British American Air Services

British American G-AIAR

Operated from Apr 1935 to Aug 1950

Main Bases – Heston and Bovingdon

Founders/Directors – Mr L.H. Falk, Mr D.S. Gibbs and Maj M. Peto

BAAS was a medium sized airline founded by directors that were based in the UK and the US – this undoubtedly inspiring the name. Flying began in 1935 with various De Havilland types which were used on passenger, race meeting and light freight charters. With the onset of war in September 1939, all civil flying was suspended, although by this time, much of the fleet had already been disposed of and thus only two of its remaining aircraft were impressed into military service (a Fokker F.22 and a D.H.86 Express) both of these aircraft later being destroyed in incidents during the war. On January 1st 1946, civil flying restrictions were finally lifted and BAAS was quickly back in the air with newly acquired Dragon Rapide aircraft.

In 1946, BAAS bolstered its fleet further by leasing a brace of Bristol Freighters that were used to move vegetables, fruit, flowers and race horses across the Channel, while more Dragons were added to undertake passenger services. Unfortunately though, the operation of these aircraft turned out to be unprofitable and by the middle of 1947, most of them had been WFU or returned to their owners. At about the same time, BAAS had merged with Chartair due to financial difficulties and the decision was taken to acquire replacement aircraft in the form of Handley Page Haltons and Halifaxes that had recently been disposed of by the RAF and that could quite easily be modified into freighters.

By the spring of 1948, four Halifax freighters had joined the fleet and they were kept busy hauling mostly vegetables and fruit to and from the Continent. However by the end of the year, only two aircraft were still serviceable and they were subsequently pressed into service on the Berlin Airlift, both eventually being converted into tankers during the winter of 1948/49. Indeed, it was in October 1949 that BAAS started using Southend regularly, its Halifaxes flying services on behalf of Lep Air Transport who had just recently opened a new freight facility at the airport. Many flights were undertaken to Lille and Milan where textiles would be collected and flown to SEN until the spring of 1950. By this time, work was becoming harder to find and down to a single aircraft that was due for a renewal of its CoA, the company took the decision to suspend operations before disbanding in August 1950.

 

Fleet from 1947 to 1950

Avro 652 Anson

G-AHUD – 6/46 to 1/48

Sold to unknown buyer

Bristol 170 Freighter

G-AHJC – 7/46 to 9/46

Leased from Bristol Aircraft

G-AHJF – 8/46 to 3/47

Leased from Bristol Aircraft

G-AHJG – 9/46 to 4/47

Leased from Bristol Aircraft

D.H.89 Dragon Rapide

G-AGWC – 1/46 to 4/47

Sold to Air Transport Charter

G-AGZJ – 4/46 to 6/47

Sold to Cambrian Air Services

G-AGZK – 2/46 to 10/47

Sold to Iraq Petroleum

Handley Page Halifax Mk8

G-AIAR – 2/49 to 8/50

Leased from Airtech/Chartair

G-AJPJ – 10/47 to 7/48

Leased from Chartair – DBR landing Tel Aviv, Israel

G-AKAD – 10/47 to 5/48

Leased from Airtech – DBR due to u/c failure Rennes, France

G-AKBB – 4/48 to 2/49

Leased from Airtech – DBR due to u/c failure, Berlin

G-AKGN – 8/49 to 10/49

Leased from Chartair – DBR in storm at Thame 12/49

Handley Page Halton

G-AGZP – 3/49 to 4/47

Sold to Alpha Airways as ZS-BTA

 

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