Happy-flier
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Posts: 287
Joined: Sat Dec 25, 1999 4:41 pm

How Did Spantax Afford To Fly CV990s In The 80's?

Tue Sep 18, 2007 4:53 am

I have long been fascinated by the fact that Spantax was such a holdout in operating CV990s well into the 80's (some photos here still show them operational in 1987!). These are from 1986:

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Photo © Neil Pidduck



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Photo © Fergal Goodman


I once remember reading something to the effect of "Spantax loved their [990s] and held on to them for a long time" (probably here on the forum).

How was it possible for them to operate these jets for so long after most airlines gave up on them due to poor operating economics? It has been said that the 990 was a pilot's dream; the "Maserati of the skies" - and that alone would make for many good arguments in holding on to them. But as we know, maintaining aircraft is expensive; doubly so if they are older and not particularly efficient.

Another observation: these photos sure don't show the kind of thick black smoke that the 990 produced in older photos - did Spantax somehow modify the combustion chambers of the GE engines to make them comply with environmental standards that were already in place by the 80's?

[Edited 2007-09-17 21:55:43]
May the wind be always at your back . . . except during takeoff & landing.
 
DH106
Posts: 595
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2005 5:32 pm

RE: How Did Spantax Afford To Fly CV990s In The 80's?

Tue Sep 18, 2007 6:51 am

I read somewhere that Spantax had modified their engine combustors to produce a minor fuel improvement and less smokey exhaust. Presumably this was through some 3rd party engineering co. - not sure of the details.
A beautiful and rare aircraft though.
A sole complete Spantax example (EC-BZO) still resides at Palma, with cabin crew trainer forward fuselages at Sabadell (EC-BZP) and Girona (EC-???, not -BQQ as frequently quoted), all in Spain.
...I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tanhauser Gate....
 
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LTU932
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RE: How Did Spantax Afford To Fly CV990s In The 80's?

Tue Sep 18, 2007 7:15 am

Quoting Happy-flier (Thread starter):
Another observation: these photos sure don't show the kind of thick black smoke that the 990 produced in older photos - did Spantax somehow modify the combustion chambers of the GE engines to make them comply with environmental standards that were already in place by the 80's?

Or could it be that those engines were watercooled in order to produce more thrust?
 
Clydenairways
Posts: 1116
Joined: Thu Jan 11, 2007 8:27 am

RE: How Did Spantax Afford To Fly CV990s In The 80's?

Wed Sep 19, 2007 12:13 am

Well they operated them at a much lower cruising speed which reduced comsumption greatly.
Also they were probably fully paid off so no further leasing costs or loan repayments, this would offset the higher operating costs somewhat.
European charter airlines traditionaly operated older types during the 60's and 70's that scheduled carriers were finished with. However during the early 80's with the practice of leasing aircraft getting more popular, many charter airlines started to acuire brand new aircraft. The British charter airlines were some of the first to do this.
Still, quite a few charter airlines continued to soilder on with 707's,DC8''s and B720's right through the 80's as well as Spantax.
Even though Spantax operated some 990's in '86, the 737-200 was by then their primary aeroplane. By '88 they had just taken delivery of their first brand new MD88 and had plans for some 767''s but i guess the investment was not in place and they went out of business.
In '82 for example they were the primary charter operator into Dublin, but by the mid 80's the tour operators moved their business to brand new Air Europa and Hispania 733's.
I guess that Spantax should have modernised the fleet a few years earlier.

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