G-AXFC Britten-Norman BN-2A Islander of Westward Airways
London Gatwick General Aviation Terminal - 1970
Douglas Holland Writes:
The following is taken from my article on: The Air Links between Gatwick and Heathrow originally published on:
Douglas Holland's Aerospace Site
The Westward Airways Gatwick-Heathrow Shuttle (1969-1970)
Almost forgotten now, this started on the 25th June 1969 using an Islander BN2 G-AXFC in standard Westward Airways livery, but with Gatwick-Heathrow booking Telephone Numbers covering the top of the wing.
The service operated from the General Aviation Terminal (GAT), not from a Gate accessible directly from the Main Terminal. I have yet to discover the Heathrow Terminus, for the service, but one suspects it was similarly less than ideal for passengers.
With 20/20 Hindsight, both the choice of equipment (although Westward would have had no immediate alternative) and the use of the GAT as a Terminus, meant the service had a ‘huge hill’ to climb in terms of Passenger acceptance. This coupled with what appears to have been a ‘low profile’ in marketing terms meant that the chances of long term success were stacked against it.
Westward persevered, but the fates appeared to be both against the company and therefore the service. The first hammer blow was an accident involving one of the company’s Islanders at St Mary’s on the Scilly Islands on the 23rd February 1970, necessitating the leasing in of replacement aircraft at considerable cost. Despite this Westward continued to use an Islander on the Shuttle until mid-summer 1970, but the service never became a commercial success.
During July 1970 Westward withdrew the Islander and sub-chartered a Southend Air Taxis Piper Cherokee to operate the flights, this change of equipment effectively signalled that the end was near and indeed the last operation was on the 22nd August 1970.
Westward Airways After the Shuttle
Westward Airways continued operating on other routes for the remainder of the summer the company’s situation was bleak and finally ceased operations on the 16th October 1970.
Westward Airways name was revived when V.H. Bellamy formed Westward Airways (Lands End) Ltd in August 1971
Although it has never operated as a ‘true airline’, the company has built replica Aircraft, operates the Lands End Aero Club and since 1992 is the holder of a long term lease on Lands End Aerodrome.
Although ownership of the land which the Airport occupies has now passed from the Joint Councils (Penwith District Council, Kerrier District Council and Cornwall County Council) to. Ambercroft Properties Ltd, a London based property developer) the tenancy continues.
Westward Airways (Lands End) is now a subsidiary of the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company. But for the moment at least the Westward Airways name lives on
Brief Notes on G-AXFC lifted from the CAA : G-INFO Database
Manufacturer: BRITTEN-NORMAN LTD Type: BN2A ISLANDER Serial No.: 76 Engines: 2 x LYCOMING O-540-E4C5