This Fokker Friendship was the first plane in which I ever flew. The year was 1960 and the flight was from Sydney to Canberra and return. It was operated by Ansett Airlines, which flew within Australia for 66 years until 2002, when the company collapsed financially. Their troubles were compounded by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority’s grounding of its jets immediately before Christmas 2000 and again immediately before Easter 2001. Losing business at these two most important times of the year inevitably worsened its already precarious financial position.
My second air journey was in 1968 to Port Moresby, probably in a Boeing 707 jetliner. Within Papua-New Guinea, travel was by a Douglas DC3, seen here at Port Moresby. It was called a “side-saddle” because seating ran along each side of the fuselage, with passengers facing each other. At Wau, high up in the mountains, we had to be weighed with our baggage to determine where we should be seated to ensure balance. The takeoff down a steep runway on the side of the mountain was thrilling to say the least.
This plane wears the livery of Trans-Australian Airlines. At the time, Australia had a two-airline policy, i.e. two airlines were allowed to operate in competition within Australia and Qantas was allowed to operate internationally but not to carry passengers on internal flights unless part of an international flight. There were also two regional airlines, one of which was Airlines of New South Wales whose insignia appears on the tail of the second plane in the top photograph. The other was East-West Airlines. None of these airlines now exist following the end of the restrictive airline policy.