Nowadays, the name Ryanair conjures up images in the mind of the Irish low-cost carrier’s blue-tailed aircraft adorned with a golden harp design. According to ch-aviation.com, the Ryanair Group has almost 500 Boeing 737s at its disposal across all variants, but, did you know that it also used to fly the BAC 1-11?
What was the BAC 1-11?
It has now been over 59 years since the BAC 1-11 first took to the skies, with its maiden test flight occurring in August 1963. It entered service two years later with British United Airways, and enjoyed a long service life that spanned well into the 21st century. Unlike Ryanair’s present aircraft, its engines were rear-mounted.
Just shy of 250 examples of the BAC 1-11 were produced between 1963 and 1989, spread across two distinct production cycles. The first 19 years saw the One-Eleven built in the UK by the British Aircraft Corporation, while Romanian manufacturer Romaero took care of the last seven years, producing the type under license.
There were several different variants of the BAC 1-11 family, with the majority having the same 28.5-meter-long airframe. This allowed for a maximum capacity of 89 passengers. However, a stretched version known as the BAC 1-11-500 later came into existence, which, at 32.6 meters long, could accommodate 119 passengers.
The British batch
According to data from ATDB.aero, Ryanair operated a total of 16 1-11-500 aircraft from both the British and Romanian production cycles. The first 13 were UK-built, and joined the carrier between May 1988 and June 1993. They were all second-hand, but had varying ages, due to being built between 1969 and 1982.
12 of the 13 examples bore Irish registrations, with the exception being YR-BCI. This particular aircraft retained its Romanian registration during its tenure at Ryanair, due to the fact that it was on lease at the Irish low-cost carrier from Romanian flag carrier Tarom. As it happens, several examples had come from this airline.
Ryanair’s relationship with its UK-built BAC 1-11-500s was rather short, with certain examples departing as early as May 1989. By December 1994, all of these rear-engined twinjets had left the carrier, departing for airlines such as British Airways, Oriental Airlines, and, in some cases, back to Romanian flag carrier Tarom.
Three Romanian-built jets
Ryanair’s remaining trio of 1-11-500s were examples of the license-built Romaero Rombac 1-11-500. One of these twinjets enjoyed four spells on lease at the Irish budget carrier on lease from Tarom, with its registration, in each instance, being changed from YR-BRB to EI-BSS. These occurred between 1986 and 1993.
Another example was changed from YR-BRG to EI-BVH when it came to Ryanair from the Romanian flag carrier in 1988, when it was almost brand new. Rather than multiple short spells, it had a single five-year stint at Ryanair. The airline’s third and final Rombac 1-11-500 was present between June and October in 1990, and later flew for Aero Asia International between 1993 and 2000.
Did you know that Ryanair used to fly the BAC 1-11? Perhaps you even flew on one of these rear-engined twinjets yourself back in the day? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments!
Sources: ATDB.aero, ch-aviation.com