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Info request - Gatwick and the 747

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 1:28 pm
by Remy89
Hi everyone.

Wondering if i can possibly pick your brains about the history of the 747 at Gatwick? I work in the media team at the airport and we are supporting Boeing on their communications celebrating the 50th anniversary of that venerable aircraft. I am looking for information and images around anything to do with the 747 and Gatwick - particularly,

- First airline to operate a 747 of any type from LGW and the route(s) they served
- How many airlines at one time operated one or more
- Anything around VS and their 747 operations here (first flight etc)
- Interesting 'fun facts'

We will be doing internal communications on this, and possibly some wider social media too.

Any info and images you can dig up would be much appreciated.

Many thanks,
Remy

P.S. - Apologies to the mods if this contravenes posting rules or the topic title is not acceptable etc. Although I have been browsing the forum for years, I have only made a couple of posts so not completely au fait with the rules.

Re: Info request - Gatwick and the 747

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 3:36 pm
by GCT64
There's a contributor on the Google Groups "Airline-List" who will have everything you need
Look for the guy who posts "LGW Roundup"

Re: Info request - Gatwick and the 747

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 3:43 pm
by GCT64
Remy89 wrote:
Hi everyone.

Wondering if i can possibly pick your brains about the history of the 747 at Gatwick? I work in the media team at the airport and we are supporting Boeing on their communications celebrating the 50th anniversary of that venerable aircraft. I am looking for information and images around anything to do with the 747 and Gatwick - particularly,
- Anything around VS and their 747 operations here (first flight etc)



According to the list, it appears that G-VIRG 747-287B was the first VS 747 to come to LGW on 18 June 1984

Re: Info request - Gatwick and the 747

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 3:50 pm
by GCT64
Remy89 wrote:
Hi everyone.

Wondering if i can possibly pick your brains about the history of the 747 at Gatwick? I work in the media team at the airport and we are supporting Boeing on their communications celebrating the 50th anniversary of that venerable aircraft. I am looking for information and images around anything to do with the 747 and Gatwick - particularly,

- First airline to operate a 747 of any type from LGW and the route(s) they served


Again according to the contributors list: 1st November 1972: ZS-SAM 747-244B of SAA was the first 747 into LGW

Re: Info request - Gatwick and the 747

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 4:13 pm
by oldannyboy
Remy89 wrote:
Hi everyone.

Wondering if i can possibly pick your brains about the history of the 747 at Gatwick? I work in the media team at the airport and we are supporting Boeing on their communications celebrating the 50th anniversary of that venerable aircraft. I am looking for information and images around anything to do with the 747 and Gatwick - particularly,

- First airline to operate a 747 of any type from LGW and the route(s) they served
- How many airlines at one time operated one or more
- Anything around VS and their 747 operations here (first flight etc)
- Interesting 'fun facts'

We will be doing internal communications on this, and possibly some wider social media too.

Any info and images you can dig up would be much appreciated.

Many thanks,
Remy

P.S. - Apologies to the mods if this contravenes posting rules or the topic title is not acceptable etc. Although I have been browsing the forum for years, I have only made a couple of posts so not completely au fait with the rules.


Hi Remy, you may want to dig into the BA archive for some BCal material - they were the first LGW-based airline to operate the 747. NOT the first operator of the 747 into LGW, but the first to open a base with the Jumbo at Gatters.

Re: Info request - Gatwick and the 747

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 4:18 pm
by Remy89
Great thanks both, I'll get on both those suggestions. Appreciate the help.

Re: Info request - Gatwick and the 747

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 4:18 pm
by SheikhDjibouti
Remy89 wrote:
- First airline to operate a 747 of any type from LGW and the route(s) they served


I'm guessing the SAA mentioned elsewhere was a fog diversion.

From memory, the earliest regular service would have been Wardair

The caption reads
"Delivered to Wardair on 23rd April 1973..."
and here it is at LGW just three weeks later on May12. Shiny!

As for the route; take your pick from Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Ottawa and Toronto.

Re: Info request - Gatwick and the 747

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 4:34 pm
by Remy89
GCT64 wrote:
There's a contributor on the Google Groups "Airline-List" who will have everything you need
Look for the guy who posts "LGW Roundup"


Any way you could provide a link to this? I can't seem to find what you're referring to.

Re: Info request - Gatwick and the 747

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 4:58 pm
by CarbonFibre
John Dyer is your man. He's on Google's LGW group and ALST.

Re: Info request - Gatwick and the 747

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 5:20 pm
by amc737
Interesting query

I think Virgin Atlantic's first flight was 22 June 1984 from Gatwick to Newark operated by G-VIRG. An educated guess would put their peak Gatwick ops at 8 747 aircraft in 1991 just before they moved to Heathrow in 1991. Not all routes moved and for most of the 1990's 3 aircraft remained which operated Boston, Orlando and Miami. The airline expanded late 1990's/early 00's with the addition of Caribbean routes, Las Vegas and briefly Toronto with the "new" 747-200's they bought.

In terms of operators of 747's into Gatwick you might want to split Schedule and Charters. Lots of carriers have flown 747's to Gatwick, United flew a charter series with 747-100's long before they had schedules across the Atlantic, but those that flew 747 on a scheduled basis is easier to define. To generalise this will be the UK carriers, the US carriers that couldn't use Heathrow (both carriers and routes e.g TWA St Louis) and global carriers who again couldn't access Heathrow until 1991 and then moved up the M25 such as Cathy Pacific, Korean Air etc.

amc737

Re: Info request - Gatwick and the 747

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 7:22 pm
by SheikhDjibouti
Just for illustration purposes, here are some excellent photos
The first is from 1981, and shows a Braniff, two NWA, one CP Air, and a Cathay Pacific.
Around this time you would also find BCAL, AA, Wardair, United, TIA/Transamerica, ONA, PeoplExpress, Garuda, PAL, ANZ and the occasional BA (i.e. British Airtours) . There is even mention of Air India.


By the time we reach 1984, Virgin are up and running.
As regards why this collection of tails appeared together that year, I have absolutely no idea (at a guess, the IB was operating an Aviaco charter).


In 1987 there was this.

1987 probably also represented the heyday of 747 ops at LGW, but by then we were already seeing more of BCAL and Virgin, and less variety from visiting airlines.

Re: Info request - Gatwick and the 747

Posted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 2:35 pm
by Remy89
This is all so helpful, cheers guys. As for any of the images you've posted here on Airliners, if we wanted to use, can i just contact the listed photographer?

Re: Info request - Gatwick and the 747

Posted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 2:55 pm
by Remy89
CarbonFibre wrote:
John Dyer is your man. He's on Google's LGW group and ALST.


Thanks for this. I must be missing something on Google Groups though, i can't find anything related to this from searching on it, or what GCT64 posted earlier about a Google Groups resource. A link would be great if you can provide? Many thanks

Re: Info request - Gatwick and the 747

Posted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 3:59 pm
by CarbonFibre
This is the group you need. I hope the link works. https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum ... Csort:date

Re: Info request - Gatwick and the 747

Posted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 4:29 pm
by Remy89
CarbonFibre wrote:
This is the group you need. I hope the link works. https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum ... Csort:date



Great thanks, I've requested access

Re: Info request - Gatwick and the 747

Posted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 10:30 pm
by n729pa
Sabena used to run a service to ...Atlanta wasn't it? Stopping in LGW along the way.

Re: Info request - Gatwick and the 747

Posted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 10:48 pm
by SheikhDjibouti
n729pa wrote:
Sabena used to run a service to ...Atlanta wasn't it? Stopping in LGW along the way.



"Sabena code shared with British Caledonian, they used 747's on BRU-LGW-ATL-LGW-BRU route"

Also in the photo, possibly one of the very last ever visits by an Aeroflot Tu-134 (just peeking out from behind the Sabena tail)