Central African Airways

Central African Airways (CAA ) is a predecessor company of Air Zimbabwe and begins her story with its founding on June 1, 1946, one of Southern Rhodesia ( now Zimbabwe ), Northern Rhodesia ( now Zambia ) and Nyasaland (now Malawi), jointly established airline was, of which the shares were distributed among the countries in that order to 50 %, 35% and 15%.

Your staff and their aircraft acquired from the CAA Southern Rhodesia Air Service ( SRAS ), an airline and a reconnaissance unit, which had been formed at the beginning of the Second World War, after the dissolution of Rhodesia And Nyasaland Airway ( RANA ).

Central African Airways did not leave it at the SRAS taken over by machines. They soon acquired five De Havilland Doves and three Vickers Viking. Finally, the CAA had seven Doves and twelve Vicking. The line expanded rapidly, reaching goals from Nairobi to Johannesburg, from Blantyre to Maun.

1948 CAA launched with two Bristol Freighters 170 the first air cargo traffic in Africa, which were leased by the Ministry of Civil Aviation in London. They were for the so-called " Kupferhändlersevice " between Johannesburg and Ndola via Bulawayo and Lusaka, and between Salisbury (now Harare ) is used and Lusaka. This service has been to Dar -es- Salaam and Lindi in Tanganyika (now Tanzania) expanded 1948 Kasama in Northern Rhodesia and Tanganyika in Mbeya.

In the first six months of deployment, the aircraft reached almost 250,000 tons of miles and thus a capacity utilization of 48%. However, the considerable technical problems of these machines meant that CAA terminated the contract in December 1949. These problems mainly related to the engines that were the same, however, as to the Doves.

CAA flew many so-called " social trails " that never refinanced itself. They supplied many far remote places deep in the bush, for those air was the only contact with the outside world. The airstrip was in this period essential for life in this region and were mostly deforested terrain that was leveled a bit and had a round hut covered with four feet in diameter than terminal. There were also airstrips as in Mongu, which was paved with three million bricks,

The two Bristol in 1951 replaced by Canadian De Havilland Beaver, single-engine, angular planes for short runways, easy and convenient as a VW bus at the time, but not faster. They were initially on routes from Bulawayo and Harare to Gwelo (now Gweru ), Gatooma (now Kadoma ), Queque (now Kwekwe ), Umtali (now Mutare ) and Fort Victoria (now Masvingo ) is used. But this operation lost its clientele with the widening and paving of roads in the country. The Beavers were therefore increasingly being used in Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland.

The deathblow said the CAA, however, the BOAC, as it established a line from London to Livingstone and thus ruined the most profitable route of the CAA to Nairobi. CAA tried with a line to London to return the favor, but the crash of one of these machines at Viking Lake Tanganyika due to material fatigue in the wings ended this attempt. At the time of the flight from Harare to London was not like today ten hours but four days with numerous stopovers for refueling and overnight stays. But that was still much faster than the mail boat, which took at least fourteen days after Cape Town. Along the way there were sandwiches and biscuits.

After that, the Vikings were only used on shorter routes, so to Durban, which made this city a popular seaside destination of the Rhodesians. But in the years 1956/57, they were finally phased out and replaced by more popular, also less prone Dakotas that had been previously used only those routes whose Passieraufkommen too large for the Beaver and the Viking was too small. But the decisive factor was the purchase of Vickers Viscount Type 748 - with spare parts and spare engines just under two million pounds, which was a tremendous amount for such a small airline. The first of these machines came on 25 April 1956 and remained until June at the service. The flew over Northern Rhodesia, Uganda, Sudan, Libya, Malta, Italy to London. Then kamem until July to four more of these machines. One of them crashed on August 9, 1958 while on approach from Benghazi. In September, the route has been set, however, to London, as CAA was not able to compete with major airlines. CAA sold his rights to the route very beneficial to BOAC and focused then on to regional and national routes.

In the regional traffic CAA offered organized tours. SKYCOAST was a flight from Salisbury to Durban and from there a trip by boat to Cape Town and back and was very popular. SKYBUS was a flight to Blantyre, the (now Chipata ), Lusaka and Ndola was extended soon to Lilongwe and Fort Jameson. That was mass transport with light linen seats that were begging for a pillow each passenger.

The increasing demand called for larger and faster aircraft and two BAC 1-11 were ordered in September 1962 and should be delivered in June 1965. As long as CAA leased a Douglas DC6 of Alitalia. But the political development was different. The Central African Federation was founded in 1953 and was disbanded in late 1963, with the independence of Zambia and Malawi in 1964. Both governments wished now to have their own airline. The failed initially to a lack of equipment, maintainability and staff so that for CAA only accountability changed because they were proportionally added to the ministries of Transport Ministers. Irrespective of support functions to the CAA were established to operate in the individual states themselves. These were Air Malawi Ltd. Air Rhodesia ( Pvt) Ltd.. and Zambia Airways Ltd.. The maintenance remained at CAA, but got branches in Zambia and Malawi. The fleet of the Dakotas was split between the three countries and the Beaver between Zambia and Malawi. Rhodesia had no need for these aircraft types. The have now been repainted and given new emblems.

The individual airlines soon proved to be profitable and work surprisingly well. The blow came when the government of Rhodesia unilaterally declared on November 11, 1965, the independence of the state, which had immediate sanctions. Except for the Portuguese TAP and the South African SAA presented all other airlines operate their flights an Rhodesia. The leases for the DC6 were terminated and imposed an embargo on spare parts. Two BAC 1-11 were not delivered at this time. The now deteriorating relations between the governments of the three countries led to the dissolution of the CAA end of 1967.

Pictures of Central African Airways