Laker Airways is born: Remembering Sir Freddie Laker

After founding Air Charter and gr owing a lucrative vehicle ferry service, Sir Freddie developed ambitious plans for even further expansion of his aviation empire

Following the introduction of the UK Civil Aviation Act in 1959, which abolished the monopoly of state carriers, Airwork Group, an aviation services contractor, was eager to grow. Its management offered Laker £800,000 for Air Charter and the associated companies, including Channel Air Bridge and Aviation Traders. Laker accepted and took a seat on the board.

In June the following year, Airwork merged with Hunting-Clan Air Transport, forming British United Airways (BUA) with Sir Freddie appointed as the managing director.

The new company was based at London/Gatwick and operated a fleet of Bristol Britannias, Douglas Dakotas, DC-4s, DC-6s, de Havilland DH.104 Doves, DH.114 Herons and Vickers Viscounts. The Channel Air Bridge car ferry service retained its own identity, flying Bristol Freighters from its base at Southend.

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