Re: Why no Tristars?

Date:         29 Apr 99 22:10:16 
From:         Lukas Lusser <>
Organization: Europainstitut Basel
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Hi Ken,

as Karl already pointed out in his reply, most of the operators you
remember were once correct, but most of them got rid of their 1011's over
the last 3-4 years. Here's some more info to bring readers up to date on
their fate: The list is not complete, but for a complete overview, let me
point you to Bill Harm's airliner census at
which is actually rather up-to-date and contains also info on demised

Now for the promised lenghty talk on the L-1011's fate:

Delta still flies both the "long" version in the form L-1011-1s and
L-1011-250s and the "short" L-1011-500. The 500s used to be flying accross
the Atlantic until about two years ago, when practically all of the L-1011
services to Europe were replaced by B767-300s. This was when Delta could
strike a deal and take over a whole bunch of pre-owned Gulf Air B767-300s
(all of them ER = Extended Range aircraft) which the former operator had
to dispose of due to a unforseen fall in revenues in the wake of the
crisis in Asia.

TWA got rid of their last L-1011s about a year ago, along with their last
B747s. It's called "restructurring". A few of them were still in storage
at Kingman, AZ, in December 98, lacking some vital parts.

In additon to American Trans Air, who recently started adding preowned
L-1011-500s to its fleet of L-1011s of the -1/-50/-100 family, American
International flies a bunch of L-1011-200s, among them some former British
Airways aircraft that were converted to freighters. Two more were/are
actually in passenger configuration. American International (aka/formerly
Connie Kalitta, recently acquired by Kitty Hawk) intends to retire from
the passenger business, so these two might no longer fly today (at least
N109CK still flew in December 98).

Arrow Air (recently acquired by Fine Air) and Fine Air of Miami also fly
the L-1011 as freighter. Tradewinds International used to have at least
one airworthy L-1011 Freighter (and some more waiting for conversion), of
which I do not know by haert what the status is (Karl, any info?).

In the Caribbean, BWIA British West Indian Airlines still flies the
L-1011-500, also on services to the US and Canada.

Air Canada - to dwell a bit on the statement that they were "long goners"
- actually disposed of its L-1011-1/-50/-100s and its L-1011-500s quite
some time ago, in the early 1990s. Later, one of these very same aircraft
(C-FTND) returned to Air Canada for a while. It's been disposed off by

Air Transat, a Canadian Charter operator, maintains a noteable fleet of
Tristars on vacationer's flights to the Beaches in the Caribbean, the
Casinos in Nevada, and to Europe. Since last year, they even fly the
L-1011-500. One of those is currently leased out to French Airline "Star
Air" in a very eye-catching livery. In addition to that, Royal Aviation,
another independent Canadian charter and domestic operator, still owns the
L-1011 and may occasionally fly it - at least while they are not on lease
to ChileInter. The Tristars got more and more under pressure from newer
Airbus A310 and Boeing 757 aircraft.

Turning to Europe, there still are some L-1011 operators there, but none
of them in the scheduled business. British Airways got rid of their
L-1011s now really a long time ago: The L-1011-500s already left the
airline in the first half of the 1980s (!) and were converted into
transport/tanker aircraft with the Royal Air Force, where they still fly
today. The L-1011-1s and -200s could last be seen around 1990. British
Airtours, later renamed Caledonian Airwyays, flies some L-1011-1s/-200s to
date. Still in the UK, charter operators such as Peach Air (current) and
Classic Airways (using a L-1011 appropriately registered G-IOII, but
ceased flying in fall 1998) are to be mentionned among the more recent
users of the L-1011.

Air Atlanta Icelandic also ownes a fleet of ageing L-1011s, among them
former Cathay aircraft. While one or two of them actually fly for Air
Atlanta Icelandic, the rest is available for lease. Two years ago, for
example, Iberia used two Air Atlanta L-1011s (one of them in full Iberia
colors!) to cover aircraft shortages. Staying in the cool Scandinavian
climate, Novair in Sweden operates some three L-1011s on charters,
including weekly transatlantic flights to Florida.

A sole L-1011-500 flies with Air Luxor/Air Madeira in Portugal - that's
all that is left on the protuguese register of TAP Air Portugals fleet of

LTU - once one of the major L-1011 customers in Europe - used the Tristar
untill ca. 1995/96, L-1011-500s. Last year still, one of their L-1011-1s,
registration D-AERP painted over, could still be observed parked in
Tucson, AZ. Maybe it's still there...

There are not many Tristars left in the rest of the World, as Saudia
retired their L-1011-200 fleet a few months ago. Before anyone corrects
me: Two L-1011-500s (HZ-HM5 and -HM6) do still fly in Saudi colors, but
these are in fact aircraft belonging to the VIP fleet of the King of Saudi

Another "royal" L-1011, the L-1011-500 of King Hussein of Jordania, is up
for sale due to the King's death earlier this year. Apparently, it the
family consideres it an invitiation to bad luck would its members continue
using the plane in its previous role after the rulers death.

Royal Jordanian Airlines itself is just about getting rid of all of its
L-1011-500s by now. Gulf Air in the United Arab Emirates had retired its
L-1011s already in the early 1990s, but pressed back a few of them into
service when the economy and traffic to Asia boomed in the mid 90s. This
intermezzo came to an end, and not only the 1011s, but also some 767-300s
left the fleet after the crisis in Asia developed in 1997 (see above,

In Asia, the L-1011 is virtually gone. One is/was occasionally flown by an
independent Thai (Thai Airways, NOT to be mixed up with Thai International
Airways!) carrier and its affiliate in Cabodia (Air Kampuchea was/is used
as name). The current state of the operations is unknown, this operation
might well be terminated by now. Comments welcome. Furthermore, Air Lanka
still flies one L-1011-100 and two L-1011-500s - the 500s still fly
scheduled transcontinental passenger services to Europe wherever the
Airbus A340s of the airline are too big.

In South America, the situation is also rather dull. Faucett is no longer
operative, and there L-1011s (very early prodiction models from Eastern
Airlines stock) are junk. One is currently (as of March 99) in the process
of scrappig at Miami International Airport. This leaves us with ChileInter
that seasonally operates 1-2 L-1011s from Royal Aviation, Canada, stock.

That's all I can think of when talk comes to current L-1011s, hope it

Lukas Lusser

Editor, Jetstream Swiss Aviation Magazine at
Bird Publishing's Ultimate Aviation Marketplace at
A Guide to Russian Airliners at