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.
Following Canadian's takeover of Wardair in 1989 Canada 3000 would quickly grow to become Canada's largest charter airline and one that was consistently profitable too. At the turn of the century the massive changes wrought by the takeover of Canadian Airlines by Air Canada appeared to open up a space for C3 to become Canada's no 2 airline and part of that strategy involved acquisitions. However, C3 would soon live to regret its purchases and desperately try to offload them as it hit the turbulence of 2001.
Compass Airlines was the first attempt to compete against the duopoly of Ansett and Australian Airlines when market deregulation finally came about in November 1990. It was doomed to fail, but did become the only airline operator of VH registered A300-600s - and oddly a single Airbus A310 too.
By the mid-1980s the good times for Venezuela were well and truly over. The currency had been devalued in 1983 unleashing an economic crisis, the nation was deep in debt and corruption was on the rise. The national airlines, VIASA and Aeropostal, were struggling but AVENSA, under the leadership of Henry Lord Boulton, used the situation to unleash his own brand of 'savage capitalism' which would enable AVENSA to thrive, at least for a short time.
Buchannan Models has been producing more exclusive smaller runs of models using the NG Models Tristar and 757 moulds for a while now. They have enjoyed creating often obscure hybrids and their most recent release is an Air Canada Tristar wearing in effect the full initial silver 'New Mark' Eastern Air Lines livery. This aircraft, along with one other, served regularly in the Tristar fleets of both Air Canada and Eastern due to an unusual arrangement with the Haas-Turner finance lease organisation.
Pan Am was an airline used to grand gestures and though by the mid-70s it was in serious trouble, due to the massive overspend on 747s, the economic woes of the early 70s and increasing international competition, it still had plenty of hubris left in the tank. A pair of important anniversaries led to two special flights being operated each flying a new 747SP around the world but each in different directions. Each flight would break the world record and interestingly each flight would use the same aircraft - N533PA.
I recently posted about Aer Lingus and its short usage of the 767-300 but it wasn't alone in the British Isles in utilising the type during the 1990s for a short period. As with Aer Lingus the arrival of a 767 at Virgin Atlantic was directly related to a specific route but in this case, unlike the Irish example, Virgin got exactly what it needed at the right time. The 767-300 was never intended as a test but served exclusively as a stopgap. Even so, it got the full livery treatment and is once again an interesting what-if version.
The Vickers Viscount sold well, but although it got sales all around the world the USA was relatively lukewarm to turboprops in general, especially British ones. Even so, the Viscount still appeared in the States and in some unusual locations long after it was out of production. In the USA's newest state the Viscount was put into service by both competing Hawaiian carriers, well after production had ended, to help bridge the gap to pure jets and help both cope with the growth in passengers statehood at brought.
The rise of the ME3 has been nothing short of meteoric and nowadays this area of the world appears to be involved in (or ruining) everything, not the least football! Anyway back in the 1990s the advent of Emirates and Qatar Airways seemed like nothing special. Just a couple more vanity project national airlines. Nobody seemed especially bothered by them, but of course that would all change in the 2000s as unlimited funding and a useful geographic location changed aviation forever. Qatar Airways is today a very different beast to the airline that began flying in 1994 and here I take a look back at its earliest years.
Some airlines have ordered new aircraft and operated them only briefly due to changing operational needs and financial problems. Aer Lingus and the 767-300 are one such example who utilised the type only briefly and never for its original intended purpose. Considering the airline subsequently re-equipped with the competing Airbus A330 the 767-300 in full Aer Lingus colours is a great example of what might have been.
Airline's come and go with some frequency, but some are more interesting than others and few short-lived attempts get a release in 400 scale. Some do though, usually via that haven of diversity Aeroclassics. I do love an obscure airline from an obscure nation and Pacific Flier is both. Small Pacific island nations have often attempted to create their own connectivity but it has not always been easy for them and Palau's attempt in 2009 did not last long.
The glory of the Pan Am name made it almost inevitable that it would return following the original's demise. Interestingly the second incarnation had more in common with another fallen giant, but the mid-90s was a challenging period to start an airline, especially one competing in the cut-throat Northeast-Florida market. The initial bright shoots of Pan Am II faded quickly and a merger with another low-cost airline could not stabilise the situation enough to stop Pan Am II from being a short-lived footnote in the history of the once glorious name of Pan Am.
The A319 has been an important and successful member of the A320 family, especially in the early 2000s. It's successor, the A319neo, has not fared anywhere near as well with, depending on how you slice it, only 13 deliveries since 2021 and a tiny order backlog. In fact, currently it is only in service with a single airline (and several non-airline customers), although its second airline customer, Tibet Airlines, looks like it'll be receiving its first aircraft soon. What has changed and what's in store for the A319neo?
Air Pacific's first foray into long-haul flights was an expensive failure, however the airline wasn't to be denied and tried another tack. Although upgrading capacity to 747s may at first glance have seemed unwise the new arrangement was a big success in no small part to its new partnership with Australia's national carrier Qantas.
When I investigate the histories of models in my collection it is always an interesting moment when I realise that I have the same airframe in my collection wearing different liveries. This is the case for one of my DC-10-30s, which started its life in the South Pacific and would alternate during its career between that region and the USA. It was also unique in being the only DC-10 to wear the wonderful scheme of Air Pacific of Fiji and would be the aircraft that launched that airline's ill-fated first steps into long-haul travel.
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: