Topic Author
Posts: 4224
Joined: Sat May 22, 1999 3:49 am

Aquila Airways & Portuguese Connection.

Sat Aug 02, 2003 5:58 am


This will be a subject for those enthusiasts older than me, I hope I'm lucky enough to get more information about this. I remember when I was 5/6 years old passing with my dad in a place in Lisbon close to the river Tagus and see there stored and in really bad condition 3 Shorts Sandringham. I know that latter those 3 historic airliners were b/u somewhere in Lisbon, but I was a small kid I don't recall anything more about that.
Now I got some information, there were 3 of those flying boats that passed from Aquila Airways to Artop:

G-AHIN - c/n 1302
G-AOBL - c/n 1556
G-ANYI - c/n 1558

Does anyone in this forum remembers seeing these airplanes in Lisbon and have any more information about the operation?
I wait your feedback.
CV990, the Maserati of the skies!
Posts: 602
Joined: Sun May 26, 2002 9:04 pm

RE: Aquila Airways & Portuguese Connection.

Sat Aug 02, 2003 7:28 am


What an interesting question to ask - not the usual one to be asked here!

I never saw these at Lisbon or elsewhere, but would have liked to have seen them. I can tell you a little about Aquila Airways, from a book I have by Tony Merton-Jones titled "British Independent Airlines 1946-1976". Here is a summary based on the facts given in the article.

Aquila was formed in 1948 and helped in the Berlin Airlift using Sunderlands and after that operated its fleet on both regular and special charters, such as flying many members of the British Olympic team to Helsinki in 1952. All this was done from its base at Southampton.

One of Aquila's most favoured destinations was Madeira which was operated twice a week. They also served Las Palmas as an extension and later went to other places such as Capri (Italy) and Montreux in later years.

They wanted to buy the three Saro Princess flying boats that were stored at Calshot, but no agreement was ever made and instead they bought the Short Solent, five in all. Besides the three you mention they had G-ANAJ "City of Funchal" and G-AKNU, the latter crashing in 1957 with the loss of 35 lives.
On 30.9.58 Aquila decided to close down as a flying boat operation was no longer viable with the increase in Mediterranean tourism which then commonly used DC6, DC4, Viking, Dakota, Hermes and even Viscount aircraft.

The three Solents were towed to the Tagus estuary near Lisboa where they lay for 13 years. By the end they were decaying and had to be broken up. They were towed there as it was thought a new airline may operate these three birds, but that was never to be.

Between 1948 and 1958 Aquila had 13 Sunderlands, 1 Sandringham and 5 Solents.

Topic Author
Posts: 4224
Joined: Sat May 22, 1999 3:49 am

RE: Aquila Airways & Portuguese Connection.

Sat Aug 02, 2003 7:40 am

Hi Ray!

First of all I would like sincerely to thank all the great information you gave me, outstanding and really valuable to me. I was quite surprised to see that one of them actually crashed in Madeira Island. Also about those 3 Solents that stayed 13 years in Lisbon Harbour is also very interesting, this because I do recall seeing them there for a while and then they suddenly disappeared! Once thing I remember was that I always saw them at night, so I don't have a good image how they looked like. I also know that a portuguese airline wanted to operate them, the name of that airline was ARTOP and I never found nothing about them and why they never actually operated! I feel really sad to know that those valuable airplanes were broken-up in Lisbon and noone at that time really had the vision to preserve one of them. Anyway Ray thanks for your information and hopefully any of "old-school" enthusiasts will come out with a photo of them at Lisbon, that would make my day!!!
Best regards
CV990, the Maserati of the skies!

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