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Aquila to the end

Post war move

BOAC moved into peacetime bringing their flying boats back up to commercial standard with seats for 22 or 24 passengers and in 1946 Shorts launched a new generation of flying boat the S45 or Solent  Class. By 1948 the company had moved their flying boat service base back from Poole in Dorset to Southampton Docks. The future appeared bright for Southampton and the flying boats with the opening of a new air terminal at Berth 50. There had been talk and plans of building a new airport that would cater for both land and marine planes and the service appeared to be entering its heyday. Sadly for Southampton and the flying boats its relationship with BOAC was nearing the end and as faster land planes began to dominate in the rest of the world, Britain alone struggled to remain faithful to the commercial flying boat service. 

Berth 50 Air station 

[5389] BOAC Terminal at Eastern Docks

magnify BOAC Terminal at Eastern Docks
When BOAC returned to Southampton in 1948 they found a new air station provided by the owners of Southampton Docks, Southern Railway. The specially designed marine air terminal had been constructed at Berth 50 in the Eastern Docks. It had office space for the staff, customs and immigration officials. The flying boats could dock alongside and there was capacity for handling baggage and freight. The passengers were well provided for and could relax waiting for their boat in the restaurant or bar. Despite these new surroundings BOAC announced the phasing out of flying boats by 1949. It began to reduce its marine operations, replacing the routes with land planes, which were cheaper to operate. This would have meant the closure of the Berth 50 Terminal if it had not been for Aquila Airways.


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