Heathrow Queen’s Building – part 2

Aviation is a fast-paced business. Airlines come and go, liveries change, aircraft types enter service – or are retired. Following on from my previous article on the Heathrow Queen’s Building, here are a few more aircraft, airlines and liveries from yesteryear.


It’s the 50th anniversary year of the Boeing 747 and back in the 1980s there was an abundance of series -100 and -200s at Heathrow. Original operators like Pan Am and TWA had regular, daily Transatlantic services alongside British Airways. Other regular Jumbo Jet users at Heathrow at the time included El Al, Air India, South African Airways, Aerolineas Argentinas, Iran Air, Qantas and Japan Airlines.

TWA Boeing 747-131 N93105 was the 21st 747 built
Pan American World Airways Boeing 747-121 N740PA ‘Clipper Ocean Pearl’ was number 16 off the production line
Japan Airlines Boeing 747-246B JA8140 was delivered to the airline in 1979
El Al Boeing 747-258B 4X-AXC spent its entire career with the Israeli flag carrier


Lufthansa has operated from Heathrow since the airline’s inception in 1953. In the 1980s, with several daily flights to Hamburg, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Munich, Cologne/Bonn and Stuttgart the stands at Terminal 2 could resemble those at one of the German airports.

Lufthansa Boeing 737-330 D-ABXE ‘Hamm’ pushes back in front of two other members of the Lufthansa fleet
Lufthansa Boeing 727-230 D-ABKJ ‘Wiesbaden’ went on to fly with Olympic Airways as SX-CBG


British Midland Airways had flown to regional destinations from Heathrow for many years when the company decided in 1982 to compete with British Airways on the ‘Shuttle’ routes to Belfast, Glasgow, Edinburgh. It utilised its fleet of DC-9s which included the short Series -15. Services to Liverpool continued with Vickers Viscounts until the late 1980s.

British Midland Douglas DC-9-15 G-BMAC ‘The Eugenie Diamond’ was sold to Mexican operator TAESA
British Midland Vickers Viscount G-BAPF ended its days at Moreton-in-Marsh Fire Service College finally being scrapped in 2017


Until the recent re-introduction of Flybe’s Bombardier Q400s, Heathrow for the most part of the early 21st Century was the exclusive reserve of jet airliners. And no airline would use a valuable slot at the overcrowded international hub for a flight with an aircraft with less than 80 seats. But in 1987, Manx Airlines flew to Douglas, Isle of Man with a 34-seat Saab 340 appropriately registered G-HOPP. The airline’s 36-seat Shorts 360s, including G-ISLE and G-LEGS, were also a regular sight.

Manx Airlines Saab 340A G-HOPP, the 8th built, still flies today with Pel-Air Express in Australia

If all this has whetted your appetite for Heathrow’s history, check out this fantastic book and others all available on Amazon:

Heathrow In Photographs by Adrian M Balch


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