America West was a strong supporter of several sports teams located near its hub operations and it was in fact one of these agreements which kicked off its repainting of its 757s into special schemes. The airline had signed a marketing agreement with the Phoenix Suns basketball team as early as 1989, which renamed their new stadium the America West Arena. It was their colours which were the first to be adopted, upon N907AW, and for many years the team flew an America West 737-100 for their away fixtures. It was the first of three sports team tie-ups, however the second special scheme adopted celebrated America West Airlines and its employees and was named Teamwork...
The mid-1980s was a time of significant growth for America West and only three years after starting operations they took on 6 nearly new 757-2S7s which had been delivered to Republic Airlines just prior to its takeover by Northwest. Of the fifteen Boeing 757s that would join America West only three would join them directly and be 757-2G7s. The other twelve were either ex-Republic 2S7s (6), ex-Eastern 225s (4), an ex-Odyssey Int 28A or an AWAS leased series 23A. Two other 757-2G7s ordered new from Boeing were cancelled following the carrier's bankruptcy in the early 90s and not built. Though it only had a relatively small fleet of 757s America West made sure that many of them caught the eye, as in the 1990s it began painting 8 of them into special liveries.
CAAC's fleet during the 1980s was an odd mix of vintage and modern types ranging from IL-14s to Tridents to A310s. One of the new types that was chosen for replacement of the short-medium haul HS Trident 2s and Ilyushin IL-18s was the McDonnell Douglas MD-80. In fact the MD-82/83 was the first western type to be license constructed in China, when in 1987 the first of 35 aircraft were assembled by the Shanghai Aviation Industrial Corporation. This initial success would no doubt help lead McDonnell Douglas down the ill-fated MD-90 Trunkliner path they followed, however despite the Trunkliner's failure and though eclipsed in the 1990s by Boeing 737s, and later A320s, the MD-80 would continue to be a major component of the fleet of several Chinese airlines into the 2000s.
Pacific Western Airlines had been formed as a bush-flying enterprise in 1946 named Central British Columbia Airlines. Between 1949 and 1952 it acquired seven other bush-flyers and became PWA in 1953. True operation as a scheduled regional airline (one of five) began in 1959 when Canadian Pacific transferred route authority for 18 services from Edmonton to Northern Alberta and the Northwest Territories. This was just the start and PWA would grow not only to become the most successful of the five regionals but also to eventually takeover CP Air and join the big time...
The Viscount is undoubtedly the most successful British aircraft of the postwar years and formed the backbone of BEA's fleet well into the 1960s. Interestingly originally the type was to be called the 'Viceroy' but the indepedence of India in 1947 rendered that name obsolete and Viscount was the chosen replacement.
The original V630 flow for the first time on July 16, 1948 and quickly proved its superiority over the piston engined Airspeed Ambassador. It was this early version that entered service with BEA on July 29, 1950 - though only as a test. After 25 days of airline service G-AHRF was returned to Vickers for inspection. By then BEA was a signed up fan of the type and in August 1950 ordered 20 aircraft - though all of these would be the stretched Viscount 700. Only two Viscount 600s were manufactured.
British Roses: Speedbird Tristars
For the updated version of this article see the following blogpost:
Alitalia: Into the Jet-Age
Unlike Germany, Italy had a national airline less than two years after World War Two had ended when the British government helped setup, and took a 30% stake in, the new Alitalia. The airline grew strongly through the 1950s and was a major international force during the 1960s, by which time jets had supplanted the piston props in the fleet.
The Fokker 100 (or F28-0100) was, Dutch manufacturer, Fokker's next generation of its popular and steady, if not spectacular, selling F28 series. The F28 was a fine aircraft well ahead of its time pre-dating true regional jets by nearly thirty years. The type was operated worldwide (especially in Australia, Canada and Europe) but usually in only small numbers. Its maximum seating capacity in the extended 4000 series was 85 and by the 1980s the basic design was in need of renewal. Fokker accomplished this by creating a new wing, replacing the Rolls-Royce Spey engines with new Tays and stretching the fuselage to seat up to 107 passengers.
In the immediate postwar era a surplus of trained pilots and demilitarised aircraft led to the establishment of a huge number of non-scheduled airlines who basically did whatever they liked and had little interest in rules and regulations. These non-skeds shook up the industry and began to create competition where previously there had been little, much to the consternation of the Trunk airlines.
By 1960 the CAB had got most of the survivors under control and killed off most of the rest by foul means or fair. The survivors became known as Supplemental airlines and one of the most important of those was TIA...
In almost every respect Pan Am was a picture of conservatism. This was most visible in their livery which since 1958 had featured the Globe on the tail and had stayed virtually unchanged throughout the 1960s and 1970s. The introduction of the 747 had seen the Pan American name shortened to Pan Am however the rest of the livery was unaltered and didn't fit the 747 well with the tiny titles. In 1976 this had been rectified with larger titling and a modified slanting flag however it was still effectively the same scheme introduced on the first 707s. Into the 1980s and it was finally time for a change...
Gulf Air has been flying since 1950 and the Golden Falcon always brightened up my boyhood trips to Heathrow on their lovely Tristars. The airline grew quickly from the mid 1970s through to the mid 1990s expanding its network to cover the Old World continents, including Australia, with a large fleet of modern Boeing and Airbus jets.
For the last twenty years the story hasn't been so happy but that hasn't stopped the carrier delivering to a high standard and introducing a beautiful livery in 2003. Here's Gulf Air's story...
China Eastern (MU) emerged in June 1988 from the Shanghai regional bureau of the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) which had operated all air services within China since its formation in 1954. China Eastern was one of the six state-owned children of CAAC but as with its Beijing and Guangzhou based siblings Air China and China Southern it held a distinct advantage over the other three airlines due to its hub location. The fleet of CAAC was split between its progenitors with China Eastern acquiring 5 A310s, 3 BAE 146s, 5 MD-80s, 3 Shorts 360s and several AN-24s and Y-7 turboprops. Re-equipment was on the cards though in the form of a mixed fleet of Airbus A300s, McDonnell Douglas MD-11s and Fokker 100s.
The East Line Group was founded in the early 1990s by Anton Bakov and Dmitry Kamenschik and diversified into a variety of aviation related services not the least of which were control of Moscow Domodedovo airport and East Line Airways. The airline component was established on November 27, 1995 as East Line Air, that later on February 8, 1996 was granted Certificate No 61 by the civil aviation authorities of Russia. In 1997 it was renamed East Line Airways and grew to become one of the foremost cargo airlines in Russia and a not insubstantial passenger carrier also.
National Airlines (N7/ROK, Call sign: Red Rock) was the third airline that used the name, though it bore absolutely no connection to the original holder - the regulated era Trunk airline which operated from Florida primarily up the East Coast and later to Europe which was merged into Pan Am in late 1980. The second National Airlines was a short-lived charter airline that, not content with using the Overseas National name 'borrowed' from the then defunct long serving supplemental ONA, purchased the naming rights from Pan Am for the original National and planned to start up schedule service. It survived using the National name from 1983 to the end of 1985. The third National was a completely different beast and and set up its stall out West in Las Vegas. It only lasted three years itself but burnt brightly all the same.
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: