The Record of BWIA British West Indian Airways


Of the 4 pure-jet Caribbean carriers-Air Aruba, Air Jamaica, ALM Antillean Airways, and BWIA amongst them-the latter was both of those the premier and the only 1 to work the Lockheed L-1011 TriStar.

The airline’s roots stretched considerably-throughout the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, to New Zealand, at least in conditions of the nationality of its founder, Lowell Yerex, a Earth War I fighter pilot who planted its seed in Trinidad in 1939 so that he could re-instate what had turn into suspended air provider to Barbados. Back links ended up re-founded on November 27 of the subsequent year with a one Lockheed L-18 Lodestar, registered VP-TAE. Tobago was also served thrice weekly.

Despite the fact that the 2nd Earth War ordinarily thwarted industrial airline operations, they expanded in the Caribbean. The 1942 acquisition of two Lockheed L-14 Electras enabled it to operate constitution flights to American armed forces bases there.

Reworked, the adhering to year, into a community minimal enterprise, and infused with monetary plasma from the British govt, it acquired a few, commercially transformed Hudson bombers, although completion of numerous smaller Caribbean island air fields enabled it to spread its wings to Grenada and the Dominican Republic, as effectively as to Guyana in South The united states.

No lengthier hampered by war, it obtained 4 extra suitably purposed Lodestars in 1945.

An possession adjust two several years later on, to British South American Airways (BSAA), merited the temporary nomenclature of British International Airways, a BSAA subsidiary, whilst it reverted to its unique British West Indian Airways title on June 24, 1948. In purchase to cater to amplified demand, it obtained 5 24-passenger Vickers Viking airliners, which featured twin piston airscrews and twin vertical tails and rested on tail wheels.

A different ownership adjust occurred the adhering to 12 months, when British Abroad Airways Corporation (BOAC) amalgamated BSAA into it, transforming BWIA itself into a subsidiary. Ceded many routes north of Jamaica from mum or dad BOAC, which monetarily supported its expansion, it changed its L-18 Lodestars with 3 28-seat Douglas Dakotas, but even these proved insufficient for its formidable enlargement designs.

Transitioning from piston to turboprop technological innovation, it acquired 4 Vickers V.700 Viscounts, driven by Rolls Royce Dart engines,, in a position to offer travellers bigger velocity and ease and comfort as of 1955.

Simply because these aircraft have been too large to provide the Leeward Islands, BWIA, keeping the controlling desire, fashioned Leeward Island Air Transportation (LIAT), working extra quick strip-appropriate devices.

Spreading its wings across the Atlantic in 1960 with leased, quad-engine Bristol Britannias, BWIA inaugurated support to Jamaica and Barbados from London with an intermediate quit in New York.

But a 3rd possession transform, albeit immediately after prolonged negotiations, happened the adhering to yr, on November 1, 1961, when the governing administration of Trinidad and Tobago ordered 90 p.c of BWIA from BOAC.

“British West Indian Airways is conceived by the governing administration of Trinidad and Tobago as a countrywide carrier for the West Indian area as a whole, and actions are now becoming taken to put into practice this plan,” according to Dr. Eric Williams, then Leading of Barbados.

A Boeing 707, the carrier’s very first pure-jet kind, was chartered from BOAC that 12 months to exchange the Bristol Britannia on the transatlantic route, and by 1965, it experienced also substituted Boeing 727-100″Sunjets” for its Viscounts on US companies to Miami and New York.

Canada factored into the route system on May possibly 3, 1969, when BWIA experienced been granted a temporary license to work a Trinidad-Barbados-Antigua-Toronto sector.

Standardizing on Boeing 707 aircraft in 1971, BWIA was ready to offer you a 45-per cent raise in seat capability.

“This was also a yr of unparalleled growth in the constitution sector,” according to the “Company Timeline” (BWIA Global Airways, Corporate Communication Division, October 1, 1996). “BWIA tripled the number of charters into the United Kingdom from 8 to 24, and ongoing to increase on Miami providers with the continuation of the development of speedier products and services, coupled with increased capacity.”

Flight schedules from the Jap Caribbean to New York and Toronto were being also improved.

A milestone happened on April 5, 1974, when it inaugurated a weekly, scheduled provider to London-Heathrow, a significant improvement around the prior personal constitution flight to Gatwick.

An get for a single Douglas DC-9-30CF Convertible Freighter and 4 stretched fuselage DC-9-50s materialized four decades afterwards, on June 28, when it took delivery of the to start with plane.

A January 1, 1980 merger with Trinidad and Tobago Air Companies, which experienced been shaped 6 several years earlier to work large frequency shuttle flights between the two towns inherent in its designation, enabled it to remodel itself into a solitary domestic, Caribbean, and intercontinental provider.

The 1st of 4 L-1011-500s, shipped on January 29 of that year, enabled it to present both a widebody form for the initially time and a 31-percent ability boost around the 707s it replaced on the London route two months later on, on March 28. With supply of the fourth aircraft in 1982, the 707s had been altogether removed from the fleet and entirely replaced with TriStars to New York, Toronto, London, Manchester, Frankfurt, and Zurich.

Growth ongoing to Martinique with Hawker Siddeley HS.748 turboprops and Baltimore with pure-jet aircraft.

1985 was marked with the supply of the initially of an eventual nine MD-83s, configured with 12 small business and 108 coach seats, progressively replacing the DC-9-50s on some Miami sectors.

Using 2,032 system-huge staff by 1987, BWIA operated 4 DC-9-50s, 3 MD-83s, and 4 L-1011-500s.

Privatized, the Caribbean provider, which was integrated as BWIA Worldwide Airways, Restricted, on February 15, 1995, was now listed on the Trinidad and Tobago Inventory Trade.

The 21st century introduced major improvements and declines. A new light green and blue steel pin drum livery, for occasion, symbolizing Tobago, was launched in 2000, changing the extended-standing gold, yellow, and white a person, whilst a fleet modernization plan was implemented. Two quad-motor Airbus A-340-300s, supposed as TriStar 500 replacements, were being requested, encompassing plane 9Y-JIL with 40 company and 215 coach and 9Y-TJN with 32 business enterprise and 252 mentor seats.

Even though it reversed its decision to exchange its MD-83s with A-321-100s on Caribbean and North American routes, in the function it took delivery of two, registered 9Y-BWA and -BWB, prior to standardizing on Boeing 737-800s, which accommodated 16 company and 138 economy travellers.

While, as occurs with any carrier, its route process different all through the several years with the addition and removal of places, it served Antigua, Barbados, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, Trinidad, and Tobago in the Caribbean Guyana, Suriname, and Venezuela in South The us New and Miami in the US Toronto in Canada and London, Manchester, and Frankfurt in Europe from main Trinidad and secondary Barbados flight bases.

Whilst it attained its peak of operating some 660 weekly flights and carrying 1.4 million travellers in 2003, profitability normally failed to parallel these lofty figures, necessitating a number of Trinidad and Tobago govt infusions to be certain its continued money carry.

3 several years afterwards, nevertheless, the failure of unions to agree on new contract phrases resulted in the individual bankruptcy of the nationwide carrier of Trinidad and Tobago right after 66 years of procedure.

From its ashes rose state-owned, BWIA-changing Caribbean Airlines on September 27, 2006 with a fleet of 6 737-800s and a solitary A-340-300.


“Company Timeline,” BWIA Intercontinental Airways, Minimal, Company Communications Office, Oct 1, 1996.

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