Air travel to Hawaii was booming in the 1960s off the back of non-stop jet services from the US West Coast and the island chains new found statehood. Aloha's Fairchild F-27s had proven excellent but were now too small and the movement everywhere was towards service with jets. Aloha wanted jets too but as a small intra-state airline it had to traverse a few bumps before it could get them.
Aloha was doing well but being only a small airline it struggled to compete with the major players who were busy sucking up jet production for years to come. To get around this it looked instead to the second-hand market were prop-jets could be acquired as the first line airlines replaced them with pure jets.
In 1963 Aloha introduced a trio of Vickers Viscounts. Two were ex-Austrian Airlines 745Ds and the other was an ex-Capital 798. The Viscounts seated 56 but the aircraft were not a success with either passengers or crew. The pilots complained that the Viscount 'flew like a truck' and was 'grossly underpowered'. These are interesting comments since I am unware of other Viscount operators sharing the opinion and it certainly had no effect on the type's success. The passengers were unhappy for more understandable reasons - the high capacity layout made the type cramped.
The new 737s quickly replaced the One-Elevens which were all sold by mid-1969. In fact the unpopular Viscounts actually lasted longer in the Aloha fleet. Switching to the larger 737s almost killed Aloha as it came at a time of a decrease in demand and delayed services to Hawaii from a number of major US airlines. It got so bad that Hawaiian and Aloha almost merged until the former reneged on the deal, figuring Aloha was doomed anyway. Against the odds Aloha survived but it was the 737 that would form the basis of its new fleet, not the BAC One-Eleven. Aloha's 3 One-Elevens all went to the successful One-Eleven operator Mohawk Airlines who was subsequently taken over by Allegheny and then became USAir. All three lasted in service in the USA until 1988/89.
Wood, Bill. 1996. 50 Years of Aloha: The Story of Aloha Airlines
Hill, Malcolm L. 1999. BAC One-Eleven. Crowood Aviation Series
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: