Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Court Line

Court Line was a UK holiday charter airline in the late1960s and early 1970s. It pioneered (in conjunction with Clarksons Holidays) the concept of cheap and cheerful package tours to Spain and other destinations, thus establishing a whole new way of holidaymaking for the British

The airline was originally named Autair International but in a complete change of image and name in 1967, Court Line Aviation was established. The fleet featured BAC 1-11 airliners and in a break from almost every other operator of the time, they were painted in a variety of distinctive eye-catching pastel colours, namely: yellow/gold/orange, pink/rose/magenta, pale violet/mauve/purple, light green/mid-green/forest green, in keeping with the holiday "feelgood-factor". Aircrews wore trendy uniforms designed by Mary Quant and passengers were made to feel that the flight was a fun part of the holiday. For many, it would be their first flying experience. Other airlines were quick to jump on the burgeoning package tour bandwagon and the in the early 1970s, a holiday in Mallorca or on the Costa del Sol became affordable to the average person for the first time. Court Line was based at Luton Airport in Bedfordshire

In 1973, Court Line ordered the first pair of Lockheed L-1011TriStars to be registered in the UK (G-BAAA and G-BAAB), which was a big gamble, as the new jets had a much larger passenger capacity than the 1-11s. Court took a risk that the market would grow and that such large aircraft could be operated profitably. In addition, it was looking to expand to new holiday markets in the US and the Caribbean, which at the time was wholly new territory for the package tour market. Unfortunately, their gamble failed, and compounded by the OPEC fuel crisis, in 1974, the company went bankrupt, with all flights cancelled and many holidaymakers stranded with no means of getting home. As a result of this, new organizations such as ABTA were formed, intended to provide insurance against such an event in future.