Managing the seasonal nature of the charter airline business has historically led to several airlines switching capacity across the Atlantic in the Winter with lease agreements whereby their aircraft get a winter in North America and a summer back in the UK. Air Europe had such an agreement with Air Florida between 1980/81 and 1982/83 but the failure of the American airline led to a more unusual arrangement with the British flag carrier that not only saw Air Europe swap aircraft but also acquire its first 757s from British Airways order backlog.
The Ilyushin IL-86 'Camber' encapsulates a big chunk of what was wrong with the Soviet Union, but also some of the things they did well. By the 1980s when it entered service, it was obsolete. Its development was protracted, its service entry late, its performance anaemic and its production far too prolonged and slow. However despite this it had many unique features, which adapted it to Russian operations well, was solid, strong, reliable and very safe.
The Tupolev Tu-104 was an impressive achievement that made the West stand up and take notice of Soviet engineering capability, even if it wasn't quite the dream jet the Soviets made it out to be. Indeed, the type was a serious challenge and that is perhaps partly why outside of the Soviet Union it served only with the reliable CSA, although one aircraft did half-sneak into Alitalia colours briefly too!
The UK charter airline scene at the dawn of the 1990s was dominated by the BAC One-Eleven, Boeing 737-200 and 757-200. The 737-300 has seen a decent take-up by airlines, such as Dan Air, Monarch and Orion, but was quickly usurped by larger 757s or the new kid on the block the Airbus A320. When an airline needed lower capacity than the 757 it was the A320 they usually fell back on and Air 2000, one of the most successful UK charter carriers of the time, was no expection.
IGS operations had been a close battle between Pan Am and BEA, with Air France always a distant third, despite their Caravelle service to Tegel. Flying into Templehof was what mattered and Pan Am had managed to counter the introduction of turboprop Viscounts with frequency and the lower costs of the DC-6Bs. 1966 would see Pan Am turn the tables as it introduced the first regular jet service into Templehof on IGS routes.
By 1958 Berlin had been served by the airlines of the victorious Western powers for a decade. Operations had settled down to a routine whereby Pan Am, BEA and Air France could compete against each other normally even though the political situation surrounding Berlin was just as volatile as ever. Pan Am had the edge with its Douglas DC-6Bs but that would all change in 1958 as BEA upped the competitive pressure with its own prop-jets.
The carving up of Germany after the end of World War Two led to the unfortunate scenario whereby the nation was permanently partitioned, as the Western allies and Soviets became protagonists in the immediate postwar era. This was especially challenging for the former capital city of Berlin, which although itself split into zones, allotted to the victorious powers, was as a whole deeply situated within the Soviet zone. As a result, it would become the front-line of the Cold War and also have its own unique civil aviation arrangements.
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: