By 1980 Qantas had retired its last Boeing 707s and was unique in having a fleet made entirely of Boeing 747s. This however only lasted until June 1985 when the first of seven 767-200ERs arrived. As with everything in the heavily regulated Australian aviation scene though, getting the aircraft was a bit of a fight...
After many years of solid profits and year-on-year traffic growth the airlines of Australia were hit hard in 1981-82 by a storm of troubles that afflicted air travel worldwide: increased fuel prices, an economic recession and a slump in passenger numbers. This was made worse for Trans-Australia Airlines (TAA) and Ansett by the timing, which matched their introduction of widebody airlines and strike action by engineers.
Ansett was able to delay the introduction of its 767s from December 1982 to May 1983 however TAA already had several A300s in service. Even so the introduction of Ansett's 767s wasn't without its quirks!
The 1979 OPEC oil crisis, triggered by the Iranian Revolution, threw CP Air's equipment plans into chaos. As already described in part 2 the airline had bought new DC-10s, but it had also ordered four of Boeing's, then new, 767-200s (along with four options) for its North Atlantic routes. With the resulting global recession CP Air was instead looking for fleet rationalisation rather than expansion and the 767s would never see service.
It's amazing to think that considering their giant size nowadays all the Far-Eastern majors like Singapore, Malaysian, Korean, Thai Airways, China Airlines etc were tiny operators until well into the mid 70s.
In fact most Oriental traffic at the time was still really the preserve of BOAC, Qantas, Pan Am and TWA. Airlines like Cathay Pacific were largely restricted to regional operations on infrequent multi-stop routes with small fleets of piston-liners and early jets.
In 1968 Canadian Pacific became CP Air when its owner, the Canadian Pacific Railway, decided to align all its brands. Each of Canadian Pacific's divisions (CP Rail, CP Transport, CP Express, CP Ships, CP Telecommunications, CP Hotels and CP Air) gained a linked branding using the new Multi-mark arrow logo. The arrow depicted motion, the semi-circle global service and the square stability. Each division gained a dominant colour with CP Air getting Orange. This led to the advertising firm 'Lippincott & Margulies' who were responsible for the makeover coming up with the slogan "Orange is beautiful". The new livery first appeared on new 737-200s in October 1968.
Chinese aviation has certainly come a long way in the past 30 years or so - see my history of Chinese airline development. I have a vague fondness for the original Civil Aviation Administration of China's (CAAC) airline as their 747SPs (hello Gemini wakey wakey) were regular visitors to London Gatwick when I was a kid.
Still the creation of some competition and the 6 initial separate regional airlines (China Eastern, Southern, Southwest, Northern, Northwest and Air China) in 1987 was a major step forward for Chinese aviation which hasn't looked back since. CAAC itself didn't have the best reputation hence the spurious acronym in the blog title - one of several that existed at the time!
Canadian Pacific / CP Air has so many parallels with British Caledonian that they seem almost like sister companies. Its history is one of constant battling, attempting to compete against the chosen instrument (Air Canada) in a regulated environment where the Government rigged the fight and only occasionally threw it a few bones. Kept on a short leash its hardly a major surprise it was never the huge success it perhaps deserved to be, however it still has a rich and impressive history.
On May 12 1997 Delta Air Lines CEO Ron Allen announced his resignation after ten years at the helm and 34 years at the airline. At the time the news seems to have been met with some shock especially as the airline refused to say why exactly he decided to leave.
The surprise was partly because the airline was firmly in the black by 1997 recording profits of around $900 million for the year which itself followed a record $662 million profit in 1996, whilst its stock was up 17% within a year. In retrospect however Allen's departure seems less of a surprise.
Air Ceylon came into being even before independence in 1948 when the airline was setup the year before with a trio of war surplus DC-3s. The aircraft were used for route proving trials, pilot training and flood relief operations prior to the December 10th start of scheduled operations.
In the early 1980s American ordered the first of what was to be 280 MD-80s (nicknamed Super 80s in service but informally known as Mad Dogs) to begin replacing its 727 fleet, with the first (N203AA) arriving in May 1983. Deliveries ran until August 1992 and no other type defined American so much throughout the 80s and 90s.
United was the joint launch customer for McDonnell Douglas’s new trijet widebody in 1968 along with American Airlines. The arrival of a large fleet of 747s helped United to lose $46 million in 1970 however that didn’t stop them ordering an impressive fleet of DC-10s. They ordered 30 with 30 options and the type entered service on 16th August 1971 seating 222 passengers. Forty six were delivered up to 1981 including five which were initially leased to Delta while they awaited their Tristars.
Empresa de Transporte Aéreo del Perú was formed in 1973 to takeover operations of SATCO, a Peruvian Army predecessor. The initial fleet consisted of three F28s originally delivered to SATCO which began service on the Lima-Cusco route in October.
OB-R1018 was originally PH-EXN which first flew on 18th May 1973 and was delivered to SATCO three days later.
During the 1950s and 60s it was fairly standard for European flag carriers to act as consultants to developing nations nascent airlines especially if there was a colonial legacy. One of the most impressive relationships however was between Scandinavian Airlines and Thailand.
Thai Airways International started operations in 1960 as a joint venture between SAS and the Thai government to create an international airline for the nation.
Turkish Airlines can trace its history back to 1933 but became Türk Hava Yollari (THY) in 1956. Their first jet, a DC-9, joined in 1967 and during the late 60s the airline experienced a period of major growth. Only a year after receiving a trio of new 707s in 1971 the first widebodies joined the fleet in the form of three DC-10s. THY at the time was notorious for delays and safety issues and the first of the DC-10s, TC-JAV, crashed outside of Paris in 1974 killing all 346 onboard. This was however not the fault of the airline but of the aircraft, when a faulty cargo door opened in flight. A similar issue had almost caused the loss of an American Airlines in 1972, but terribly the issue was not fixed until the massive loss of life near Paris.
The original 737-100 and 200 were not big sellers for Boeing in the 1960s even in the USA. Western was renowned for going against the norm having not operated DC-3s or 727-100s so the 737 was in a way a natural fit and the airline's choices were limited after it was forced to cancel its ten orders for the One-eleven. As with the 720 the 737-200 would go on to be a major component of the fleet and unlike the former it was never replaced, except by more 737-200s (the Advanced model).
I'm Richard Stretton: a fan of classic airliners and airlines who enjoys exploring their history through my collection of die-cast airliners. If you enjoy the site please donate whatever you can to help keep it running: