1 JUNE 2015
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Following the mention of Laker Airways in last week’s edition (See BTN 25 May “Long Haul Low-Cost”) John Jones, the former Commercial Director of the airline has been in touch.
Laker Airways was licensed by the UK authorities to operate out of Stansted to the US in 1972 but with severe restrictions which included only operating a Boeing 707 (ie half filling a DC10 with just 175 seats). Stansted at the time had no rail connection with the small terminal building on the other side of the runway to the current passenger complex. The M11 had not been built.
As with Concorde the American authorities proved awkward and protectionist, Laker operating charters between UK and USA eventually carrying more holiday passengers than all the US carriers put together. In the meantime through various appeals to the UK licensing authorities the original Skytrain licence was modified as it became clear that the national carrier could withstand the challenge of proper deregulated competition.
The Douglas DC10 service eventually took off from Gatwick in September 1977 with the start of the Skytrain scheduled service. The airline folded in February 1982 due to financial difficulties, essentially an inability to raise funds.
Some 11 DC10s passed through the Laker ranks.
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