Three countries

Some airlines come and go, and some go on forever. Some routes disappear after a while. Here are some demises which would affect me if I tried to do it all again.

Brymon Airways no longer fly the route from Birmingham to Gatwick. The Twin Otter on the route had a certain charm, and I will miss it. At the start of June 1987's journey to Washington DC, it was a relaxing start, though by May 1990 the service was run by a Shorts 330, slightly larger and not quite so much fun. The route was passed to Air Europe, who had only run it for a little while before they ceased trading.

Brymon Airways and Birmingham European Airways merged in November 1992 to form Brymon European Airways. This carrier looks set to be one of the larger regional carriers, but without the character of the two airlines from before. Of course, people said the same about British Airways in the early days.

British Caledonian were taken over by British Airways, as everybody should know by now. Some of their routes disappeared, later to re-emerge. Gatwick to Kennedy was the only route I ever flew with them, and on the strength of it I won't miss them.

Eastern Air Lines, famous for the East Coast Shuttle is no more. Following huge losses and problems with unions, they sold off the Shuttle to Donald Trump, an entrepreneur, and struggled on in the face of adversity until they curled up their toes. Their Shuttle was clean, and it flew reliably. All in all, the June 1987 journey would be difficult to re-enact.

Pan American have had a bad time of it, too. They don't fly from London Heathrow any more, having sold the routes to United. At the same time, TWA sold out to American, changing the face of North Atlantic travel, and completely screwing up Heathrow's grandfather rule. This was a rule which stopped any new carriers flying into Heathrow. Once United and American were let in, the floodgates opened, with Virgin Atlantic, Cathay Pacific, All Nippon, Korean Air and others appearing virtually overnight. Then I hear that Pan Am is all but ceasing to exist, with just Latin American services continuing and the rest of the airline and its assets being sold to Delta Air Lines, presumably including the Worldport at JFK, what is left of the European network including the Frankfurt hub and so forth. Finally, I hear that Pan American is now a name consigned to the history books forever. One of the world's first and foremost, they will be missed. However, Pan Am of recent years was not the same airline that was great in the early days.

These two airlines, incidentally, mean that both Shuttle carriers have changed in the space of four years, on what was once considered to be one of the most lucrative route networks in the world. Perhaps the price war on the route which I touched on in the text was part of the downfall of these two once-great airlines?

Orion Airways were eaten up by Britannia as a result of a take-over of their parent companies. I always felt that Orion's livery was prettier than Britannia's, but apart from that I wasn't really worried. Nor is anybody else: charter companies are pretty well the same everywhere, aren't they?

NLM City Hopper no longer exists as a company with a separate identity. It has been reabsorbed into KLM, the company which previously owned it anyway. NLM was apparently a happy little airline, but it never really had any independence. Hamilton Holidays, the company which we used to arrange our trip doesn't offer this package any more, either.

Thai International stopped running the route from Auckland to Bangkok at the end of March 1991. Possibly a bit before that, because our flight on the route had already been cancelled. Yet they keep on re-introducing the service. Further, each time it seems to be established, it is axed again.

Air New Zealand finally came up to date and dropped their flight prefix of TE, harking back to the old days of Tasman Empire Air Lines. Now, all their flights bear a prefix of NZ, which isn't nearly as interesting. It also results in a flight leaving Gatwick as Enzed One and arriving at Los Angeles as Enzee One, which is not the same at all.

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