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British Airlines of the Past

G-AYZZ Boeing 707-323 of Caledonian-BUA
London Gatwick - 1971

G-AYZZ Boeing 707-323 of Caledonian/BUA at London Gatwick (LGW) - 1971 © Caz Caswell 1971

Photographic Copyright Caz Caswell © 1971-2008

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Douglas Holland Writes:
Caledonian plus BUA equals Caledonian/BUA:     G-AYZZ     DIH Remembers Takeover Day     External Links

Caledonian plus BUA equals Caledonian/BUA: By 1970 British United had coalesced into two main operating companies (the days of British United Air Ferries, BUA Helicopter and BUA Hovercraft now history):

British United Airways operators of BAC 1-11 200 and 500 series Aircraft and 4 VC10 Aircraft, these operating a mixture of Scheduled and Charter Services (see BUA - G-APTD Viscount 833 in this album). .

British United Island Airways, operating Handley Page HP7 Dart Heralds for both Passenger, Combi and all Cargo Service plus a number of DC3/C47 Freighters. The Heralds operating services to regional Airports in the UK, Channel Islands and Europe. The DC3/C47 Fleet mainly doing Cargo Flights to Channel Islands both Day and Night plus Night Newspaper Flights to Germany.

Plus at its Gatwick base, it had Aircraft Engineering, Aircraft Catering, A Complete Ground Handling Service (Terminal and Airside), all of which contributed revenue, plus a large Internal Services infra-structure with all the Airline/Airport Specific Functions, but an almost complete set of support sections including Property Services with most building trades represented, a Security Section, Communications Unit with an associated Radio Workshop and a Motor Transport Section. Whilst in the main these were all cost overheads, in some cases these sections were able to generate limited income from other Carriers, or Agencies to use their services.

Finally it had minority stakes in two African Airlines: Gambia Airways and Sierra Leone Airways (SLA).

What BUA no longer had, was the revenue base to go with its structure. The old standby of Trooping Contracts had effectively disappeared and several other temporary, but very profitable operations had ended.
The situation was simply, either:
Her Majesties Government (HMG) transferred some very profitable routes from BOAC/BEA to BUA immediately. In which case British & Commonwealth would continue with its ownership of BUA
Or
BUA was sold off and British & Commonwealth were already heavily into talks with BOAC with a view to such a takeover.

As is often the case, HMG were in two minds, it wanted an independent Second Force Airline to compete with BOAC/BEA, as per the recommendations of the Edwards Committee of 1969. It saw BUA as the leading contender for the core of the second force, but.. It didn't want British & Commonwealth holding a gun to its head, nor BUA disappear into BOAC.

Enter Caledonian Airways, which had grown from its start-up in 1961 into a successful, lean mean, charter airline machine. Like BUA it Operated BAC 1-11s and also had Boeing 707 320C Aircraft. It now wanted to expand, notably into Scheduled Services and become a major force in the Airline Industry. The Edwards Committee Recommendations and the situation at BUA gave it major opportunity to achieve its aims.

This provided HMG with the solution it wanted and with Government encouragement Caledonian Airways took over BUA for GBP6.9 Million and a further GBP5 Million to buy the BAC 1-11's British & Commonwealth had been leasing to BUA. British & Commonwealth retained ownership of BUIA, re branding it as British Island Airways
(see BIA - G-APWF Herald 201 in this album).

The takeover was formally announced on the 1st November 1970.

The merged Airline was to operate as Caledonian//BUA (one of the least inspiring Names in Airline History). Fortunately this was always planned as a temporary measure during the integration phase and on the 1st September 1971 the Airline was re branded as British Caledonian Airways (BCAL).

G-AYZZ Boeing 707-323C - The Aircraft in the Picture above.
Delivered to American Airlines at the end of August 1968 as N8417, Stayed with AA until 6th June 1971 when it was leased to Caledonian//BUA. The lease renewed on 08th June 1972, by which time the Airline had been re branded British Caledonian. Left the British Register in April 1981 when leased to Global International and ended its days with Red Apple AvServ at Davis-Monthan where it was reduced to produce for the USAF KC135 Fleet, before the remains were scrapped in 1999.

Douglas Holland Remembers Tekeover Day:
At the time I was a very junior Passenger Services Assistant on the 1500-2300 Shift the day the takeover was announced. As was a BUA Custom despite the almost total lack of life in the terminal, let alone passengers all the Check-in desk were manned, except I was the only bloke, all the rest were attractive young ladies.
An ITN Crew turned up and briefly interviewed each of us! I assumed that any producer with any sense would use an interview from one of the Girls and in fact avoid putting the idiot with oversized hat, big ears and glasses in shot.
When I arrived home I discovered my Family and several neighbours there to greet me with the embarrassing news I had appeared on the News and it was my interview that had been broadcast. A nasty shock for a shy 18 year old especially as I couldn't even remember what I had said! So it was with some trepidation I went in next day, fortunately it was never mentioned, at least not as a disciplinary matter, so whatever I said must have been deemed OK.

External Links
British United Airways - Wikipedia Entry

Caledonian Airways - Wikipedia Entry

British Caledonian Airways - Main Wikipedia Entry
British Caledonian in 1977/1978/1979 - Wikipedia Entry
British Caledonian in the 1980s - Wikipedia Entry

British Caledonian Airways - Tribute Site

BCAL Reunited - Tribute Site

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