By the 1970s it had been years since the US majors had bought any foreign aircraft and the new Airbus consortium was struggling to sell its A300 to anybody, let alone the Americans. Eastern, cash-strapped and inefficient, needed a new aircraft and it was Frank Borman's airline that would give Airbus the opportunity that perhaps more than any allowed it to be taken seriously on the world stage.
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.
Between 1958 and 1961 there was short-lived political union of Egypt and Syria (see United Arab Republic - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) leading to the Egyptian national airline Misrair becoming United Arab Airlines (UAA). The union was more a takeover of Syria by Egypt partly as a way of crushing Communism in Syria but also as a stepping stone to a possible pan-arabic state. The union of the two countries collapsed on September 28, 1961, however Egypt remained officially known as the United Arab Republic until 1971 so UAA also kept its name.
Aeroclassics recently released SIA and PIA Airbus A300B4s and as with my Western/Air Pacific DC-10s it turns out they are the same airframe. Singapore Airlines was renowned during the 1980s for operating aircraft for only very short periods prior to selling them on.
South African Airways was formed in February 1934, when the government of South Africa tookover Union Airways. Prewar equipment was largely German but postwar Avro Yorks gave way quickly to DC-4s.
In 1950 four Constellations arrived and only two years later SAA was using jets when it leased a pair of Comet 1s from BOAC. The Comet's failure saw a fallback to DC-7Bs in 1956, but at least these had the range to operate from Johannesburg to London with only one stop (in Khartoum). Fortnightly service to Perth (via the Cocos and Mauritius) began in late 1957. Viscounts took up short-range routes and the real jet age arrived in July 1960 with 3 707-320s.
It has been an outstanding year for Aeroclassics. This month's releases were amazing and a few months ago they struck another blow to my wallet with a raft of special A300s. Not least amongst them was and Iranian example.
Iran Air dates from February 1962 when it was formed from the merger of Iranian Airways and Persian Air Services. Three years later it received its first jet, a 707, and growth continued funded by the Shah’s regime to the extent even of Concorde orders. A pair of French registered A300s, including F-ODHZ, were leased from 1978 prior to the arrival of two Iranian registered aircraft in 1980 (EP-IBR/S). These were followed by four more in 1982/83.
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: