Vickers Viscount

BKS Viscount

Operated with B.K.S. from May 1961 to Dec 1961 and May 1966 to Nov 1970

The first turboprop airliners to enter service with B.K.S. were actually 700 series Viscounts that had been temporarily procured through a leasing agreement with Maitland Drewery. However, these aircraft were quickly replaced by a small fleet of Avro 748s that were operated up until 1966 when once more, the Viscount finally came back into favour. In fact, this particular type became so popular with B.K.S. that by the latter half of the 1960s, approximately 50% of the B.K.S. fleet was comprised of Viscounts, the first of these actually being leased from Southend airline Channel Airways until these aircraft could be replaced with four of B.K.S.’ own 700 series aircraft that were then in turn supplemented by the further acquisition of six more capable 800 series aircraft which entered service during 1968 and 1969.

Most if not all of the Viscounts that joined B.K.S. were sent to SEN for pre-service checks, maintenance and overhauls and in some cases, they even flew a small number of revenue flights from the airport. The very first Viscounts to join B.K.S. on lease in 1961 would actually operate services to France, Italy and Portugal from Southend, although these flights were admittedly one off charters rather than scheduled services. Several Viscounts would also undergo cabin conversion work at SEN before entering service, with G-ATTA in particular receiving a thorough overhaul which would involve the fitting of a 60 seat cabin while at the same time, the front air stairs that her previous American owner had insisted on were summarily removed in an attempt to reduce weight.

Indeed from 1966 to 1970, Southend would see a great deal of coming and going by these company Viscounts, most of which would occasionally appear to avail themselves of the engineering facilities that existed at the airport. Sufficed to say, these arrivals and departures would continue until B.K.S. was finally taken over by majority shareholder B.E.A. who then subsequently relocated the engineering side of the business to Rhoose in Wales. As such, it was Viscount G-APEY that would be the very last B.K.S. aircraft to receive maintenance at Southend. In fact, the closure of this site in October 1970 would also witness the end of the B.K.S. Viscount fleet which was transferred to new owner Northeast Airlines during the following month which in turn would become part of the B.E.A./B.O.A.C. group in July 1973.


B.K.S. Vickers Viscount fleet between 1961 and 1970

Vickers 700 Viscount

G-ARBY – 6/61 to 7/61

Leased from Maitland Drewery

G-ARER – 5/61 to 11/61

Leased from Maitland Drewery

G-ARGR – 6/61 to 12/61

Leased from Maitland Drewery

G-AMOC – 6/66 to 1/67

Leased from Channel Airways (Returned to Channel 8 & 9/66)

G-APZC – 7/66 to 9/66

Leased from Channel Airways

G-APTA – 7/67 to 10/67

Leased from Channel Airways

G-ATTA – 5/66 to 11/70

WFU 4/70 and later scrapped 11/70

G-APNF – 2/67 to 9/70

Leased until 10/67 – WFU 3/70 and scrapped 9/70

G-AVED – 1/67 to 3/70

WFU 3/70 and B/U 11/70

G-AVIY – 5/67 to 6/70

WFU 4/70 and scrapped 6/70

Vickers 800 Viscount

G-AOYH – 7/68 to 11/70

TFR to Northeast Airlines

G-AOYL – 5/68 to 11/70

TFR to Northeast Airlines

G-AOYO – 5/68 to 11/70

TFR to Northeast Airlines

G-AOYR – 12/69 to 11/70

TFR to Northeast Airlines

G-APEX – 12/69 to 11/70

TFR to Northeast Airlines

G-APEY – 4/68 to 10/70

TFR to Northeast Airlines


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