Silver City Airways - The First 70 Years

24 October 2016

Royal Aeronautical Society


Silver City Airways was formed in 1946 by the Zinc Corporation, a large mining company based in the UK with its principal mines in Australia. British Aviation Services (BAS) managed the airline on their behalf and an Avro Lancastrian made the first charter flight from London Airport to Sydney on 24 October 1946.

This lecture will look at the origins of Silver City before reviewing its wide-ranging activities over the following sixteen years until the company was absorbed into the 

British United Airways group in 1962. Best remembered for its cross-channel Air Ferry services, the company also operated scheduled passenger flights and charters to a wide variety of destinations in the UK and aboard – as well as providing specialist aviation services through BAS. Silver City also built its own airfield at Lydd in the space of six months, the new Ferryfield opened on 13th July 1954 as the principal base for Air Ferry operations. 

The lecture will also look at Silver City’s varied aircraft fleet, 
particularly their involvement in the use and development of the Bristol 170 Freighter and Superfreighter, and some of the personalities connected with the company. The speaker will conclude with some thoughts about what prompted Silver City’s demise as an independent airline - and what followed.

All RAeS Lectures are free to attend and we welcome both Members and Non Members. To RSVP, please click the Register button under Key Details and log in to your profile or create a user account. Alternatively, send your name and contact details to to reserve your place.

Speaker Details

Paul Ross, Chairman, Silver City Association

Paul Ross is Chairman of the Silver City Association which was formed by ex-Silver City staff in the 1970s and which has over 250 ex-Silver City employees and others who were involved with its operations, together with a growing band of Silver City enthusiasts. 

Now retired, Paul had a long career working in public transport in London. A life-long aviation enthusiast, he is a Trustee of both the Airship Heritage Trust and the de Havilland Educational Trust. Having joined the Silver City Association as an Associate Member in 2002, Paul’s enthusiasm for the company and its history led to him being invited to act as Vice-Chairman. He became Chairman on 1st January 2012.


Royal Aeronautical Society