In the latest of a special series of reports, Stephen Skinner recalls how tragic events at Manchester Airport in August 1985 became a watershed moment in improving safety standards throughout the global aviation industry
The morning of Thursday, August 22, 1985 was due to be a busy one at Manchester Airport. The peak summer season was nearing a close, with dozens of flights departing to popular destinations across Europe and beyond. No one could have predicted that by 0700hrs, dozens would be dead in one of the country’s worst-ever air disasters.
British Airtours – the holiday-charter arm of British Airways from the 1970s through to the 1990s – was among the big names shuttling holidaymakers from northwest England to and from sunnier climes. Flight KT28M, bound to Corfu was due to be operated by G-BGJL, one of British Airtours’ nine Boeing 737-200s. The company roster also included five Lockheed L-1011 TriStars, one 707 and a 747.