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Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2003 8:45 pm

Laker Skytrain

Thu Aug 21, 2003 3:43 am

If Laker Skytrain was still operational, what bases/routes would it have by now? Would the trusty DC10 (much loved by Sir Freddie) still be a part of the fleet? What other aircraft would serve now?
Would we have Virgin Atlantic if Skytrain had survived?

Also, are Laker still operating in Florida? Whatever happenned to the much hyped UK-US charter flights which flew in the mid-late 90's? Will Sir Freddie have another bash at tranatlantic services????

Many Laker questions to be answered!

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RE: Laker Skytrain

Thu Aug 21, 2003 4:29 am

Funny, I was just re-reading an old article on Laker Airways last night, from Airways magazine.

Had Laker survived the early 80s and somehow made it through until the present, I'm sure it would have looked very different today. I would guess the DC-10 would have been gone by now, probably replaced by A330s or 777s. Maybe Laker would have been mislead into buying the Mag Dog-11s!
My guess is to survive, the airline would have had to operate similar to Virgin does today, by taking on BA on certain key routes and matching the latter's equipment and service levels. A Laker 747-400? One can only wonder!

As for the late 90s incarnation, I'm quite certain that is history, and only a small footnote to the old Laker Airways' history. The markets were completely different in the late 90s than they were in the late 70s!!

Still, Sir Freddie will always be remembered for his airline and its ultimate demise. It probably was not all of his fault that Laker Airways failed and one can only imagine what the whole British airline landscape would look like if it had succeeded.
None shall pass!!!!
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RE: Laker Skytrain

Thu Aug 21, 2003 4:40 am

If Laker's Skytrain had not been derailed, Virgin Atlantic probably would have never started. Virgin Atlantic (or as it was originally called, British Atlantic) was created as a result of British Caledonian being taken over by British Airways. If Laker had been around at this time, they would have become the number two carrier behind BA. Laker Skytrain was the model for Virgin Atlantic, and if Laker would have still been around, Virgin Atlantic may have started, but probably would have lasted a short time. At the time of Laker folding, they had just recieved 3 of 10 ordered A300s, so had they survived, their fleet probably would have been an all-Airbus fleet. With A300-600s, A320/321s and A330s making up their fleet today.
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RE: Laker Skytrain

Thu Aug 21, 2003 4:51 am

"Virgin Atlantic (or as it was originally called, British Atlantic) was created as a result of British Caledonian being taken over by British Airways."

Actually, Virgin was started up in 1984, to fill the demand for low-fare transatlantic flights that was vacated by Laker's demise. British Caledonian was taken over by BA in 1987/88.
At Eastern, we earn our wings every day!
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RE: Laker Skytrain

Thu Aug 21, 2003 4:53 am

Whilst there were many great things to his credit in his earlier days of Berlin, etc, Laker closed his airline, sacked all his staff, and walked off as a multi millionare!

Nice work if you can get it!

Per Ardua ad Astra! ........ Honi Soit Qui Mal y Pense!
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RE: Laker Skytrain

Thu Aug 21, 2003 5:43 am

I remember that Laker's Skytrain sold London -> New York -> London tickets for £99. Compared to other airlines' fares, that was incredibly low.
Nowadays that same route can be flown for £200 - £250. I wonder, had it survived, what Laker's fare would be today?

RE: Laker Skytrain

Thu Aug 21, 2003 6:06 am

I recall one of Laker Airways TV commercials, showing cabin crew marching up the aisle of one their DC-10 aircraft, singing the song from "Oliver!".
"Consider yourself, one of us, consider yourself, one of the family.....".

I read "Come Fly With Me", the story of Freddie Laker and Skytrain. Fascinating read.
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RE: Laker Skytrain

Thu Aug 21, 2003 7:29 am

It is true, Virgin might not have started had Laker survived.
Virgin was never the same sort of airline as Laker. But there are obviously similarities, such as both being based at Gatwick, initially, and building up a trans-Atlantic route structure. Both airlines have (or had) larger-than-life leaders (both Sirs, I might add!).

Like I said before, if Laker Airways had survived, it would most likely have had to resemble something like today's VS. We'll never know if they would have operated the 747 - oh well.

One more note: I think the grounding of Laker's DC10s in 1979 or 1980 also contributed to its demise. I was 7 in 1980, so forgive me if my facts are not straight, but I believe the temporary grounding was the beginning of the end. Maybe the writing was on the wall and it would have happened anyway, but I recall the grounding spelled huge trouble for Laker. The grounding was the result of the terrible AA DC10 crash in Chicago O'Hare, still one of the USA's worst crashes.

As a youngster, I do recall seeing Laker's idle DC10s lined up in LGW about 1982 or so. I guess some of them were stored there about a year, but even though the titles were removed, it was obvious who their previous owners were!
None shall pass!!!!
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RE: Laker Skytrain

Thu Aug 21, 2003 7:35 am

For some good info on exactly how Laker and Sir Freddie influenced Virgin and Richard Branson, check out Branson's autobiograph "Losing My Virginity." If it hadn't have been for Sir Freddie, I doubt that Branson would have gone after BA the way that he did.

United 717 heavy, you're facing the wrong way. Any chance you can powerback to get off of my deice pad?
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RE: Laker Skytrain

Thu Aug 21, 2003 7:42 am

Wasn´t it with Lakers you could fly over the pond for £ 50 in the 80´s???
I remember reading about people, mostly backpackers, sleeping over at LHR* for a ticket, it was a chockablock at the airport......I´m I right?
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