Bahamas World Airlines’ first aircraft was Boeing 707 VP-BDE (c/n 17700), formerly Qantas’s VH-EBE City of Perth. After stints with Standard Airways, Pacific Western Airlines and Alaska Airlines, it joined BWA in November 1971, remaining with the airline until August 1974, when it was acquired by National Aircraft Leasing. It is seen here at Nassau with the airline’s distinctive dolphin logo in January 1972.
Established in 1966 to operate budget transatlantic services between the Bahamas and Luxembourg via the USA, International Air Bahama leased 707-355 N525EJ (c/n 19417) from July 1968 to October 1969. Also no stranger to controversy, IAB was acquired in 1969 by Loftleidir, which leased DC-8s for IAB’s transatlantic routes.
Acquired by BWA at the same time as VP-BDF in December 1972, VP-BDG (c/n 18084, formerly G-AYRZ) had followed an identical career path to ’BDF, having also initially served with Pan Am, as N758PA. After being in storage at Dublin during 1975-78, the 707 was re-registered N433MA and leased briefly to Southeast Airlines.
Boeing 707-321 N11RV (c/n 17606) was delivered to Pan Am as N728PA in March 1960, and acquired by Robert Vesco’s ICC organisation in June 1971, when it was re-registered N11RV (for Robert Vesco). Silver Phyllis, as the 707 was named by Vesco, is seen here during a visit to Heathrow in 1972, bearing the ICC logo on the fin.
Seen here at Le Bourget in its BWA colours in June 1973, 707-321 VP-BDF (c/n 18085, formerly G-AYAG with Lloyd International) was originally delivered to Pan Am in 1961 as N759PA. A typical BWA freelance flightcrew comprised a captain, first officer, flight engineer and navigator, all of which were paid over the odds for their services - and discretion.
Originally delivered to Alitalia in July 1960 as I-DIWI, DC-8-43 N8418 (c/n 45600) is seen here in March 1979, the month after it had joined the BWA fleet for transatlantic runs between the Bahamas and Luxembourg. It remained with BWA until the spring of 1981, when it went to South America to serve various carriers until it was scrapped in 1985.
Originally delivered to Trans-Canada Air Lines as CF-TJJ in March 1961, DC-8-43 N8021V (c/n 45612) went on to serve with Air Canada, Cubana, Aeroperu and Air Jamaica before being leased to BWA in late 1979. Although it was given “Bahamas World” titles, as seen here in 1980, the airline never actually took delivery of the aircraft.
In another round of “spot the former operator”, DC-8-21 N8033U (c/n 45300) is seen here at Fort Lauderdale in January 1978 wearing the somewhat tatty remnants of the colour scheme it wore while operating with United Airlines, which it served during 1960-77. The aircraft served with BWA for only a short time and so was not painted in any new colours other than small titles on the forward fuselage.
In its new Bahamasair scheme, but still bearing the initials of Out Island Airways on the fin, One-Eleven Series 401 VP-BDN (c/n 062) is seen here at Miami in 1973. Two One-Elevens were inherited from OIA, one of which was disposed of that December, and two more had been acquired from American Airlines by the end of the year.
With the financial involvement of the Swire Group in 1968, Bahamas Airways acquired a small fleet of BAC One-Elevens for its services from Nassau and Freeport to Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach in Florida, including VP-BCO (c/n 189), seen here at Miami in May 1970, a mere five months before the airline ceased operations.
Bahamian inter-island operator Flamingo Airlines was established in March 1971 and used a mixed fleet of aircraft, including Convair 240 N17417 (c/n 108), seen here at Miami in February 1973, shortly before the airline was merged with Out Island Airways to become Bahamasair, although this aircraft did not join the Bahamasair fleet.
Still showing the vestiges of the colour scheme it wore while with Delta Airlines (for which it set a trans-USA speed record on its delivery flight from San Diego to Miami as N8802E in February 1960), Convair 880 N55NW (c/n 22-00-07) is seen here with its “Bahamas World” titles and a much smaller dolphin logo on the fin circa 1976.