From Bus Station to Aviation

Long before Southwest Airlines, Ryanair and AirAsia, there was Skyways Coach-Air. Regarded as the world’s first low-cost airline, the carrier mobilised the coach companies of England to create one of aviation’s earliest hub and spoke networks. Charles Woodley charts the Kent-based carrier’s fascinating history.

In the aftermath of World War Two, a wealth of new British charter airlines emerged to satisfy the pressing demand for passenger and freight transport – especially during the Berlin Airlift, when the Allies carried supplies to keep the western half of the divided city running. One of the most successful was Skyways Limited, established in 1946 with a fleet of Avro Yorks for long haul work.

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