SPANTAX SA Transportes Aereos

 

BRIEF HISTORY

 

1959

6th October: Aero Taxis de Espana founded by Rodolfo Bay Wright and Marta Estades Saez. The air taxi operator had its fleet based in the Canary Islands, but its head office was in Madrid. Rodolfo Bat Wright held 80% of the new venture with Marta Eastades Saez holding the balance.

 

1960

Aero Taxis de Espana was given the authority to operate flights in aid of oil prospecting companies in the Sahara Desert. It became apparent that the initial air taxi equipment operated by the airline was unable to cope with the task, so the company acquired the DC3.

 

1962

The name of the airline was officially changed to Spantax SA. This was an abbreviated version of the English translation of Aero Taxis de Espana (Spanish Air Taxis). The name Spantax had been in use since 1961. The company also decided to expand beyond the Canary Islands and into the Balearic Islands as well as the Spanish mainland. Also the airline started operating Inclusive Tour Charters from Europe to the Spanish sun destinations.

Spantax was also instrumental in the establishment of Air Mauritanie. They provided technical expertise along with aircraft including DC3 EC-ARZ to establish the new airline.

 

1963

A new type of aircraft joined the fleet as Spantax purchased the DC4. The first examples were purchased from Iberia. This enabled the expansion of the network into Europe.

A second new type was introduced into service when the first of the DC7s joined the fleet

 

1964

Spantax assisted with the air lift of the Spanish Olympic team to the summer games in Tokyo. They sent their DC7 EC-ATQ on this trip.

By this stage the airline had 240 employees and announced its intentions to acquire jet aircraft.

 

1965

Disaster struck on December 7th, DC3 EC-ARZ crashed in Tenerife killing all 32 on board.

Spantax introduced the DC6 into service. Spantax contracted Sabena to convert one of their DC6 aircraft (EC-BBK) into a swingtail freighter.

 

1966

A DC3 jointly operated by Spantax and Iberia ditched near Tenerife with the death of one passenger.

 

1967

Spantax became the first Spanish independent airline to introduce jets into service. The first Convair CV990 was introduced into service.

This is also the year of Rudi Bayís famous landing in Hamburg Finkenwerder.

 

1969

Spantax introduced the first of the de Havilland Twin Otter aircraft into service. The aircraft (EC-BPI) was used for scheduled services between Malaga and the Spanish Enclave of Mellila. The aircraft was ideal as it was able to operate from the very short runway in Mellila

Spantax made history in Spain by employing the first female pilot in that country when Bettina Kadner joined the airline. She had previously applied to Iberia, but was refused there.

 

1970

On January 5th, a CV990 (EC-BNM) crashed after take off from Stockholm killing 5.

 

1972

Spantax started operating transatlantic flights, initially using DC7 aircraft.

Spantax leased their fleet of F27s to Aviaco and later on sold the aircraft to Aviaco.

On December 3rd, 155 people were killed in what was Spainís worst air disaster when a CV990 (EC-BZR) crashed in Tenerife.

 

1973

A Spantax CV990 (EC-BJC) was involved in a mid-air collision with an Iberia DC9 over Nantes. The DC9 crashed killing all 68 on board. The Spantax aircraft made a miraculous landing in Cognac Air Force base.

Spantax introduced the DC8-61 into service. This was at that stage the biggest jet to be operated by the airline with 253 seats.

 

1974

Another new type to be introduced was the DC9 in addition Spantax ordered a pair of DC9-50 aircraft becoming the third airline to order this type of aircraft after Swissair and Austrian. This order was later cancelled the reason given differs depending on the source used. One source says it was cancelled due to lack of finance, another says it is due to the inability of the aircraft to operate from the Canary Islands to Scandinavia non-stop, which was a key requirement for Spantax.

 

1976

The last of the DC3 aircraft were withdrawn from service.

Also this year three passengers died as a result of food poisoning. The source was found to be contaminated mayonnaise served on board.

 

1978

Spantax introduced two new types of aircraft, the Dash 7 and the DC10. The former was used on the Malaga-Melilla route which was operated under contract to Iberia. The latter was operated on long haul routes as well as high density European services. The final wide-bodied decsion was between the DC10 and the A300, the latter losing out as it could not operate between Scandinavia and the Canary Islands non-stop

A CV990 made a wheels-up landing in Cologne

 

1980

A Gates Learjet (EC-DFA) crashed in Mallorca killing all four on board.

Spantax decided to replace their CV990 fleet and offered all twelve for sale along with a simulator and spares. The intention was to replace them with Boeing 737s or MD80 aircraft.

 

1981

Spantax sold their interests in the Verdemar Apartments and the Hotel Alcina, both in Mallorca. They wound up their Xatnapsa subsidiary as result.

Iberia cancelled the contract with Spantax whereby they operated the flights to Melilla. Iberia awarded the contract to their subsidiary, Aviaco instead. Spantax sold the Dash 7 and the Twin Otter as they had no need for them.

 

1982

September 13th saw the DC10 (EC-DEG) crash on take off from Malaga killing 50 of the 393 on board along with 3 on the ground.

Spantax was awarded a foreign repair station licence by the US FAA, thus becoming the second airline in Spain after Iberia to be awarded this licence.

 

1983

Spantax introduce a new livery, the DC9 EC-DIR was the first aircraft to wear the new livery.

Spantax introduced a new type of aircraft into service, namely the Boeing 737-200. They were the first airline to operate the Boeing 737 in Spain.

This was the last year that Spantax declared a profit.

 

1986

Control of Spantax passed to the state as the company was in effect bankrupt

Pilots and maintenance crews went on strike in June to ensure the sale of the airline to secure its future along with a pay rise.

 

1987

Spantax was sold to Aviation Finance Group

A new type of aircraft was introduced in the form of MD83 aircraft. The aircraft wore a revised livery. One DC10 also wore the new livery

The management of Spantax entered into negotiations with Air China to purchase two Boeing 767-200s from that airline.

Spantax withdrew the CV990 from service 

1988

Spantax declared an unexpected loss of $5million. Talks aimed at refinancing the airline broke down and Spantax ceased trading after 29 years in operation putting 815 people out of work. The airline had a debt of $50million. Workers blockaded Palma airport following the collapse. They also protested at the Palma residence of the Spanish royal family.


 

 

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