BWA History

British World Final

Operated at SEN from Apr 1993 to Dec 2001

Founder/Directors – The Mostjet Consortium

After operating for almost 26 years under the British Air Ferries name, the airline’s owners – The Mostjet Consortium – decided that the company needed to re-brand itself while at the same time, redirecting its energies mostly towards charter work (passenger and cargo) and wet leasing. The ‘Air Ferries’ part of the name was no longer considered relevant (the last car ferry flight having been flown on January 1st 1977) and was subsequently dropped in an attempt to once and for all, move the airline beyond its vehicle ferry era. The BAF fleet was re-registered under this new name and the airline would continue to operate Viscounts and BAC 1-11 aircraft, although the former would eventually be replaced with more modern, albeit less popular turboprops such as the ATR-72 and the BAe ATP.

The Aberdeen oil charters flown on behalf of Shell would continue, as would many of the established, ex-BAF freight routes to Coventry, Edinburgh and Belfast, while newer operations ran between Brussels, Birmingham and Dublin and to Dusseldorf, although these would now be flown from Stansted rather than Southend. This airline would also undertake work for DHL during 1999 freighting parcels around Spain. Jet operations would also more increasingly make use of STN too, although charters would still be infrequently flown from SEN during the day. Finally, British World would also be awarded a contract for British Forces transport flights to Germany while a number of leases especially towards the end of the ’90s, would keep the airline busy.

By the turn of the century, the older equipment had finally been removed from service and replaced. Asides from the aforementioned turboprops, the airline’s BAC 1-11s would also find themselves being usurped by a handful of leased Boeing 737s and a single 757. While none of these aircraft would fly services from Southend, the 737s would on occasion put in an appearance at Southend for engineering work. As such, these aircraft would fly mostly I.T. charters from Gatwick and Stansted to several European destinations such as Cyprus, Greece and Turkey while the 757 would generally fly further afield. However, with the events of 9/11 came a subsequent downturn in passenger travel and British World found itself in financial trouble, this being further exasperated by the number debts owed to it by other companies that had also collapsed in due course. Thus on December 14th 2001, the airline’s resultant demise brought an end to 50 years of services which had effectively begun with Air Charter back in October 1951.


Fleet Livery

British World used two liveries during its lifetime. The first was a simple modification of the previous BAF livery which was used on a small number of Viscounts and BAC 1-11s that were due for retirement over the next few years, while those aircraft that still had plenty of life left in them went on to receive the extremely smart burgundy and white ‘Leaping Lion’ livery. Only two of the eight remaining Viscounts – G-BFZL and G-BLNB – would be adorned in this official British World livery and even to this day, it is considered by some to have been one of the best schemes that was ever applied to this type of aircraft.


Modified BAF livery (Viscount and BAC 1-11)

Viscount G-APEY


‘Leaping Lion’ livery (All)

Viscount G-BFZLa


A Comprehensive History of British World Airlines…

Apr 1993

British Air Ferries is reorganised and renamed as British World Airlines

Jun 1993

Scheduled flights between Stansted and Bucharest begin

Mar 1994

The first of five Viscounts is prepared for service with Parcel Force, each of these aircraft receiving a post office red livery

May 1995

The fleet consists of:

8 x Vickers Viscount

8 x BAC 1-11

1 x BAe 146 (leased)

Nov 1995

British World is awarded a further, five year contract for the Shell Aberdeen-Sumburgh route

Apr 1996

The first of two ATR-72 aircraft arrives

Jun 1996

The very last Aberdeen-Sumburgh Viscount flight is flown by G-CSZB

May 1997

The fleet includes:

3 x Vickers Viscount

5 x BAC 1-11

2 x ATR-72

Jul 1997

The remaining Viscounts begin to operate a number of farewell flights in anticipation of the type’s removal from service

Oct/Nov 1997

Farewell flights culminate in a large number of enthusiast’s trips from the UK’s and Ireland’s largest airports, some of which included Belfast, Cardiff, Dublin, Glasgow and Newcastle. Several flights are also flown from Southend

Jan 1998

The last ever Viscount service is flown by G-AOHM

Jun 1999

After a period of storage, British World’s last Viscount leaves Southend

Oct 1999

The first of three Boeing 737s joins the fleet. These aircraft would be based at Stansted

Dec 1999

Leases for the year 1999 include operations for Air Baltic, Binter Mediterano, Citiflyer, Cityjet, Crossair, Jersey European and Tyrolean

May 2000

The fleet includes:

3 x BAC 1-11

6 x BAe ATP (1 leased)

3 x Boeing 737-300 (leased)

Dec 2000

The last ever service is flown by the airline’s BAC 1-11s

Jul 2001

BWA leases a Boeing 757

Dec 2001

More than 50 years of operations come to an end as this long lived hierarchy finally collapses due to the 9/11 downturn


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