The Boeing 737-300/400 was the only aircraft from DA's vast fleet to survive the merger. (Photo: Aero Icarus from Zürich, Switzerland, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons)

MIAMI – Today in Aviation, the subsidiary of the Davies and Newman shipbroking company, Dan-Air (DA) is merged into British Airways (BA) in 1992.

Dan-Air (Dan Air Services Limited) was created in 1953 and operations commenced with a charter flight from Southend (SEN) to Shannon (SNN) via Manchester (MAN) using a single Douglas DC-3 (G-AMSU).

Dan Air operated four Douglas DC-3s between 1953 and 1970. (Photo: Ken Fielding/https://www.flickr.com/photos/kenfielding, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Gatwick’s Second Largest Airline


Following a move from SEN to London Gatwick (LGW) the airline expanded quickly, taking advantage of the growing Inclusive Tour (IT) charter market. To operate these flights the de Havilland Comet was added in 1966. DA would go on to become the world’s largest operator of the type. By the end of the 1960s DA had become the second largest operator at LGW.

The 1970s saw the airline enter the schedule market. It also commenced transatlantic charter flights with second hand Boeing 707-300s acquired from Pan Am (PA). In late 1971 its parent Davies and Newman Holdings was floated on the London Stock Exchange.

The additional capital raised allowed DA to expand its fleet adding types such as the BAC One-eleven, Airbus A300 and Boeing 727 and 737. 

The A300 joined the DA fleet on lease from Hapag-Lloyd (HF) in April 1986. (Photo: Pedro Aragão, CC BY-SA 3.0 GFDL, via Wikimedia Commons)

Financial Woes


Initially, this wide and varied fleet gave DA the flexibility to match numerous tour operators requirements.

However, this would go on to cause the airline financial difficulties. It also failed to link up to a single UK tour operator who had subsequently began to set up their own in-house charter airlines. 

By 1992, debts of £50m had mounted and Dan Air was put up for sale. Talks were entered with Virgin Atlantic (VS) who were willing to invest £10m but the deal fell through. BA went on to pay a nominal £1 for the airline which was absorbed into its LGW operation. 


Featured image: The Boeing 737-300/400 was the only aircraft from DA’s vast fleet to survive the merger. (Photo: Aero Icarus from Zürich, Switzerland, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)