Air Atlantique’s Douglas Dakotas carried all manner of cargo – from Cognac to cabbages – in their busy ’80s heyday, as Charles Woodley details in a new book charting the carrier’s history
Air Atlantique’s World War Two-era transports were a common sight at UK airports in the 1980s – its fleet being deployed on a host of ad-hoc services catering for aviation enthusiasts, D-Day veterans and everyone in between. The shortest flight operated in 1982 covered just 14 air miles. A company boss wanted to arrive at his firm’s Christmas lunch in style, so hired a Dakota to fly him into a nearby airfield where he disembarked in solitary splendour.
More unusual Dakota charters transported a consignment of brandy from Cognac into the UK and carried a party of pig farmers from Aberdeen to Coventry, but it was the mail and newspaper contracts that provided vital year-round revenue. Three Dakotas were stationed at Blackpool for newspaper flights to Belfast and the Isle of Man, while two more carried mail between Newcastle and Liverpool, five nights a week.