What Was East African Airways?

What Was East African Airways?

Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda are all prominent members of the East African Community today. The three nations share a long history through several different generations. As part of their long-standing relationship, the trio once shared an airline in the form of the East African Airways Corporation. East African Airways was a significant force in African aviation for three decades. Photo: New requirements

Kenya, Uganda, Tanganyika, and Zanzibar (the last two now forming Tanzania) were under British control in the years that led up to East African Airways. United Kingdom stakeholders, including the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) , formed a committee in 1943 to discuss the plans for airline operations following World War II . Overall, a single authority was sought to handle air transport for the governments of these territories.

Thus, in July 1945, the new outfit received its first two former Royal Air Force DH89A Dominies, which were previously registered to BOAC. Four additional units arrived later that year. Up in the skies

On January 1st, 1946, East African Airways formally launched from Eastleigh Aerodrome. Then in the following months, regional routes across East Africa, including destinations such as Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, Tanga, Zanzibar, and Mombasa, were inaugurated. Altogether, in the first year of operations, the airline flew 9,404 passengers. However, the balance sheet was in the red.

Nonetheless, the airline continued to expand throughout the 1940s. For instance, in 1948, it acquired five Lockheed 18-56 Lodestars from BOAC. These planes helped reduce the flight duration between Nairobi to Dar es Salaam to just two and a half hours from four hours and 40 minutes. The airline also took on four de Havilland Doves during this period.

The airline wasn’t done with fleet growth. It added DC-3 Dakotas to the fold before the decade was over and began flights to South Africa as the 1950s got underway.

The new aircraft helped the airline balance the books a bit better during the 1950s. Notably, East African became the first commercial carrier to transport a reigning British monarch in 1952. Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh were in Kenya when King George VI passed away. Subsequently, the current Queen of the United Kingdom flew on an East African Dakota from Nanyuki to Entebbe before boarding a BOAC Canadair Argonaut to London. The Douglas Dakota was a favorite across the industry at the time. Photo: Getty Images Crucial developments

East African entered […]

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