Continental’s Viscount operations though successful weren’t as long-lived as they might have been. The arrival of pure jets in the late 1950s immediately made even turboprops appear rather old-fashioned, despite the fact that none of the early US jets were optimised for short-medium haul services. The Viscounts were relegated to secondary routes by 1960 and disposed of in 1966 as DC-9s began to arrive. All were sold onto Channel Airways of England who liked the Continental Golden Jet livery so much they cheekily stole it and made it their own! Channel however wasn’t interested in first class service and quickly replaced the interiors with the high density offering it was famous for. For the story of Channel and its Viscounts go here.
The Viscount proved that foreign manufacturers could break into the partisan US marketplace if their products were of sufficient quality, and paved the way for the subsequent success of the Sud-Aviation Caravelle and BAC One-eleven in the same arena. It also proved that the turboprop was a successful powerplant in comparison to temperamental piston engines and fuel hungry turbojets. Though it shone brightly for only a relatively short period the Viscount certainly made its presence felt in the United States.
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: