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.
I have written about Compass previously so for the airline's full story please see my blogpost from 2018:
Starting operations in December 1990 Compass was 'forced' to use large Airbus A300s due to the cosy cartel that controlled the majority of gate space at Australian airports. They were far from ideal and the capacity dump they provided helped fuel a price war Compass could ill afford but not avoid.
By mid-1991 3 A300s were in service but in June Compass added a single Airbus A310-304 registered VH-YMI on lease from Canadian Airlines. It had been C-FWDX 'H.W. Harry Hayter' - one of ten A310s Canadian had acquired in the takeover of Wardair Canada in October 1989. It had first flown as F-WWCP on December 24, 1986.
The aircraft was delivered in an unusual all white scheme. Presumably, this smaller aircraft was an attempt to right-size some of the the airline's routes. The A310 entered service with a Brisbane-Sydney service on June 25, 1991 as YM333.
As the economy faltered due to the Gulf-War fueled economic downturn the fare war intensified and Compass started crazy discounting. By December it was haemorrhaging money and on December 20th the airline was grounded due to its bankruptcy. The A310's last service was on December 20th flying Sydney-Melbourne as YM335.
The aircraft was stored at Melbourne until taking up it's previous identity again and being ferried to London Gatwick where it was seen in Compass colours but without engines in April 1992. It would become one of 5 ex-Wardair A310s that would be taken up by the Canadian Air Force, which it joined in December 1992.
Below: 15003 landing at RAF Fairford in July 2022 for RIAT
Converted into a freighter and designated as a CC-150 Polaris the aircraft has served with the RCAF, registered as 15003, for nearly 30 years. It remains in service.
Below: Photos of 15003 in the static display taken by myself at RIAT in July 2022
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: