Southend Timeline

Bringing Your Memories Back to Life

1980-2000 Strugling on.

Monday 14th September 1980: Out-of-Sequence Air Rally held at the airport attracts two dozen aircraft

1981: British Air Ferries bought the entire fleet of British Airways Viscounts becoming the world's largest operator of the type and forever forging a link between Southend & the Viscount.

1982: Harvest Air won the contract to tackle oil spills around the UK coastline.
Harvest Air had basses at Southend, Kinloss, Exeter and Prestwick it had a fleet of specially converted aircraft on 30 minute stand-by 24 hours a day 365 days a year. The fleet included a DC3 Dakota & six Britain Norman Islanders, a demonstration was held off Shoeburry for Ministers and officials using the DC3 and one of the Islanders the aircraft were flying as low as 30feet whilst spraying water out over a specified area of the sea.  In March they perform a display of oil dispersing off Southend with a Douglas DC3 Dakota flying 30ft above the waves.

1982: Nigel Brendish took off from Southend and headed off towards France, by the time he reached the French cost 10minites and 40 seconds (Dover to French coast) later he was in the record books, he broke the world record for flying from England to France INVERTED.

1982: Cosmos Holidays begin a regular service to Palma & Gerona with a Monarch Airlines Boeing 737.

January 1982: Sioux AH1's XT499 & XT563 scrapped.

Saturday 27th March 1982: Southend Historic Aircraft Museum closes

Saturday 30th October 1982: Boeing Chinook of No18Sqn fly’s into the airport on route from the Falkland Islands.

1983: There were a number or interesting visitors to the airport the first was a Lear Jet Ambulance that flew in from Switzerland carrying a mother and her baby born 10 weeks prematurely. Another interesting visitor came in the shape of the rare DC2 PH-AJU.

1983: Air UK leave the airport to operate out of Stansted.

1983: Chance Vought Corsair NX1377A diverts into Southend because of bad weather at Biggin Hill after a display in France upon landing the engine seized.

1983: The Mystery Jet MJ1 leaves the airport.
The Mystery Jet MJ1 was a biz jet conversion of the De Havilland DH115 Vampire, the cockpit section replaced by a stretched cabin allowing up to eight seats to be fitted, the MJ1 that was at Southend moved to Bushey Hertfordshire with its owner Sandy Topen it was reported to heave been burnt during a clearance of derelict aircraft on the airfield, however a report said it went to the USA.

Tuesday 10th May 1983: Auction sells off museum aircraft.

Sunday 5th & Monday 6th June 1983: The rare granting of a route licence to operate a service from Southend to Stansted on pleasure flights by a Douglas DC3 Dakota, the trip was to view the US Space Shuttle "Enterprise" piggy backed on its mother ship a Boeing 747.

Thursday 4th August 1983: Robin DR400/140 G-BBCS Nose gear assembly struck VASI & collapsed after the aircraft swung to the right & left the paved surface during landing on runway 24.

November 1983: The last Aviation Traders ATL 98 Carvair in the UK G-ADFU "BIG JOHN" is scrapped.

December 1983: Bell47g G-WYTE fly's in operations form the airport.

1984: PAPI approach lighting was installed at the airport.

1984: Heavy Lift Engineering set up.

1984: After being absent from the airport for thirteen years the Boeing 707 returns for maintenance by Heavy Lift Engineering.

1984: The Boeing 727 start to operate out of the airport on the well established Burstin Flights to Faro.

1984: Four NAMYC YS11’s of Pyramid Airways fly in (N159P, N187P, N294P, N219P).

January 1984: Aviation Traders ATL98 Carvair G-AOFW Scrapped.

Thursday 1st March 1984: British Airports International tool over the running of the airport from the council but it was still owned by them BAI was jointly owed by British Airports Authority & International Aerdio Ltd.

Thursday 31st May 1984:  Bristol Britannia G-AOVF fly’s out of Southend after storage to go on display at the Cosford Air Museum.

October 1984: Handley Page HP4 Hearld 401 (c/n171) G-BEYD (FM1020) B A F scrapped.

November 1984: Maersk Air operate Dash 7’s to Billind.

1985: British Airports International take over the running of the airport from the council.

1985: Air Portugal offer flight to Lisbon in a Boeing 737.

1985: Hispania launch services to Palma, Alicante & Malaga using a Aerospatiale Caravelle.

1985: Maersk Air launches a twice daily service to Billund with a Dash 7.

1985: Holland Airlines launch services to Rotterdam with Government Aircraft Factories (GAF) Nomad.

1985: AirUK leave Southend for Stansted.

1985: Air Malta launch Boeing 737 flights to Malta.

Thursday 10th January 1985: De Havilland Tridents 2E G-AVFF & G-AVFN retired by British Airways fly into the airport for spares reclamation and scrapping, they are processed the same month.

Thursday 31st January 1985: De Havilland Trident 2E Trident G-AVFL arrives for scrapping after retirement by British Airways it is scrapped during February.

February 1985: Vickers Viscount 806 (c/n267) G-AOYS scrapped.

Monday 4th February 1985: De Havilland Trident 2E G-AZXM arrives for scrapping after retirement by British Airways scrapped same month.

Wednesday 13th February 1985: De Havilland Trident 2E G-AVFO arrives for scrapping after retirement by British Airways it is scrapped the same month.

April 1986: Avro Anson G-AGPG leaves the ex-museum complex.

Monday 26th May 1986: First Seafront Airshow.

Wednesday 17th December 1986: Avro Vulcan XH558 performs a number of touch and go landings enabling the crew to prepare for the following days event.

Thursday 18th December 1986: Avro Vulcan B.2 XL426 flew into the airport.
The aircraft had flown in for conversion in to a civilian aircraft. Owned by Roy Jacobson the aircraft sat in the open for a number of years facing the terminal. It was then towed over to the far side of the airport and the Vulcan Memorial Flight Supporters Club was formed to help preserve the aircraft, the club restored the electrics and ran one of the aircraft's engines. They then took over the ownership of the aircraft and renamed the club the Vulcan Restoration Trust the next big step was when all four of the engines were run this was followed by the aircraft taxiing for the first time under its own power.

1987: Adverse weather sees such a heavy snow fall the airport suspends operations for three weeks.
1987: British Air Ferries re-enter the scheduled passenger market operating a twice daily round trip to Jersey & Guernsey on Saturdays and Wednesdays.

February 1987: Handley Page Herald G-BEYE Scrapped.

Friday 1st May 1987: Southend Jet Centre opens.

Friday 22nd May 1987: Euroskyhop begin coach-fly services with a Viscount operating to Ostend.
A coach picked up passengers in London and then drove to Southend where passengers would board the flight.

Monday 25th May 1987: The second seafront airshow.

June 1987: Sabena launch Southend-Brussels service with a beech King-Air 200.

Friday 17th July 1987: Douglas A26C Invader N4806E 44-34172 arrives by road.
The twin engine American bomber arrived at Southend for restoration to flying condition by Tired Iron Limited, the project later moved out and has since gone into storage.

Tuesday 21st July 1987: Douglas A26K Invader 64-17657 nose section arrives to act as spares for N4806E

Friday 16th October 1987: The morning of the Great Storm, aircraft were turned over and a hanger collapsed on to those inside but the airport stays operational.

Monday 11th January 1988: Vickers Viscount G-APIM "Stephen Piercey" struck by taxing Shorts 330 G-BHWT.

Tuesday 1st March 1988: Regionair launch twice daily weekday service to Rotterdam with a 16 seated Bandeirantee.

Sunday 15th May 1988: 1st Burstin Travel chartered BAE146 to Palma flight departs.

Monday 30th May 1988: Third seafront airshow.

Saturday 25th June 1988: Cmelak Z37 G-AVZB flew out of the airport for the last time going to Old Warden.

Monday 15th August 1988: The Fuji WDL-1 airship arrives for a four-day visit.

Sunday 21st August 1988: The UK's first scheduled flight by the Fokker F50 arrives at Southend, this was a Maersk Air flight from Billund.

1989: BAF & Baltic Airlines merge to stave of bankruptcy.

Monday 27th February 1989: Euroskyhop cease trading.

Monday 29th May 1989: Forth seafront airshow.

June 1989: The Americans return.
The UK's only flying Boeing B17 G-BIDF (Sally B)  arrived at Southend with two other B17's from France F-AZDX “Pink Lady” (Mother & Country) & F-BEEA “château de Verneuil” (Baby Ruth) for a re-paint to take part in the re-make of Memphis Belle .  The French machine F-BEEA was destroyed in a take off accident at RAF Binbrook during filming on 25th July 1989, all the crew safely escaped the crash.

1990: The airport gained its Instrument Landing System (ILS allows pilots to land the plane using two instruments in his cockpit).

1990: Refurbishair opened for business they set up shop in the former Avialift hanger, they can take-in up to four BAC111's at any time or 757, 727 or a 707 with a 737.

1990: Regionair launch Southend-Paris, Saouthend-jersey & Southend-Guernsey services with the Banderirante.

Sunday 11th February 1990: Vickers Viscount G-APIM leaves the airport by road to the Brooklands Museum.

Sunday 27th & Monday 28th May 1990: Aircraft visiting for the fifth seafront airshow included: (26.5) Tucrnos ZF140 ZF162, Hercules XV303; (27.5) Sea Harriers ZA175 XZ492, Hunter GA11 XF300, Sea King XV671; (28.5)Pilatus PC7's Patrouille Martini HB-HMA HB-HMB HB-HMC, Stearmen N54992 N707TJ, TNT BAE146 QT G-TNTD

Thursday 31st May 1990: 75th Anniversary of the first flight from the airport.

1991: A Spitfire, Devon & Stample visited the airport on their way to the Biggin Hill Air Fair..

1991: Regionair cease trading.

1991: Pickett Hamilton Fort discovered by fire crews.
Once the water had been pumped out it was found to still be in working order after 50 years…! The fort was removed from the ground in January 2010 and has moved to a museum in Warwickshire.

1991: Douglas A26 Invader N4806E 44-34172 departs the airport…by road.

March 1991: Vickers Viscount 802 (c/n168) G-AOHT (ZK-SKY) B-W-A (Parcel Force) scrapped.

Sunday 26th & Monday 27th May 1991: Sixth seafront airshow.

October 1991: Former Libyan Air Force Aero L39 Albatross fly's into the airport, it is later registered N162JC and departs for the US.

Thursday 10th October 1991: Handley Page HPR4 Hearld 401 (c/n172) G-BEYE (FM1021) General Aviation Spares scrapped.

1992: De Havilland Dragon Rapide pleasure flights.

1992: Hawker Siddley HS748 G-ATEK Air Senegal (6V-AFX, CS-TAV, RP-C1041, U2-LIV, VP-LIV) Scrapped

Monday 11th May 1992: Yugotours flights begin to Yugoslavia however the flights cease after three weeks due to civil unrest in the Balkans.
Sunday 24th & Monday 25th May 1992: Seventh seafront airshow.

Thursday 9th July 1992: First Round the World Air Rally uses Southend as its only UK stop-over.
 Sixteen aircraft took part in the race Southend was the third stop, they remained at the airport for two days before departing to Moscow.

Saturday 29th August 1992: Handley Page Herald G-APWA a resident of the airport since early 1982 was dissimulated and left by road for a new home at the Museum of Berkshire Aviation at Woodley. The aircraft is thought to be the oldest surviving of its type.

Sunday 11th October 1992:  Full scale crash scenario staged including airport services, seven Essex fire brigade engines, rescue tender, seven ambulances and paramedics.

Thursday 5th November 1992: Dan Air BAC1-11 G-BDAS c/n 202 arrived from Gatwick re-registered  G-OBWB. Albarka Air 1-11 5N-BBP lasted noted Malta 12th September 2002.

Friday 6th November 1992: Dan Air BAC1-11 G-BDAT c/n 232 arrived from Gatwick re-registered G-OBWA. 9L-LDL last noted Malta 2003.

Wednesday 25th November 1992: Dan Air BAC1-11 G-BJYM c/n 242 arrived from Hurn re-registered G-OBWE. Friday 14th June. It left with new registration 9L-LDJ. Its final destination Sierra Leone with new operator Air Leone.

Thursday 26th November 1992: Dan Air BAC1-11 G-BCXR c/n 242 arrived from Hurn scrapped 30th March 1993.

Thursday 26th November 1992: Dan Air BAC1-11 G-BJMV c/n 244 arrived from Hurn scrapped 28th August 1998.

Friday 27th November 1992: Dan Air BAC1-11 G-BDAE c/n 203 arrived from Hurn re-registered G-OBWD.

Friday 27th November 1992: Dan Air BAC1-11 G-BJYL c/n 208 arrived from Hurn re-registered 5N-ENO of Oriental Airlines for storage.

Saturday 28th November 1992: Dan Air BAC1-11 G-BCWA c/n 205 arrived from Hurn scrapped June 1995.

Saturday 28th November 1992: Dan Air BAC1-11 G-BEKA c/n 230 arrived from Hurn re-registered G-OBWC. Albarka Air 1-11 5N-BBQ lasted noted Malta 6th September 2002.
Sunday 29th November 1992: Dan Air BAC1-11 G-AWWX c/n 184 arrived from Hurn scrapped 30th September 1998.

Sunday 29th November 1992: Dan Air BAC1-11 G-AXYD c/n 210 arrived from Hurn scrapped 29th August 1998.
The influx of BAC1-11's came after the demise of long serving IT charter airline Dan Air (London), the airline had been suffering financial difficulties for a number of years but during 1992 the airline faced a total financial collapse, British Airways stepped in and bought the ailing airline for just £1. BA had retired their fleet of BAC1-11 a few years earlier and was not interested in operating the type again, so British Air Ferries stepped in and bought the fleet.
February 1993: Vickers Viscount 806 (c/n257) G-LOND (G-AOYI, G-AOYM) BAF scrapped.

February 1993: Vickers Viscount 806 (c/n261) G-AOYL BAF scrapped.

Tuesday 6th April 1993: British Air Ferries changes name to British World Airlines.

Tuesday 13th April 1993: Senair begins operating an Air Taxi service to Europe using a Piper Senica.

May 1993: Vickers Viscount 814 (c/n370) G-AYOX (4X-AVA, D-ANAC) B-W-A scrapped.

Sunday 30th & Monday 31st May 1993: Eighth seafront airshow.

Tuesday 20th July 1993: Malta Plus offers once a week service (Monday) to Malta by a 737.

Friday 2nd October 1993: First visit to the airport by an Airbus A320 (E-ITLE of Translift Airlines for re-spray).

January 1994: Vickers Viscount 806 (c/n256) G-AOYG BAF scrapped.

February 1994: Shorts Belfast XR362/G-BEPE/G-52-14 which last flew on 26/10/84 and Certificate of Airworthiness expired on 11/3/85 was scrapped.

February 1994: Shorts Belfast XR363/G-OHCA "Goliath" still in her original RAF Transport Command colour scheme was scrapped.

Saturday 4th & Sunday 5th June 1994: Ninth seafront airshow.

1995: The Rochford Hundred Flying Group end their 22 year relationship with terrier G-ASAK, it is sold and replaced with Piper PA22-180 Colt G-ARKK.

1995: BAC 111 G-OCNW Scrapped.

Saturday 21st January 1995: Canadair 601 Challenger N61AF piloted by ex-local man made the types first visit to the airport.

Friday 21st April 1995: ex-RAF Andover's XS789 & XS794 flew in to the airport for conversion to civilian configuration they later became D2-MG + D2-MAF.

Tuesday 9th May 1995: DC9 G-PKBM, arrives.

Friday 26th May 1995: Refurbished passenger terminal opens.

Sunday 26th & Monday 27th May 1995: The 10th anniversary of the Southend Airshow aircraft operating out of the airport for the event included: RAF Jaguar XX116, RAF Tornado's ZA327+ZA560, RAF Harrier's ZD329+ZD409, Aloutte 3's A-324, A-350, A-453, A-390 & A-465 all part of the R Neth AF Grasshoppers, F-27 C-8 R Neth AF, Avro 504 G-ECKE (replica), Corsair G-FGID & SU-31 RA-01004.

Monday 19th June1995: Three De Havilland Vampire's G-DHWW/G-DHVV & G-DHZZ flew in.

Wednesday 28th June 1995: With retirement from service by the Swiss Air Force Hawker Hunters J-4058 J-4103 flew-in for onward sale.

Wednesday 12th July 1995: More ex-Swiss Air Force Hawker Hunters fly in J-4035, J-4060, J-4090 & J-4097.

September 1995: Conair Firecat F-WECK flew into the airport on route from its base in France to the Conair factory in British Columbia Canada to be converted in to a turboprop.
1996: The airport had new operators, in the shape of The London Southend Airport Company they took over the site from the council on a 150-year lease. The old terminal building was demolished and a new one built in its place any old disused buildings were also demolished.

Friday 3rd May 1996: Aircraft taking part in the AOPA Rally arrive scheduled to fly in are: Grob G-BLUV, J3 Cub G-BSFD, SA120 G-BPCL, De Haviland Chipmunk DHC1 G-AOZP, BE36 N39AD, Cessna C210T LN-TFJ, A G-BODO, Cessna C172 G-AWMP, BE76 G-DUCH, North American T6 Harvard G-BGOR, Vickers Vimy N-VY, Cessna C172 G-BOYP.

Sunday 26th & Monday 27th May 1996: Eleventh seafront airshow.

June 1996: Vickers Viscount 806 (c/n266) G-AOYR B-W-A scrapped.

August 1996:  Vickers Viscount 806 (c/n259) G-BOLA (G-AOYJ) B-W-A scrapped.

1997: Arrived and with it a whole new vision of the future for air-travel in Southend, early in the year the Shers retail centre opened and proposals were put forward to build new terminal with a connecting rail station and visitors centre. The plan were put to both Southend Borough council and Rochford District Council, Southend backed the plan whilst Rochford delayed there decision eventually they passed it. The proposals were then sent to the Secretary-Of-State who had the final say as part of the project would encroach on to the green belt but in early 1998 he passed the proposals. The proposals are in jeopardy from London City Airport's (LCA) proposals to double the number of flights it handles. The management at Southend are requesting that the CAA give both airports the aerospace they need to expand. Instead of giving a larger slice to LCA which in the past has taken over some of Southend's aerospace.

March 1997: Vickers Viscount 806 (c/n263) G-OPAS (G-AOYN) B-W-A ex-Parcel Force scrapped.

October 1998: Vickers Viscount 807 G-CSZB B W A scrapped. The cockpit section was saved and after spending time out side a pub in Lestershire it moved to a storage yard it was bought in 2003 by the East Midlands Aeropark.

1999: Aero L-29 Delfin G-DLFN flew in to be operated out of the airport and a Jet Provost moved in for a short time.

1999: Handley Paige Herald 187 G-BEYK Scrapped.

February-March 1999: Lockheed Tristar EI-COL Scrapped.

Friday 12th March 1999: Sikorsky S76c G-XXEA of the Royal Flight lands with Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh for a visit to Southend and Basildon.

Monday 12th April 1999: Ilyushin IL 76 7T-WIV of the Algerian Air Force flew in for avionic work this was the types first visit.

Friday 14th May 1999: Shorts 330-100 G-IOCS destroyed by fire.

Sunday 30th & Monday 31st May 1999: Fourteenth seafront airshow. During the display the BBMF's Lancaster's number 3 engine blew up, the pilot made an emergency landing back at the Airport, the Lancaster was to spend another 3 weeks sitting at the airport waiting for a replacement engine.

Wednesday 14th July 1999: Ilyushin IL 76 7T-WIV of the Algerian Air Force performs test flights calibrating its new ILS systems.

August 1999: The Lancaster was to return to the airport during the Clacton Airshow, also flying in for the display were 2 Tornado's, 2 Harrier's, a Spitfire, Canberra and a Sea King.

Thursday 30th September 1999: Boeing 707-138B HZ-123 of the Saudi Arabiaian Air Force landed to be placed into storage.

December 1999: BAC1-11-509 G-AXYD BWA scrapped.


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