This flying-boat airline, which operated from Southampton, was started by Wing Commander Barry T. Aikman in 1948, just as B.O.A.C. was abandoning its flying-boat services. Aquila bought their first planes, Hythe class flying boats, from B.O.A.C. at knockdown prices, and also took over the B.O.A.C. terminal at berth 50 in the old docks (image 2). The company flew to Madeira, Las Palmas, Majorca, Jersey, Marseilles, Capri, Genoa, Corfu and Lisbon, with the Madeira route being the most popular. Over the ten years of its operations the company had 19 flying boats on its books, though not all at the same time. As well as the original Hythe class aircraft the company also purchased a number of Solent Mk IV planes, a Solent Mk III named the City of Funchal (image 1) and a Sandringham flying boat named Himalaya. Charter flights were a regular feature, the longest of which was a return flight to the Falklands Islands in 1952.
Many famous people flew with Aquila, including Winston Churchill and a young Margaret Thatcher. As well as passengers the planes carried mail and freight. The service ceased operations in 1958.

1. City of Funchall Flying Boat

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Photograph, c.1949

2. The BOAC Flying Boat Terninal, Eastern Docks

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Photograph, 1947

see also

Further Reading:
Eagles over Water, by Norman Hull. (HS/pi)
‘Aquila Airways’, by Norman Hull in Hampshire Industrial Archaeology Group Journal, no 13, p13-16. (H/p)


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