The Britannia's
of
Hunting-Clan and British & Commonwealth

On the opening day of the 1956 Farnborough Air Show, held in September, Hunting-Clan announced an order for one Britannia 310 series, with an option on two more. After three months of negotiations, Hunting amended their order and signed a £2.5 million deal for two new Bristol Britannias with an option on one more. Deliveries were due to start in May 1958.

The plan was to use them on the successful Safari services to Africa, but that would need Government approval and a move away from the restrictions placed on independent airlines; that were used to protect the state airlines at that time. The Government restrictions would remain in place despite lobbying by many independent airlines.

Hunting continued to move forward, adding Viscounts to their fleet but with the imminent arrival of their two Britannias, G-APNA and G-APNB, Hunting were busy trying to find economic and effective use for two large aircraft.

They applied to use them on inclusive tours to Jamaica, Bermuda, the Bahamas, New York and Montreal but these applications were rejected as they may damage BOACís traffic figures. Hunting also promoted trooping flights with them, but the Governmentís Ministry of Supply had three Britannias of their own to find work for.

Eventually G-APNA was handed over to Sir Nicholas Cayzer of British & Commonwealth Shipping on 11th December 1958 at Bristolís factory at Filton. The aircraft was without titles but had a British & Commonwealth flag on its tail. Soon after G-APNB was delivered. They would initially find work transporting shipís crews and some freight around the world for British & Commonwealth Shipping, a company that incorporated Clan Line, under the control of the Cayzer family.
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The Britannias were registered to a new company, Clanair Ltd, and one of them flew just over 20,000 miles on its inaugural flight, London-Hong Kong via Germany, India and Japan. It completed the entire return flight in just 10 days for the shipping company.

The Britannias did find regular work; Hunting were awarded a contract to operate trooping flights to Singapore and Hong Kong on 15th April 1959, cutting the journey time from over three days to around 24 hours, with only three fuel stops at Istanbul, Karachi and Bombay. They would be operating what would almost be a scheduled service of six flights per month, with the first flight leaving on 15th  May from London. The contract also provided scope for additional charters to be made by the Air Ministry if they were needed.

One of the Britannias on a trooping flight flew round the world and they did it in a flight time of 65 hours, covering the 24,000 miles at an average speed of 374 mph. On the Christmas Island-London leg of the flight they were carrying 127 troops.

Hunting had also applied for further trooping contracts to Africa and the Middle East, and they were awarded these in September 1959. The majority of British Government trooping flights were now in the hands of Hunting. With the award of services to Cyprus, Aden and Kenya, the workload for the Britannia fleet increased again, they were still in the colours of British & Commonwealth, and the first flight departed on 1st October 1959.

Though time was running out to see a Britannia in the livery of Hunting-Clan; the Airwork / Hunting-Clan merger was formerly announced on 1st March 1960, and in April the name British United Airways was made public for the first time.

An announcement was made on 27th June that the merger between Hunting and Airwork was complete and on 1st July 1960 Hunting-Clan became a founding part of British United Airways and all of their London Airport services were transferred to the new Groupís base at Gatwick.
Hunting became Hunting-Clan following the partnership between Clan Line Steamers and the Hunting Group announced on 5th October 1953. Hunting Group and Clan Line both invested £500,000 each to set up the Hunting-Clan Air Holdings Group, which would take over Hunting Air Transport.

Huntingís Chairman headed the new group. Clan Linesí Cayzer family would be members of the board.

Left a super film of G-APNA on a round trip to Toyko in 1959

G-APNA Registration sheet

G-APNA Registration sheet

G-APNB Registration sheet

G-APNB Registration sheet

Below we have the Aircraft registration sheets for G-APNA and G-ANPB.....with a mix of Clanair and British & Commonwealth as the original registers of the aircraft. The aircraft were put into Hunting-Clan's name for the merger with Airwork......at long last in Hunting's name on paper.... and they stayed that way, BUA never appearing as registered owners in their own right.
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