOO

1/48 to 8/58

RAF King’s Flight as VL233

(TFR to RAF Queen’s Flight 5/52)

8/58 to 12/62

Tradair Ltd as G-APOO

12/62 to 5/65

Channel Airways Ltd


WFU at Southend 8/64 and B/U 5/65


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Many thanks from the SAAD Admin Team.