Silver City Airways


Silver City Airways

Silver City Airways was a British airline between 1946 and 1962.

History

The company was named after a nickname of the town of Broken Hill, Australia, where one of the airline's owners (the Zinc Corporation) operated mines. Silver City was first based at Langley Aerodrome, but moved to Blackbushe Airport in 1947 when Langley was forced to close due to the expansion of Heathrow Airport.

Aircraft

Initially, the company bought three Avro Lancastrians (civil version of the Lancaster Mk.3 bomber), which it operated until 1949. The airline's first commercial flight was in November 1946 when Lancastrian G-AHBW flew to Johannesburg and return. In 1947, three additional ex-military aircraft (Dakota or Douglas DC-3 transports) were acquired and used for shorter charter work. Also in 1947, the first Bristol Freighter was leased. Along with one of the Dakotas, this aircraft took part in the airlift of Hindu refugees from Pakistan following Partition of India in 1947. The Bristol Freighter was significant in the development of the airline, and the fleet soon expanded to four aircraft, three of which were used in the Berlin Air Lift in 1948.

The first managing director was Wing Commander "Taffy" Grimth James Powell, a keen and impatient traveller. Powell realised he could adapt the Bristol Freighter to fly passengers and cars from Britain to Continental Europe and Jersey. This "air ferry" would allow British holidaymakers to avoid waits for sea ferries. On the 13 July 1948, the airline made its first flight with a car, from Lympne in Kent to Le Touquet on the northern coast of France. The ferry service was a success, and new cross-Channel routes were introduced, along with shorter-lived services from Stranraer to Belfast. However, it soon became apparent that the grass runway at Lympne was not suitable for the increased volume of traffic.

outhend and Lydd

The airline moved to Southend Airport where its headquarters remained. Following a further move to West Malling in 1953, the company decided to build its own airport near Lydd, in Kent which it called Ferryfield. In July 1954, after six months' work and a cost of £400,000, it started operations at what was the first post-war airport in the United Kingdom. The Duke of Edinburgh opened Lydd Airport (now London Ashford Airport) on April 5, 1956 and his flight to Le Touquet carried two cars. Regular flights across the English Channel to France were available between 7.30am and 11pm for £25 a car, £4 per passenger. Between 1953 and 1957, 137,000 cars and 500,000 passengers flew with Silver City from Lydd Airport.

In the late 1950s, Zinc Corporation sold the airline to the British Aviation Services Group (a subsidiary of the P&O Shipping Group, trading under the name Britavia). Silver City took over Air Kruise in 1958 and the group also acquired Lancashire Aircraft Corporation, Manx Airlines and Dragon Airways. On February 27 1958, a Silver City charter flight from the Isle of Man to Manchester crashed in bad weather on Winter Hill, Lancashire. Thirty-five people were killed. Between 1959 and 1962, the airline used the larger Handley Page Hermes to operate passenger flights marketed as the "Silver Arrow" between Manston and Le Touquet and on holiday flights throughout Europe.

In addition to airports mentioned above, the airline also operated air ferries from Southampton, Hurn, etc., to continental destinations.

Takeover

In 1962, Silver City was taken over by Air Holdings, parent of British United Airways which operated similar services to the continent from Rochford Airport in Essex. By the end of 1962, all Silver City aircraft were either in British United colors or had been retired, and so the name ceased to be used. The operation became part of British United Air Ferries, later simply British Air Ferries.

Following the opening of the Channel Tunnel, specialised trains known as "Le Shuttle" perform a similar role for motorists wishing to cross the English Channel, meeting a demand even Taffy Powell is unlikely to have foreseen. On their short journeys, these shuttle trains share tracks with the inter-city passenger Eurostars and dedicated, longer distance freight trains.

Aircraft operated

* Airspeed Consul
* Avro Lancastrian
* Bristol Freighter
* Bristol Superfreighter
* de Havilland Dove
* de Havilland Dragon Rapide
* de Havilland Express
* de Havilland Heron
* Douglas DC-3
* Handley Page Hermes
* Lockheed Lodestar
* Miles M.57 Aerovan
* Vickers Vanguard
* Vickers Viscount

Further reading

* "The Devil Casts His Net", Steve Morrin, ISBN 0-9534503-1-7, The Winter Hill Air Disaster.

References

*
* British Civil Aircraft since 1919, Volume 1, A.J. Jackson, Putnam, London, 1973, ISBN 0-370-10006-9
* The Bristol 170 Freighter, Air-Britain, Tonbridge, 1977, ISBN 0-85130-054-5

External links

* [http://www.fundinguniverse.com/company-histories/British-World-Airlines-Ltd-Company-History.html British World Airlines Ltd: Company History]


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Silver City — can refer to:Places;United States *Silver City, Idaho *Silver City, Iowa *Silver City, Michigan *Silver City, Mississippi *Silver City, New Mexico *Silver City, North Carolina *Silver City, Nevada *Silver City, Oklahoma;Canada *Silver City,… …   Wikipedia

  • Silver City — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Silver City désigne : Sommaire 1 Cinéma 2 Toponymie …   Wikipédia en Français

  • City Charter High School — Location 717 Liberty Ave., Suite 900, Pittsburgh, PA 15222 Coordinates …   Wikipedia

  • Silver Beatles — The Beatles Gründung 1960 Auflösung 1970 Genre Rock, Pop, Beat Letzte Besetzung vor der Auflösung …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • British United Airways — (BUA) was the largest independent UK based airline during the 1960s. Its origins can be traced to the merger of Airwork and Hunting Clan Air Transport in July 1960. The merger within the UK airline industry was necessitated by the apparent… …   Wikipedia

  • British United Airways — IATA Code …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • British United Airways — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda British United Airways (BUA) fue la mayor aerolínea independiente británica en los años 60. Sus orígenes se remontan a la fusión en julio de 1960 de Airwork y Hunting Clan Air Transport. Fusiones de este tipo… …   Wikipedia Español

  • British United Island Airways — British Island Airways was a regional airline operating routes from its base at Gatwick to a variety of locations within the British Isles. Its origins can be traced to the acquisition of Jersey Airlines and Silver City by BUA in 1962. BUA then… …   Wikipedia

  • Masbate City — City of Masbate Ciudad nin Masbate Dakbayan sa Masbate Lungsod ng Masbate Nickname(s): City of Hearts, The Rodeo Capital of the Philippines, The Melting Pot of Diverse Cultures and Traditions in Central Philippines Motto: Aksyon Padayon! …   Wikipedia

  • US Airways — IATA US ICAO AWE Callsign CACTUS …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.