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East African Airways, Aviation, Airliners, Airlines of Africa Encyclopedia

East African Airways

Photo Gallery of East African Airways

Last updated 1st January; 2021

2021 edition!

Vickers Super VC10 1154, 5X-UVA, c/n 881. The Super VC-10 was introduced on 13th October 1966.
Photo: Steve Williams

Settlers and Aviators - Wilson Airways (1929-1939)

Mrs Florence Kerr Wilson a widow, together with Thomas Campbell-Black, aviator and Archi W. Watkins, engineer
decided to set up and founded Kenya’s first commercial airline in 13 July,1929, Wilson Airways Limited. The first
aircraf twas a Gypsy Moth biplane VP-KAG that carried one passenger. Already in November the same year the car-
rier bought an Avro 619 VP-KAD and another pilot was hired.

The airline grew and several aircrafts were purchased. In 1933 the airline decided to set up a new “luxury and com-
fort standard” in the East African air travel by introducing a de Havilland “Dragon”, capable to carrying ten pass-
enger but in order to give increased comfort, Wilson Airways had it rigged for six passengers only.

Wilson Airways operated DH60 Gipsy Moth, Avro 619, DH80A Puss Moth, DH 84A Dragon, DH85 Leopard Moth,
DH 87A Hornet Moth, DH89 Dragon Rapide, DH90 Dragonfly.

East African Airways (1946-1977)

East African Airways Corporation was established after the second World War. The airline was a succsessor from
the pioneering airline Wilson Airways. The "new"airline served as the national airline of Kenya, Uganda and Tanza-
nia until economic and political problems grounded the airline on 1 st February 1977 leading to that each country
had to form its own airline.


DH89A Dragon Rapide 89A, VP-KEA , c/n 6890. Acq`d 1947. WFO 1954.
Photo:East African Airways

In the early days, the airline operated DH 89A Dragon Rapide, DH104 Dove, Lockeed Lodestar,
Macchi MB320, Piper PA-20 Pacer, Consolidated Catalina 3, and Airspeed Consuls.

D.H.104 Dove, VP-KDF, c/n 4118. 1948-1950 named "Buganda".
Photo: Civil Aircraft Photographs from Africa.

Lockheed L18-08 Lodestar, VP-KHW, c/n 2035 named "Tanga Safari".In service from 1950. Sold as ZS-DHK, subse-
quently SE-CDR (Aero Nord) and N6064V (Graubert Aviation).
Photo:Civil Aircraft Photographs from Africa

Douglas C-47B Dakota 4, VP-KJR, c/n 16097/32845 "Sir John Kirke at Embakasi 1952. rergistered as 5X-AAQ.
Photo: East African Airways

With the succesful integration of the DC3 Dakota services commencing from 2nd November 1949,
the replacement of Doves by Lodestars on the Nairobi - Entebbe route, which was now highly pro-
sperous and a new venture for territories with a large Moslem population, the first Hajj flights, ta-
king pilgrims to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, a substantial rise in passeger loads was experienced.

With a new DC3 service to Salisbry via Mbeya, wich commenced in August 1950, East African Air-
ways was now providung the largest capacity and the highest frequency of services in any part of
the colonial empire.

Canadair Argonaut DC4-M, VP-KOI, c/n 152 at Embakasi Nairobi Airport 1959.
Photo: Civil Aircrafts Photographs from Africa

In the end of 1950 before entering the jet age, EAA started to operate Canadair DC-4M on theirin-
ternational routes. The first scheduled Canadair service, EC501, was scheduled to depart Nairobi
for Durban on Saturday,13th April 1957, intially on a weekly basis, supplementing the presige
DC-3 "Coastliner" international service to South Africa routing via Dar es Salaam, Salisbury and

By comparison,the EC602/EC601 London service was extremely popular. The Canadairs departed
from Nairobi in the mid-afternoon fo Entebbe,Khartoum and Benina, where they would arrive just
before dawn for crewchange. Then the service continued to Rome and London.


DH106 Comet 4, 5Y-AAF, c/n 6433.London Heathrow Int Airport (LHR) 10 May,1964
Photo:R.A. Scholefield

DH106 Comet 4, 5Y-ALF, c/n 6404.

In 1960, the first jet aircraft, the DeHavilland DHC 106 Comet 4 was added to the fleet. Fokker
F27s were introduced on the shorthaul services from 1962, followed by the magnificent Vickers
Super VC10 in 1966 , in its era well known for comfort and power. From 1967, De Havilland
DHC6 Twin Otters were added to the fleet for short haul operations from i.e. grassfields. During
1970 DC9-32s were added to the fleet to operate on both domestic- and international routes.

Vickers VC-10S 5H-MMI, c/n 882.
Photo: Tony Edlind

Vickers Super VC10 1154, 5H-MOG, c/n 885 at Lusaka International Airport, Zambia 1972.
Photo: Tony Edlind.

Douglas DC-3, 5Y-AAE, c/n 16096/32844.
Photo: Tony Edlind collection

McDonnell Douglas DC-9-32, 5H-MOI, c/n 47430.
Photo: Jo Beek/Skygallery Collection

Fokker F27-200, 5Y-AAB, c/n 10211.
Photo: Tony Russell

DeHavilland Canada DHC-6-200 Twin Otter, 5X-UVP, c/n 182.
Photo: Michael J. Ody

Douglas C-47B Dakota 4, 5Y-AAE, c/n 32844/16096. 1953. Sold to
Caspair reregistered as 5Y-BBU.

Steve Fizgerald

View these photos? Go to photopage!

From the services within the colonial Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika the airline started to operate
international flights in 1956, first to Central and South Africa, followed by flights to the United King-
dom in 1957 and India, Hongkong and New York. East African starded a route during the 1970s to
Scandinavia, Copenhagen on Fridays, the flightnumbers was EC750/757.

Fleet 1960 - 1977

Five Vickers Super VC10-1154, three McDonnell Douglas DC-9-32, nine Douglas DC-3/C-47, four
Fokker F-27-200, five DHC-6 Twin Otter, seven DH104 Comet 4 and one Boeing 707-323CF (de-
livered 1975 and leased to Simbair).


Of the remaining fleet (the Comets, Twin Otters and several of the DC-3s where already sold) at the
collapse, the F27s and DC-9s were transferred to Kenya Airways. One DC-9 was leased to Air Tan-
zania during six months. The last delivery flight in EAA-coulors was by the Super VC10 5H-MOG,
3rd August, 1977, Nairobi - Filton (England). All Super VC10s (except 5X-UVA that was lost du-
ring take-off from Addis Ababa 1972) were converted to VC10 K3 tankers for the Royal Air Force.

Annex - The loss of Super VC10, 5X-UVA

Vickers Super VC10 1154, 5X-UVA, c/n 881
Photo: Tony Edlind collection

It was 18th of April, 1972, when the flight, EC720 bound for Rome and London had made a sche-
duled stop-over at Addis Ababa to pick up passengers.The Super VC10, 5X-UVA was ready to depart
from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, Ethiopia.

The four engines responded the full take-off power. Just before reaching V1 there was a loud bang
followed by an increase in noise and vibration. The captain decided to abort the take-off at about
160kts, but the aircraft over-ran the runway and hit t he lower ground slightly with the starboard
wing down and the fuselage broke up. The aircraft burst into flames.

Passengers left the aircraft from the starboard side. There were sixty-four survivors. Thirtyfour pas-
sengers and four cabin crew were killed in this tradgic accident most as a result of the fire. The
Super VC10 was acknowledged as one of the safest aircraft in the world. The cause of the bang was
soon found. A light aircraft jacking pad had punctured the nosegear tyre and the aircraft could not
stop on the short runway due to that it had not the recommended normal I.C.A.O standard over-run


Steve Fizgerald.

Own experiances, flightmagazines, EAA timetables and "East African An Airline Story " by P Davies and photos by


Aviation, Airliners, Airlines of Africa Encyclopedia

©Copyright 2002 by Tony Edlind