Sir Freddie had been a major player in the airline industry long before the Skytrain that everyone here seems to be concentrating on. His early company, Air Charter, was a big part of the late 1940s civil Berlin Airlift, and even continued to operate in West Germany long after the other participants had cashed their government cheques and returned to their home bases.
Air Charter went on to revive the fortunes of the tainted Avro Tudor, by returning several stored aircraft into service on successful trooping services to the Far east that ran for many years. The company also pioneered cheap cross-channel passenger services alongside the established Channel Air Bridge car ferry division operation, flying a high capacity configured DC-4 on "no passport" day trips to France and Belgium.
Sir Freddie was behind the design of the Carvair conversion of the DC-4 for Channel Air Bridge, later BUAF and he also produced and flew a promising executive transport, the Accountant, built by another Laker company Aviation Traders, which had converted the DC-4s to Carvairs.
Once Air Charter and Channel Air Bridge became part of British United Airways, Sir Freddie (still un-knighted at that time!) became the new airlines managing director and led it from being a mixed-bag of small operators to a leading British independent airline, operating worldwide. Laker's BUA had signed the first contract for the BAC One-Eleven, a design Laker had supported and helped mould when the State airlines showed little if any interest in it. VC
-10s were also ordered by the Laker-run BUA and replaced BOAC on UK-South America routes.
In the mid-1960s Laker left BUA to found a new airline in his own right and Laker Airways began charter operations with two ex-BOAC Bristol Britannia 102s. New BAC One-Eleven 300s eventually replaced the Britannias and were later joined by ex-British Eagle and QANTAS 707-138s, before the "Skytrain" DC-10s arrived in the early 1970s.
RIP Dan-Air. Where the Secret was SERVICE.