North Korea is a repugnant state, which if the world were at all run by decent minded people wouldn't exist. However even though they are happy to destroy their own citizens and threaten war constantly one group they seem to love (rather ironically considering how most of the rest of the world hates them) is planespotters!
Seems like you can get a great spotting trip to North Korea and fly in and photograph classic Russian birds as much as you like. Check out the tours for 2015 here. Tempting but difficult to marry up with my scruples! Anyway Air Koryo is an interesting airline.
Pan Am had been on a long downward slide since the early 70s and by 1985 it was in a right mess. It had managed to lose $762 million between 1980 and 1985, including a whopping $206.8 million in 1984 alone. Huge debt from overspending on 747s, inefficient operations, an aging fleet , the disastrous National takeover and industrial action had all contributed.
United Airlines on the other hand was on the up having recorded sizeable profits in both 1983 and 1984. It had long desired an expanded international network and was in a good position to take advantage of Pan Am's weakness.
National Airlines was a well run Trunk airline during the 1970s and like Continental built its fleet around two types in that decade - the DC-10 and 727. In 1970 National gained the rights to service Europe and opened a Miami-London route, initially with 747s. European services expanded and the 747s were gradually replaced by the long-range DC-10-30 – National already being a DC-10-10 customer since 1971.
Pan Am's dalliance with widebody three-holers isn't an entirely happy one (in keeping with the airline's general malaise of its last 15 years or so). First up in 1978 PA caused some consternation by ordering 12 of Lockheed's rather desperate shortened Tristar the series 500.
I'd had a hole in my CO fleet for a 747 for sometime but had shied away from getting the Jet-X version as the photos I'd seen didn't make it look too nice. I finally relented after giving up on finding any Bigbirds (they seem so rare) and am very glad I did as this year 2000 produced model is actually a real beauty plus CO's 747s have a great history to go with them.
Braniff did some crazy stuff at the end of the 70s. Harding Lawrence was convinced that deregulation would be a disaster and end up with a return to regulation (as it had in the 1930s) so he went all out for market share, attempting to grab as much as he could before the window closed. This crazy expansion would be the end of Braniff, but the craziest thing they ever did was start Concorde operations on transcontinental routes across the USA.
Pulkovo Federal State Unified Aviation Service Company (“Пулково”) was formed from Aeroflot’s St Petersburg division in 1992 and was fully government owned. It operated St Petersburg's Pulkovo Airport as well as the airline which was the third largest in Russia by the late 1990s.
Initially operating in Aeroflot’s colours it began to rebrand in 1997 and became a fairly common sight at European airports.
Union de Transports Aériens (UTA) was formed in 1963 from the merger of UAT and TAI to create a powerful private international airline for France. With its own spheres of influence it had the largest African network of any Airline and connections with many other outposts of French influence, especially in Asia and the Pacific. Interestingly it also had regional traffic rights between Japan, New Caledonia and New Zealand and that is where the Caravelle comes onto the scene.
The Tupolev Tu-154 was a rugged and effective aircraft for the often primitive operating environment found at many Soviet-era airports, especially during the Russian winter. However by the early 2000s the type was obsolete, although lack of funds and high tariffs on importing Western equipment kept the later TU-154Ms in service well beyond their use by dates, even with Aeroflot. That was a big bonus for enthusiasts as the type was one of only two Russian aircraft (the other is the IL-96), until the recent Sukhoi Superjet, to get into the beautiful 2003 era colours of the national airline and its affiliates.
Seaboard World was one of the two major all freight airlines of the regulated US industry and had a proud history which has been rather overlooked in 1:400 save for a 707 and 747. I'd love to see some DC-8s, L1049s and CL-44s being made in their attractive schemes. 1974 saw a major step-up in capacity for Seaboard when the first 747 freighter arrived, joined in April 1976 by a sister.
Five 747-200Bs were delivered to SAA from October 1971, but it was the 747SP that was ideally suited for SAA's requirements. Its extreme range capabilities were ideal when SAA and South Africa were still pariahs. They took over the Hong Kong service and enabled the start of a Taipei route (lonely South Africa was one of the few states to recognise Taiwan).
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: