McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30
The DC-10 played an important role in the history of Laker Airways, the airline of Sir Freddie Laker, famous for its low-fare transatlantic flights between Britain and the USA. Laker Airways was formed in February 1966 as a holiday charter airline, starting flights with Bristol Brittannias and Boeing 707s. The first two DC-10s were delivered in October and November 1972.
After a struggle of six years to get permission for cheap transatlantic flights, the first Skytrain DC-10 flight from London Gatwick to New York took off on September 26 1977. Laker sold his tickets on a first-come, first-served basis on the day of departure. Many people slept at the airport the night before to be sure of a seat.
Laker Airways operated eleven DC-10s: six DC-10-10s and five DC-10-30s. Another widebody airliner in the Laker fleet was the Airbus A300. With the Airbuses Sir Freddie tried to introduce his cheap Skytrain-type no-frills services in Europe as well. In April 1981 the airline started such a service between Manchester and Zurich in Switzerland. Expansion plans with ten Airbus A300s came to a halt because of bankruptcy in 1982. The incumbent airlines on the transatlantic route cut their fares so deeply that Laker, to match these fares, had to cut his ticket prices too much and went bankrupt.
Ten years later, in May 1992, Laker started a new airline based in the Bahamas, flying some Boeing 727s and, again, five DC-10s. On the picture above one of the DC-10s of the later airline is seen at Manchester (UK). The DC-10s of the first Laker airline were painted in a somewhat different colour scheme, shown on the black and white photograph below.