Transcorp Airways.

The in-depth histories of the individual aircraft that were operated by Transcorp Airways.


Background Information.


On September 06, 1985 Transcorp (H.K.) Ltd was formed in Hong Kong by Anthony Manzi and Barry Panos, with the intention of carrying freight between Western Australia and Brunei.

To comply with Hong Kong requirements Transcorp needed pilots with a British ATPL and a number of years’ experience flying under the British flag, to establish the airline. A British cargo carrier called Tradewinds Airways Ltd was shedding crews and some were recruited and positioned in Hong Kong, to do some route proving trips and train seconded Ansett pilots to take their place. The Australian pilots had to proceed to Gatwick in order to undertake a Boeing 707 conversion course and exams in British Air Legislation in order to qualify for a British APTL.

Simulator work was undertaken at London Heathrow and Ansett crew air work was carried out in Darwin. With British ATPL in hand, the Ansett pilots proceeded to Hong Kong to be examined in Hong Kong air legislation and do an endorsement on Hong Kong Kai Tak, thus gaining their Hong Kong ATPLs. Line training for the ex-Ansett pilots was undertaken with the ex-Tradewinds British crews.

Once the ‘vast discrepancy in pay’ was discovered, the British pilots held a stop-work meeting, with the end result that most returned home or were dismissed. However the Chief Pilot, Derek Noel, who carried the Hong Kong AOC, refused to join the revolt and remained in Hong Kong. He had trained Terry Otway on the Boeing 707, and then to qualify as Chief Pilot and carry the Hong Kong AOC. However the Hong Kong CAAA found that this dual role and the intrusion of Ansett on their patch was unacceptable. They reportedly took an inordinate time to issue the AOC. After Transcorp lost their AOC, an Indian, named Tony Ahmed, who reportedly was deemed more acceptable to the Hong Kong CAA, was named as Chief Pilot. The planned Perth - Brunei service was also delayed because Qantas had scheduled a weekly Boeing 747 freighter on this route.
On October 17, 1985 the ex-Lufthansa/German Cargo Boeing 707-330C VR-HTC was registered to Transcorp Airways (HK) Ltd. On October 28, VR-HTC entered service with Transcorp on charter services while awaiting an Airline Operating Certificate for Transcorp. This document was not issued until early-1987.

From November 28, the Boeing 707-331C 9G-ACY  was sub wet-leased by Transcorp from West Coast Airlines, while Transcorp's own Boeing 707, VR-HTC, was being modified in Hong Kong. It operated the first service for Transcorp on the Darwin - Melbourne route on the same day. That evening it departed for Perth, Singapore and Brunei, commencing a weekly Singapore - Sydney - Melbourne - Perth - Brunei - Singapore service. Its last service was flown on March 06, 1986 and it was returned to Zimex Aviation. It was immediately replaced by the Boeing 707-331C N345FA.

On December 03, 1985 Ansett Transport Industries acquired 51% of the Transcorp (H.K) Ltd shares. It was announced that when the Boeing 707 VR-HTC entered service, it would be flown by Ansett flight crews.

During March 1986 the Boeing 707-331C N345FA was leased from Race Aviation Inc. for approximately 8 weeks, whilst VR-HTC was being modified in Hong Kong. It operated a series of Sydney - Noumea primary produce charters.

During September 1986 the Boeing 707-330C VR-HTC was flown to Burbank, California for the fitment of Tracor-Shannon engine hush-kits by Comtran. It returned to Hong Kong on October 24, awaiting Transcorp’s AOC. Crew-training was undertaken at Darwin on January 29-30, 1987.

On February 04, 1987 the Boeing 707-336C SU-DAD was leased from Zarkani Air Services (ZAS Airlines), Egypt by Transcorp / Ansett Air Freight. It entered service Transcorp service operating Sydney – Darwin - Hong Kong as TC100. This lease was terminated on February 25, with the aircraft returning to ZAS.

From March 16, 1987 Transcorp leased the Anglo Air Cargo Boeing 707-338C G-BDEA for trans-Tasman service. It ferried Darwin - Sydney as ML100 and entered service as TC100 on the same day.  Its last Transcorp operation was flown in May 1987.

On May 18, 1987 the Boeing 707-330C VR-HTC, now named ‘Hong Kong Kowloon Trader’ entered airline service, after the airline's Air Operators Certificate had finally been granted earlier that month.

Initial plans were for a weekly Sydney - Darwin - Brunei - Singapore service and a weekly Sydney -  Brisbane - Manila - Hong Kong service. On June 01, VR-HTC commenced a Manila - Brisbane - Sydney service.

During October 1987 the Hong Kong Civil Aviation Authority refused to renew Transcorp’s licence.  However VR-HTC re-entered service on October 27. 

Its last service, as VR-HTC, was flown Sydney - Noumea - Sydney as TC200/TC201 on October 24, 1988.

On October 25, 1988 Transcorp Airways went into liquidation. Its Boeing 707-330C VR-HTC was transferred to Ansett Transport Industries. It was entered onto the Australian Aircraft Register as VH-HTC on October 28.

On October 09, 1991 Transcorp Airways (H.K.) Ltd was officially dissolved.


(My thanks to Fred Niven, Ansett Historian, for this history)