Tag Archives: british air ferries

Southend Airport – by air ferry and by rail

This blog contains another two advertisements from the July 1967 Essex Countryside magazine. The first is an ad for British United Air Ferries flying from Southend Airport. Whilst the idea of an air ferry flying from Southend Airport is not alien to me – the company name was – I’d only ever heard people speak of “British Air Ferries” – i.e. without the word ‘United’.

As ever, the all-knowing combination of Google and Wikipedia come to the rescue, and it appears that BUAF changed its name to BAF in September 1967, as a result of a re-organisation by grandparent company B&C (British & Commonwealth). The intermediate company (i.e. the parent to BUAF) was Air Holdings.

British United Air Ferries
British United Air Ferries

The journey time of 30 minutes to Calais seems mighty impressive – I guess the plane would hardly have hit cruise altitude before it would be descending again. As ever, when old prices appear, I feel compelled to make an inflation-based conversion into today’s equivalent prices – and they really are not bad at all – especially if you compare it to the prices on the previous blog for the Whirline.

  • Calais – £60.03
  • Ostend – £71.57
  • Rotterdam – £120.05

BAF finally closed up shop in 2001, though it had not been operating car ferry services since 1977. It changed its name to BWA (British World Airlines) in 1993.

Well that’s the propeller heads fed for a while. So now lets give some food for thought to the commuters and trainspotters too. First, lets take a look at that fare from Liverpool Street to Rochford station.

  • July 1967: 10/9 = £8.27 in 2014’s money.
  • Today’s actual prices (2014): Peak: £16.30; Off-peak: £15.50

I’m stunned actually. Not necessarily by the fact that in real terms, the price of the travel has doubled – but by the paltry difference between a peak and off-peak single ticket. It may, of course, be that the difference is more pronounced for a return.

Anyway – here’s the advert…please scroll down for more of the blog!

British Rail serves Southend Airport
British Rail serves Southend Airport

There is no mention of what mode of transport the link between the station and the airport is. But 1/- equates to 77 pence in today’s money – so it would sounds like a public bus.

The Belgian Arrow service to Brussels works out at £166.23 in today’s money. Nowadays, on Eurostar, a non-flexible ticket for one adult costs between £50 & £89 for an advance booking – whereas a flexible booking costs £141.


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