Viscount G-AVJL

Vickers 812 Viscount – c/n 389

With Channel from Apr 1967 to Feb 1972

Having arrived at SEN on April 9th 1967, Viscount Juliet Lima then underwent the requisite refinishing and prep work, (including the removal of her air stairs) before entering service exactly two weeks later, operating the Southend-Rotterdam service on the 23rd. Almost one month later she would open the popular Maastrict route on May 15th, before becoming embroiled in a busy summer of I.T charters and scheduled services. Indeed, it was on one of the I.T services that this Viscount would suffer a tyre blow out, this occurring during a rather heavy landing at Basle on the night of August the 15th. Unfortunately, on further inspection, it was revealed that the landing had resulted a certain amount of damage to the port oleo and it took a few days before temporary repairs could be effected and the Viscount itself could be ferried back to Southend; this finally taking place on September 2nd.

Her next round of operational commitments would start on March 30th 1968 when Juliet Lima flew the first Cardiff/Bristol-Palma service on behalf of Hourmont Holidays. These charters would continue throughout the summer of 1968 and along with Channel’s own services, Viscount G-AVJL and her stable mates would be kept extremely busy indeed. Channel’s, I.T destinations for this particular season would include Alghero, Alicante, Genoa, Gerona, Ibiza, Milan Naples, Palma, Rimini and Tunis, most of which Juliet Lima would fly, although these flights would now more increasingly depart from Stansted rather than Southend. The following year would also see much of the same, although AVJL would begin her season flying Clarkson bulb charters for much of April and May. The I.T season would also start to warm up around this period too although by now, nearly all I.T services had been transferred to STN. As for the winter of 1969/70, she would remain operational and would periodically serve the Rotterdam and C.I routes.

The year 1970 opened with aplomb when cross-Channel ferry workers decided to strike on March 27th and for a short period, Southend relived those heady days of the early-60s, with Channel frantically trying to do their best to return stranded passengers back from Ostend and Rotterdam, while the aircraft for the most, went out fully loaded too, being as boat services had been suspended. On June 19th, Juliet Lima would inaugurate the first Southend/Bournemouth-Dusseldorf service which was at the time, the only regular charter operating from SEN, these flights eventually increasing in frequency to five trips per week. Otherwise, much of JL’s work would involve her maintaining the scheduled Ostend, Rotterdam and Channel Island services, these continuing for the most, through to the spring of 1971.

The year of 1971, would sadly be the last for Channel and with passenger numbers continuing to dwindle, Southend Airport had become a pale shadow of her former self. Nevertheless, the season would still have a few high points and bulb charters would again become part of JL’s responsibilities early in 1971, these having now been expanded to include flights to Beauvais as well as Rotterdam, although again, many of them were now being flown from other airports such as Bournemouth and Exeter. Another high point came at the end of May, when she resumed the Southend-Dusseldorf I.T route which would continue to operate until the autumn. Otherwise, the only other services carried out by Channel from Southend would be the old, cross-Channel favourites that had been the backbone of the airline’s operations from its inception and the odd, ad-hoc charter too.

By the end of 1971, Channel had also resorted to hauling freight in an attempt to keep their increasingly precarious, financial woes at bay, with one such trip made by Juliet Lima to Jersey on September 1st carrying more than a ton of cargo along with 62 pax. Winter services would also see a huge turn down with only single numbers often turning up at the airport, which more increasingly resulted in Channel’s remaining Heron operating flights instead of the much larger Viscounts. Regardless, for this final season, Viscount G-AVJL and G-AVIW were kept operational and while Channel would win a slight reprieve during the Christmas period, with extra shopping flights being operated to Ostend and Rotterdam on the 23rd and 24th of December, once the holidays were over, reality would again bite and by February 29th 1972, it was all over. On the final day of Channel’s life, Juliet Lima would fly the very last Viscount service for the airline from Rotterdam to Southend, after which she was withdrawn and then sold on to Alidair. She would, along with G-AVIW, be the only Viscount to fly with another airline after Channel’s demise.


History of G-AVJL

8/58 – 4/67

Continental Air Lines

4/67 – 2/72

Channel Airways

2/72 to 6/72

Kenneth C Cork (Receiver)

6/72 – 4/75


4/75 – 9/85

Far Eastern Air Transport as B-2033


DBER in a landing incident while operating with Mandala Airlines in Indonesia – 10/83. Later ferried to Jakarta STR and then B/U – 9/85


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