During the early 1950s a third player (Ansett) was entering the scene working around the regulations with multi-stop air coach routes. In fact Ansett had grown 126% from 1950-1954 whilst TAA had grown its own passengers only by 25% (ANA had actually lost passengers). TAA saw air coach as the future but its own Convairs were seen as unsuitable for conversion. To that end the airline decided upon more Viscount 700s and received 9 more (VH-TVG-TVO). By the end of 1959 they accounted for 77.4% of the airline’s passengers.
VH-TVL (from part 1 and seen below) was named ‘George Evans’ and in 1957 set speed records between Adelaide-Perth and Longreach-Brisbane. Her final revenue service was on August 19, 1969 after which she was stored at Brisbane and sold in 1971. She was bought by Toowomba Aviation Museum but was not well looked after and sold to Jensens Metals in 1978. In 1989 she was sold again to Wildmans Timber Yard. In total she had flown 30,275 hours and 21,474 cycles.
In 1956 along with a sizeable order for F27s TAA also ordered a pair of the larger Viscount 810s for delivery in 1958. In the meantime all the earlier Viscount V720s were upgraded to V756s with newer Dart 510 as well as stronger undercarriage and new prop blades.
By the end of 1956 it was clear that ANA's purchase of DC-6s had been a disaster. The aircraft suffered low passenger appeal and high break-even figures at a time when TAA's Viscounts went from strength to strength. In addition competition from Ansett and losses on DC-3 services combined with the DC-6s to bring ANA close to collapse. Then in January 1957 ANA's chief Ivan Holyman died suddenly on holiday and the airline so long led by him was rudderless. By May 1957 ANA was struggling to meet payments. TAA successfully avoided a consolidation of all Australian airlines and attempts to force its sale into private hands. It astutely maneuvered Ansett to take over ANA and ensure the continuity of the two airline system. Ansett himself was happy to takeover ANA and force a good deal for his airline with the government. As such ANA was taken over by Ansett on August 23, 1957 and TAA gained a more impressive competitor.
Ansett having missed out on the Viscounts (aside from a a pair from Butler Air Transport) ordered four Viscount 800s in 1958. The stretched Viscount was rather lost in the battle to acquire Electras or Caravelles but Ansett put its first aircraft into service on March 20, 1959 two days after their first Electra.
Fortunately TAA was able to receive its first two Viscounts 810s in April. Ansett actually even got to operate some of TAA's Viscount 700s as part of the bizarre cross-lease agreement forced upon TAA (by which it got Ansett's inferior DC-6s). Both airlines were given permission as late as 1962 to acquire another Viscount 800 each and TAA's aircraft became VH-TVR. This was to be the airline's last Viscount but the type continued to serve until August 1970. All in all TAA's Viscounts would wear three separate liveries.
VH-TVP (above) was named ‘John Gould’ and operated with TAA for just over a decade. Her last passenger service from Canberra-Melbourne was in fact the last Viscount passenger service flown in Australia. Ten days later she operated her last service for TAA, this time as a freighter, though plans to convert her were shelved when she was damaged on the 28th. Though repaired she was then sold to Far Eastern Air Transport in April 1971 as B-2025. They leased her to Air Vietnam from March 1973-March 1974 and sold her in August 1976 to Mandala Airlines. Here she became PK-RVS ‘Avatura’ and continued in service until withdrawn at Jakarta in April 1993.
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: