Click here for a Site Map

Click here for a list of abbreviations

And for the technical minded:

Click here to view the background picture(s)

Home
Up
Vickers & BAC
History & BOAC
BOAC Advertising
Other Operators
RAF VC10s
Victoria Cross Holders
The Tanker Conversions
Incidents and Accidents
Hijackings
The VC10 - 25th Anniversary
The VC10 - 50 years ago
The VC10 at 50 - 29 June 2012
Surviving Bits & Pieces
The Double-Deck Super VC10
The competition: Il-62

Send E-mail
Note: Remove the last section from the e-mail address before sending!


View My Guestbook

Sign My Guestbook

Other Operators

While BOAC was the VC10's main customer, and the RAF provided the VC10 with a significant 'stretch' to its career, there were quite a few other operators that played a role in the VC10's career.

Tables show details as follows:

Registration In service period Next career move

Air Ceylon
Air Malawi
British United Airways
British Caledonian
East African Airways
Ghana Airways
Gulf Air
Middle East Airlines
Nigeria Airways
Qatar Government
Rolls Royce
Royal Aircraft Establishment

Sultan of Oman Royal Flight
Sierra Leone Airways
United Arab Emirates Government


Air Ceylon


A4O-VL with Air Ceylon titles taxiing past Omani A4O-AB at Heathrow.
Photo collection F. van Vliet


A4O-VL in Gulf Air colours but wearing Air Ceylon titles seen here in storage, probably after its sale to the RAF.
Photo via Aviation Photography of Miami collection

Air Ceylon never owned its own VC10 but operated services from Colombo to London using BOAC VC10s which were allocated on availability. In December 1977 A4O-VL was leased from Gulf Air for the same purpose. After the lease, in January 1978, A4O-VL was returned to Gulf Air but probably never flew another route for them as the aircraft was sold to the RAF in the same year and the photo on the right shows it stored with the Air Ceylon titles still present.

A4O-VL 1977-1978 back to Gulf Air

Back to Top
 


Air Malawi


Undergoing maintenance with British Caledonian.
Photo by Caz Caswell


7Q-YKH seen at Manchester after a diversion, this was not a normal stop for this airline.
Photo R. Doherty

Malawi had already regularly been visited by EAA and BUA VC10s when Air Malawi bought G-ASIW off British Caledonian. Operating in a bright red livery it was the flagship of the company for several years until in 1979 it was deemed beyond economic use. Stored for several years at Bournemouth (Hurn) it eventually flew home to Malawi where it was left to decay, eventually being scrapped in 1994.

7Q-YKH 1974 - 1979 withdrawn from use

Click here to see a route map of Air Malawi's services in the '70s.


Photographed at Johannesburg in 1976.

Back to Top
 


British United Airways


A promotional model showing BUA colours, it is interesting to compare this with the scheme that was applied to the aircraft seen below.
Photo copyright BAE SYSTEMS


A lot of interest for this BUA VC10 at Zambia in 1965.
Photo J. Abington

 

Freddie Laker was involved early on with the VC10 design, as he saw another way to use the airframe, this leading to the cargo door-equipped Type 1103. Laker's BUA did not operate a passengers only service, but filled up the half-booked aircraft with five tons of cargo, thus making otherwise inoperable routes pay again. In this way BUA had found its own niche in the airline market, one which would later on be fully exploited by larger companies. Initially BUA ordered two VC10s, G-ASIW and G-ASIX, but when Ghana Airways canceled their order for a third VC10 this airframe was completed as a type 1103 and sold to BUA as G-ATDJ. Later on G-ARTA was converted to airline standard and also added to this fleet, initially she was dry leased to Middle East Airlines as OD-AFA for a year. The entire fleet was sold to British Caledonian when they merged with BUA in 1970.

G-ASIW 1964 - 1969 to BCal
G-ASIX 1964 - 1969 to BCal
G-ATDJ 1965 - 1969 to BCal
G-ARTA 1969 - 1969 to BCal

 


An example of the later BUA logo, click to see the letterhead.

 

G-ATDJ parked at Mascot airport, Sydney, in the later BUA colours.
Photo from Peter Keating collection

G-ATDJ parked next to a BUA 1-11.
The Michael Harries Collection The Tangmere Military Aviation Museum Trust

Same situation, these photos are from Gatwick, taken in 1969.
The Michael Harries Collection The Tangmere Military Aviation Museum Trust

Back to Top
 


British Caledonian


G-ATDJ seen in British Caledonian colours.
Photo via www.British-Caledonian.com


G-ASIX seen in British Caledonian livery at Las Palmas in 1972.
Photo via Aviation Photography of Miami collection

This company acquired their VC10s through the merger with BUA, getting four airframes as part of the deal. The VC10's were repainted and given names of famous 'Lochs' in keeping with British Caledonian tradition. They flew in this guise for three years, mainly on BCal's South American routes, after which they were sold off one by one. G-ATDJ went to the RAE in February 1973, G-ASIX to the Omani government in October 1974 and G-ASIW followed in November 1974  going to Air Malawi. Dave Thaxter has set up a wonderful tribute website dedicated to British Caledonian.

G-ASIW 1969 - 1974 to Air Malawi
G-ASIX 1969 - 1974 to Sultan of Oman Royal Flight
G-ATDJ 1969 - 1973 to RAE
G-ARTA 1969 - 1972 damaged beyond repair, scrapped

 

Back to Top
 


East African Airways


5Y-ADA at Frankfurt.
Photo M. Winter / NARA-Verlag

5Y-ADA seen at Paris Orly Airport on 4 June 1969.
Photo A.J. Altevogt

Perhaps ironically, the ultimate Super VC10 was not ordered by big operators like Pan Am, but by East African Airways. The EAA group was an amalgam of the aerial services of three nations - Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. It mainly flew on the domestic African market in its early days, but grew to become the main African-based airline, operating routes around the globe. After 1970 business dwindled as competition from European based operators grew, and the loss of 5X-UVA in an accident in 1972 didn't help either. EAA struggled on until in 1977 it ceased operations as its financial backbone had disappeared. The four remaining VC10s were repossessed by BAC and eventually went to the RAF. This website shows various images of East African Airways aircraft and sceneries.

For a while the EAA VC10s were known as 'Jambo Jets', somebody in marketing had thought of this to counter the introduction of BOAC's 747s which were known as Jumbo jets. 'Jambo' is the normal greeting in Swahili. The term wasn't very useful in P/A announcements and was quickly dropped again. Coincidentally (or perhaps related to this issue) the EAA staff newsletter was called 'Jambo news'.

5X-UVA 1966 - 1972 destroyed in take off accident
5H-MMT 1966 - 1977 back to BAC
5Y-ADA 1967 - 1977 back to BAC
5X-UVJ 1969 - 1977 back to BAC
5H-MOG 1970 - 1977 back to BAC


 

Variations on a theme, various EAA logos, click to see larger versions or letterhead example

Back to Top


Ghana Airways


9G-ABP showing the early Ghana Airways colours.
Photo A.J. Altevogt


9G-ABO in the final Ghana Airways scheme worn by the VC10, a very 'modern' scheme compared to the early colours. The repainting was done in several steps during regular maintenance as the aircraft could not be taken out of service any longer than necessary.
Photo by G. Hall

Ghana Airways was started partly on BOAC money, and started operations with ex-BOAC Stratocruisers, later switching to Britannias. It felt confident enough to order three VC10s, but in the end only bought two airframes, of which one was quickly leased to Middle East Airlines. This left 9G-ABO as Ghana Airways' single VC10 and in this capacity she flew on until withdrawn from use in 1980. Although both aircraft were designated as type 1102, - ABP had a main deck cargo door while -ABO did not have this feature.

9G-ABO 1964 - 1980 withdrawn from use
9G-ABP 1965 - 1967 leased to MEA
9G-ABQ N/A sold to BUA as G-ATDJ

 


David Staines took this photo of 9G-ABO in its original colours at Fiumicino Airport (Rome, Italy) in 1967.
Photo D. Staines

Back to Top
 


Gulf Air


A Gulf Air VC10 seen at Heathrow in 1975.
Photo R. Doherty


The later Gulf Air scheme seen in Dubai in 1978.

Photo by G. Hall

Today a major operator, Gulf Air is partly indebted to the VC10 for its position on the market. Initially leasing VC10s from BOAC, Gulf Air later bought them off the shelf when BOAC sold off their fleet of Standard VC10s. Five airframes were used and these formed the backbone of a large scale route structure expansion, although A4O-VL also spent some time being leased to Air Ceylon. After a hectic three year operation the VC10s were sold off again, this time going to the RAF for conversion.

A4O-VC 1974 - 1977 to RAF
A4O-VG 1975 - 1978 to RAF
A4O-VI 1975 - 1977 to RAF
A4O-VK 1975 - 1977 to RAF
A4O-VL 1974 - 1978 to RAF

Back to Top
 


Middle East Airlines


9G-ABP seen at Beirut Airport in MEA colours, it was here that the aircraft would be destroyed.
Photo via Aviation Photography of Miami collection


Photo copyright BAE SYSTEMS via P. Robinson

Although Middle East Airlines had wanted to buy VC10s, they never did as at that time the VC10 story was at its public and political worst. Buying 707s instead it looked as if this was a missed opportunity, but in 1967 MEA leased under-utilized 9G-AGP from Ghana Airways to fill the gap until the 707s could be delivered. For the same reason G-ARTA was also leased, this time from Freddie Laker's Laker Airways, as OD-AFA. Sadly 9G-AGP was lost in a military action at Beirut Airport in December 1968, fortunately empty, and G-ARTA went back at the end of its twelve month lease only three weeks later.

9G-AGP 1967-1968 destroyed
OD-AFA 1968-1968 end of lease, back to Laker Airways who then sold it to BUA as G-ARTA

Back to Top


Nigeria Airways


G-ARVF was apparently also leased as it is seen here with Nigeria Airways stickers
Photo M. Barrefors via www.Airliners.net


G-ARVC seen here in full Nigeria Airways colours while under lease.
Photo via L. Holden


This photo shows that the livery applied to 5N-ABD (ex-G-ARVA) was different from the one carried by G-ARVC, sadly 5N-ABD only flew in this livery for a few months before its fatal crash.
Photo via L. Holden

Nigeria Airways mainly followed the same route as Ghana Airways, using BOAC Stratocruisers and Brittanias. It ordered two VC10s type 1104, but these were never built. In 1964 Nigeria Airways wet-leased two BOAC VC10s in basic BOAC livery with Nigeria Airways stickers. These two flew on until 1966, in that year G-ARVC was wet-leased in full Nigeria Airways livery. In 1969 G-ARVA was sold by BOAC and was re-registered 5N-ABD, sadly this airframe was lost several months later.

The story of Nigeria Airways and the VC10, and the crash of 5N-ABD is well presented in Scott Henderson's "Silent, Swift, Superb: The Story of the VC10". Pages 88 - 93, detailing the story of Nigeria Airways and the VC10, including the crash, are reproduced on this page:

Nigeria Airways and the VC10.

With thanks to Mark Hubbard who included the text in electronic form in his Nigeria Airways VC10 package for Microsoft Flight Simulator 98, which can be downloaded here.

G-ARVA 1964 - 1966 end of lease, back to BOAC
G-ARVI 1964 - 1966 end of lease, back to BOAC
G-ARVC 1966 - 1967 end of lease, back to BOAC
5N-ABD 1969 - 1969 lost in accident

 


5N-ABD parked at Heathrow.
Photo P. Huxford / Mach III Plus

Back to Top
 


Qatar Government


G-ARVJ while being operated for the Qatar Govenment.

The ruler of Qatar felt that his position justified the use of an impressive VIP transport and for this purpose G-ARVJ was put on a long-term wet lease to the Qatar Government. Although not owned by them the aircraft did fly in Gulf Air colours, apparently she was sometimes used as a spare aircraft for their services. It provided an interesting posting for several BOAC crews until it was returned to BOAC, and was sold to the RAF as a spares source for the conversion program.

See also Surviving Bits & Pieces for more about its use for the RAF.

G-ARVJ 1975 - 1981 end of lease, back to BOAC, sold to RAF

Back to Top


Rolls Royce


XR809 as the RB211 testbed.
Photo Rolls-Royce via T. Postma Collection

Needing an aircraft to flight-test the new RB211 turbofan engine, Rolls-Royce leased XR809 from the RAF as G-AXLR. At the end of the flight-test program the aircraft was returned to the RAF but never used again.

G-AXLR 1969 - 1975 back to RAF, scrapped

Back to Top
 


Royal Aircraft Establishment


Photo by Ian Howat via www.airliners.net

When British Caledonian sold its VC10s, one of the three aircraft found its way to the Royal Aircraft Establishment Bedford as XX914. Over the next two years this aircraft was used for several research tasks, mostly to do with structural responses. In May 1975 she was withdrawn from use and stored on the site until the scrapman caught up with her in 1983, but some of her parts were still of use. The fuselage was moved to Brize Norton and used for training by the Air Movements School as 8777M. The vertical tail was used as a replacement for ZA141, whose tail had been damaged during resonance testing at altitude.

For more about the remaining sections of this aircraft see Surviving Bits & Pieces

XX914 1973 - 1983 WFU, scrapped

Back to Top
 


Sultan of Oman Royal Flight


Photo J. Hieminga

As the Sultan of Oman was also in need of VIP transport he had G-ASIX extensively modified and used it as A4O-AB for thirteen years. The aircraft was flown back to the United Kingdom in 1987 and donated to the Brooklands Museum for preservation. The Sultan's transportation needs have since been provided by a suitably equipped Boeing 747SP.

A4O-AB 1974 - 1987 preserved at Brooklands Museum

Back to Top
 


Sierra Leone Airways

In one of Freddie Laker's dealings a BUA VC10 was used on Sierra Leone Airways flights, at some point even operating in full SLA livery. This was only for a short period and the aircraft continued operations with BUA.

Back to Top


United Arab Emirates Government


Photo J. Hieminga

The third Arab government to use a VC10 for transportation was the United Arab Emirates government. They bought G-ARVF off BOAC and after conversion it flew for seven years in an attractive white livery. Today this aircraft is preserved in Germany with the Flugausstellung Junior in Hermeskeil.

G-ARVF 1974-1981 preserved at Flugausstellung Junior, Hermeskeil, Germany

Back to Top