British Caledonian VC10s

Barry Lloyd outlines the history of the Vickers VC10 in British Caledonian service.

British Caledonian Airways, affectionately known as BCal, was inaugurated in November 1970, after a Scottish-based charter airline known as Caledonian Airways took over British United Airways (BUA), which at the time was Britain’s largest independent carrier. This followed implementation of British government policy set out in the 1969 Edwards report, introduced as a counterbalance to what it saw as the marketplace dominance by the state-owned corporations (BEA and BOAC), which between them had provided 90% of all UK scheduled air transport capacity.

British Caledonian VC10, G-ASIX, taxiing at London’s Gatwick Airport in November 1972.

By creating a so-called ‘second force’ airline, the government set out to expand Britain’s share of the increasing global aviation market and thus BCal was formed. The company traded under the Caledonian/ BUA banner until September 1971, and from then on as British Caledonian Airways. Its golden lion emblem on a blue background would become famous the world over.

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