Dan Air's scheuled route network in the 1950s was almost none existant! The UK government had it's Air Transport Licencing Board which made scheduled services for independant airlines almost impossible. The licencing board board gave route licences for scheuled services to the state owned and run airlines BOAC and BEA. BOAC carried out services to international, Empire services and to intercontinental routes such as the USA. British European airways (BEA) as the name suggests was responsible for providing European air transport. The reciprocal arrangements that existed between foreign countries ensured that for every service operated, there would be the option for a foreign, local carrier to operate the same service. This would mean that the exact number of flights would be available, with the same air fares. Competition was actively avoided. Should an independant airline wish to apply for a route that did not exist. After the application was submitted the service would be offered to the state run companies first! Only if they rejected it would the independant be able to apply. The rule was known as Provision One. However the company had started operations with ad hoc charters to Shannon and it had flown extensively with the airlift at Berlin in 1954- The first service was an ad hoc charter from the airlines base at Southend via Manchester to Shannon.
The DC-3 was used on the second Berlin airlift caused by the Soviet blockade. Charter flights were very much in their infancy. Tour Operators had to be regulated and apply for licences to operate their flights. The rule 'Provision One' meant that all charter flights could not operate into airports that BEA or BOAC already flew into. It also stated initically that flights could only be advertised for a specific group of clilents. For example. "Students and Teachers" This was to include nurses, doctors, pupils etc. Charters could be sold as "Closed Charters" This meant for example that an individual could hire an aircraft for a group of friends and family and a tour operator could organise transfers and hotels. The price of this was not as regulated as normal charters. Normal charters were tied to the rule that their fare could not be any cheaper than the standard scheduled flight to the nearest airport BEA served in that country. So why were charters popular? This is because that fare would include Flights, Hotel accomodation, use of a representative in resort, meals, drinks and transfers to and from the airport. Flights were more often than not at weekends and late at night. The aircraft were not nearly as modern as their BEA rivals. They were propellor driven and often unpressurised. They could not fly above bad weather. They had numerous technical problems and were much slower than jets. Dan Air at this point was chartered by many companies to take part in "Closed Charters" to cities like Amsterdam for day trip flights and weekend flights. These flights could not be sold to the public. It is interesting to note that in the 1950's a weeks holiday in a new Spanish resort would cost in the region of £32. The average wage in the UK at the time was £150 per year!!
May - First scheduled service, from Blackbushe to Jersey started.
BEA freight contract for London Heathrow - Manchester - Glasgow.