Engineering at Southend

Southend Airport has had a long and well deserved reputation for being one of the best locations for UK based, aircraft engineering solutions more or less since its re-opening as a civil airfield in 1947. One of the very first, large scale engineering companies would arrive in 1947 with Freddie Laker’s ATEL/ATL relocating from Bovingdon, where this company had opened its doors one year earlier. Then in 1952 came what would go on to become a giant in British aviation, namely B.K.S which incidentally, also started the T.D ‘Mike’ Keegan relationship with the airport, this company continuing to service and repair both its own and other airline’s equipment until moving its facilities north in 1970.

Meanwhile, many of Southend’s own airlines would inevitably open their own facilities which would vary from small operations run by Air Condor, Meredith and Tradair, to larger engineering works run by the likes of Channel Airways and after their demise, BAF Engineering which would emerge, again under the ownership of Mike Keegan. Later in 1979, Heavylift would take over the former ATEL hangars, this ensuring that a good number of unusual types would visit the airport. Other smaller ventures around during this time included such entities as Harvest Air, Marmol Aviation and Routair, each of which maintained and serviced aircraft at the smaller end of the market.

So, in honour of those companies who have added to SEN’s colourful history over the years, you should find most, if not all of them listed here. The largest companies have been logged individually, along with any aircraft that their respective companies may have owned, while the smaller concerns have all been placed together on one page.