Pacific Adventurers: UTA's Caravelles
Union de Transports Aériens (UTA) was formed in 1963 from the merger of UAT and TAI to create a powerful private international airline for France. With its own spheres of influence it had the largest African network of any Airline and connections with many other outposts of French influence, especially in Asia and the Pacific. Interestingly it also had regional traffic rights between Japan, New Caledonia and New Zealand and that is where the Caravelle comes onto the scene.
In 1964 Sud-Aviation introduced the Super Caravelle 10B. This had a new leading edge extension to the wing, modified flaps and a 1.4 m stretch allowing seating for 105 people. The engines were also new in the form of P&W JT9Ds. Only 22 were built. Sud-Aviation however also produced the 10R which was a basic Caravelle re-engined with the Pratt & Whitneys. UTA bought two of this type (of which only 20 were made). It appears UTA had already had some experience with the Caravelle having leased a pair of United Airlines aircraft briefly previously, but information is hard to come by.
The two Sud SE.210 Caravelle 10Rs were ordered specifically to serve the Noumea-Sydney route in the Pacific. The first to arrive, Caravelle F-BNRA (msn 201), was delivered on January 26, 1966 and entered service the following month to West Africa. An interim Caravelle (F-BOEE) was leased until Caravelle 10R F-BNRB (msn 222) was delivered on March 7, 1967. RB was the first to be sold, joining SATA as HB-ICQ in 1972 and then CTA in 1978. Her final operator was Istanbul Airlines as TC-ASA whom she joined in January 1987 and served with until November 1991.
Interestingly Air Caledonie would operate the Caravelle on the same Noumea-Sydney route over 20 years later.
For more information on the accuracy of this mould see Caravelle Moulds in 1:400
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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: