Ace Freighters

Ace Freighters

Operated from Mar 1964 to Sep 1966

Main Base – Gatwick

Founder/Director – Capt L.C. Chegwidden

Britain’s first, purpose built air freight outfit started life as Aviation Charter Enterprises at Gatwick in September 1962, although it would take another 18 months before operations began. ACE mostly flew long distance cargo flights to the Middle and Far East which included contract charters for the M.o.D. Services initially began with C-54/DC-4 equipment although later in the year, a number of Lockheed L-749 Constellations would arrive to more than triple the size of the fleet and by August 1965 ACE Freighters had a total of eight of these aircraft in its inventory, although only five of them would eventually go into service with the airline, one of these being a lease while the others were never officially taken up and were instead used purely for spares.

It was during 1964 that ACE started using SEN. In September, a number of its aircraft passed through the airport on flights between Gatwick and Algiers/Stockholm while on the 11th, L-749 G-ANTF and DC-4 G-APEZ would take turns to fly the first of three flights from Southend to Bilbao. ACE then returned on January 16th and 28th flying two trips to Malmö, both operated by C-54 G-ASEN.  However, it was from the end of 1965 that things really began to hot up, with L-749 G-ALAL beginning a flurry of fligths on November 9th while in 1966, ACE began operating regular services between Southend and Antwerp moving parts, spares and machinery for the Ford Motor Company. For the most, these flights would be operated by the airline’s C-54 and DC-4 although the odd Constellation would turn up from time to time.

Indeed, the Constellations would later put in several appearances at SEN during 1966, operating dock strike charters which included a number of cigarette and goods flights between Southend and Amsterdam/Paris. In the meantime, ACE had opened a subsidiary called ACE Scotland which was its only attempt to fly passengers on a single, 82 seat Constellation. However, by September the airline was in severe financial difficulty and as a result of this, this airline finally declared bankruptcy during this month.


ACE Freighters fleet from 1964 to 1966

Douglas C-54/DC-4

G-APEZ*– 8/64 to 7/66

WFU 7/66 and B/U Baginton, Coventry 5/68

G-ASEN*– 11/64 to 2/66

Sold to Invicta Airways

Lockheed L-749 Constellation

G-ALAK*– 8/65 to 9/66

Later sold to Trans Bolivian as CP-797 1/68

G-ALAL*– 8/65 to 9/66

Later sold to W.W Tilton 4/67

G-ANTF*– 2/64 to 9/66

WFU Baginton, Coventry – Burnt out 2/70 and B/U during 1971

G-ANUR – 8/65 to 9/66

On lease from Britannia Airways

G-ASYF – 12/64 to 9/66

Later sold to Peru International Management Corp as N1939  6/67


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Many thanks from the SAAD Admin Team.