Friday, 16 November 2012

Livingstone Airport

 Livingstone Airport Terminal from the exterior belies the spaciousness of the concourse, lounges and restaurant within.

Livingstone's 1½ million pound Airport was opened in the grand manner on 12th August 1950.

VIP's gathered, no expense was spared, and aircraft representing every airline which expected to use the new Airport were on display. Connies, Hermes, Ambassadors and many others, all flew sedately past the Saluting Base whereon sat the V.I.P's. Last in line came the CAA Viking, and one sensed a s1ight1y patronising attitude - 'It's only the CAA Viking'-on the part of the representatives of the larger airlines. But Mike 0'Donovan was at the controls. He hurled the Viking at the Saluting Base, cut one motor directly in front of it, then proceeded to climb away practically standing the aircraft on its tail. Loud 'ee's' and 'ah's' from spectators greeted this performance whilst the effect on the dignified V.I.P. 's was comical to watch.

From the date of that very interesting occasion until July 1956 when Salisbury's international airport was opened, Livingstone was the Aerial Gateway for the Federation.

Previous to 1950, CAA used an air strip which was situated near the present Falls Motel, and BOAC operated the famous Flying Boats from a base, still to be seen, on the Zambesi River.

Today, CAA has a staff of six at Livingstone: two Reservations Assistants two Traffic Assistants, a Traffic Officer and a Superintendent who covers both Traffic and Sales.

The Reservations staff comprise Mrs. May Beckerleg, who joined CAA in 1955, and Mrs. Joyce Pheiffer who has now been with CAA for a year. The Traffic Officer is Mr. John Bennett who joined CAA in 19 56 in Bulawayo, and was later transferred to Livingstone, and his two Traffic Assistants are Mrs. Celia Martyn, and Mrs. Joan Twells. Celia Martyn, who came to Northern Rhodesia in 1933, joined CAA in 1951 and has spent most of her time since then at Livingstone. Joan Twells came to CAA from East Africa in 1955, starting in Lusaka and being transferred to Livingstone in 1956. The Superintendent, Mr. Digby Kartle, arrived in the Federation in 19 57 'on spec' and was offered an appointment with CAA in Salisbury and was transferred to Livingstone in 1958.

The curio sellers in Livingstone enjoy the ready market for their products among
 tourists, aided and abetted by CAA staff.

 This fine picture of the famous Victoria Falls is typical of the experienced by passengers and
 shows the usual course taken by the Zambesi River after leaving the Falls

 The Falls are a photographer's delight and thousands of feet of film are shot  annually by CAA tourist,

End
Extracted and recompiled by Eddy Norris from the SCAANER magazine dated August 1959 which was made available by Dave Vermaak. Thanks Dave

Comments are always welcome, please enter them below or mail them to Eddy Norris at orafs11@gmail.com  and they will be loaded to this article.

(Please visit our previous posts and archives)

Ref. Rhodesian Aviation

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1 Comments:

At 4 December 2012 at 09:58 , Blogger Rhodesia Remembered said...

Gordon Hall (Air Rhod) Writes:-

Seeing the photo of the airport from the ramp side certainly bought back many happy memories for me.

I was stationed at the Airport on two occasions - once in 1960, and then again in 1965/6.In fact I was sitting in my office - the second window on the left of the main building - when the Honourable Ian Smith - delivered the UDI proclamation to the nation broadcast by the Rhodesian Broadcasting Company.

The two ladies on Sales duties were still there in 1960, plus Celia Martin was still assisting me with Traffic duties. The only person I cannot remember is the name of the Area Manager - by then Digby Hartle was gone.

The only foreign airline still operating into Livingstone was the UAT DC6 combi that flew from Paris, Fort Lamy, Elizabethville, Livingstone - then returned the same route back after a nightstop.

On one occasion I had booked 4 tonnes of cargo - Supersonic portable radios - on the return flight
to Elizabethville.Unfortuantely the incoming flight had 45 wouldbe mercenaries on it - who had been refused entry into the Katanga Congo - and had to leave on the same flight. Federal Immigration promptly did the same thing which meant the mercenaries had to be carried out on the next days flight. The French Captain had filled the tanks in Elizabethville so with the unexpected passenger load, there was no weight for the cargo to be sent. The Supersonic GM telephoned me and threatened me with lawsuits, violent death etc etc when his radios failed to arrive in E`ville. He had no joy either with UAT - just a Gallic shrug and "Cie la vie "

They left the following week !!

Life in Livingstone was exciting - so many many events and good friends.

 

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