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British Industrial History

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Aircraft Transport and Travel

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Aircraft Transport and Travel Limited of 27 Buckingham Gate, London SW1

WWI A British airline formed during the war. It was the first airline to operate a regular international flight (between London and Paris).

Aircraft Transport and Travel was formed on 5 October 1916 by George Holt-Thomas. Using a fleet of former military Airco DH.4A biplanes it operated relief flights between Folkestone and Ghent.

1919 Despite a lack of support from the British government the company flew a proving flight across the English Channel on 15 July 1919. Flown by Lt. H. Shaw in a Airco DH.9 between RAF Hendon and Paris-Le Bourget, the flight took 2 hours and 30 minutes and cost £21 per passenger.

The following month the company used the DH.16 to start a regular service. The first flight on the 25 August 1919 was the start of the first regular (daily) international service in the world. Despite problems with bad weather the airline soon gained a reputation for reliability.

10 November: Air Transport and Travel carried the first international air mail – to Paris. The first flight was by DH4A G-EAHF and an Air Mail pennant was attached to its rudder[1]

In November 1919 the company won the first British civil airmail contract. Six Royal Air Force Airco DH.9A aircraft were loaned to the company to operate the airmail service between Hawkinge and Cologne. They were returned to the Royal Air Force in 1920.

As well as the London (Hounslow)-Paris service the company also operated a Croydon Aerodrome to Amsterdam service on behalf of KLM using the DH.16. Aircraft Transport and Travel aircraft G-EALU operated the first KLM service between London and Amsterdam on the 17 May 1920.

1920 There were six companies operating a London to Paris service, three French and three British. In December, Aircraft Transport and Travel ceased operations[2]

1921 In protest against the French airlines receiving subsidies and the British not, the British airlines stopped services on 28 February 1921. Shortly afterwards the company closed down and the aircraft were put into storage or sold.

1921 Daimler Air Hire acquired Aircraft Transport and Travel to form the Daimler Airway.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. History of BA [1]
  2. History of BA [2]