Lockheed's L-1011 Tristar had a long, complicated and varied career with British Airways, and its charter arm British Airtours (later Caledonian Airways). They also had an equally complicated ordering process. Despite, at least initially, lacking the range for longer routes the full-length Tristars served BA well and were at the forefront of making it ‘The World’s Favourite Airline’ during the 1980s.
For the updated version of this article see the following blogpost:
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...
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.
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'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: