Perfect Air Tours
“To me they were Stansted”
By Mike Zoeller
“Two of their 707s were an almost permanent fixture at Stansted in the mid to late 1970s. I can still remember their red tails shimmering in the heat haze in 1976. To me they were Stansted”.
On 16th April 1975 the registration N702PT was allocated to Boeing 707-331 N702TA (17677) for Perfect Air Tours Inc., Miami, Florida, just twelve days after she had been acquired from Transatlantic Airlines No.4 Inc., Miami, FL. Perfect Air Tours, Inc. was incorporated on Thursday, June 19, 1975 in the State of FL, Sanford Freed presented Perfect Air Tours, Inc. as their registered agent. Soon 702 was ferried from Miami to Stansted where she was painted into full Perfect Air Tours colours by Aviation Traders (ATEL) (though the titles read ‘Operated by Perfect Tours’ and the colour-scheme was an adaptation of the her former World Airways markings). She was noted at Stansted on 2nd June 1975 still as N702TA, her new registration was not ‘officially’ applied until 1st August 1975 according to the FAA.
An US Corp.
Although Perfect Air Tours was a US corporation the company was in-fact owned by the Egyptian company Perfect Tours & Maritime Service, run by three brothers, the President was Hussein Abu Ragheb. Airline offices were located in Cairo,
London and a flight operations office was set up in Lisbon. The airline was formed to run Inclusive Tour services to and from Egypt on a provisional Egyptian AOC, at the time the airline was set up the company was the largest inclusive tour companies in North Africa and possibly all of Africa. Aircraft were leased from/via F B Ayer & Associates, New York, though I have not printed evidence of this it would make sense that PAT approached FBA to locate a small fleet of similar-model Boeing 707s as FBA were the experts in this field at the time.
The Egyptian connection
Initially services were operated between Africa and Europe, though I have not details of these flights, if between June and September 1975. Some reports state that Boeing 707-321 N711UT was leased to Perfect Air Tours, this I doubt as this aircraft was not registered N711UT till January 1976, just days before Perfect Air Tours wound-up operations. Previously N711UT was N723PA with Concare Aircraft Leasing, in 1975 she operated around Africa, and in particular Swaziland, wearing a globe logo and titles reading ‘Afric...’ (full name could not be identified).
The Luanda connection
On 10th September 1975 N702PT flew Stansted-Ostend-Lisbon at the commencement of a series of airlift flights between Luanda, Angola and Nova Lisboa (Huambo) to Lisbon, Portugal. Flights were conducted for the Portuguese Government as a result of the civil war in Angola which was creating large numbers of refugees. At about the same time, on 23rd October PAT acquired Boeing 707-321 N714FC (17259) from Falcon Owning Company Inc., Teterboro, NJ. Six days later PAT requested a registration number change to N714PT, a confusing time ensued whereby the aircraft was seen at Miami in full PAT colours (though different than N702PT) as N714 on the 30th October, N714PT on 31st October and N714FC again on 2nd November! Maybe N714PT was applied for publicity photos, perhaps the allocation was cancelled by the FAA? N714FC was the registration worn by this aircraft for the rest of it’s life. On 3rd November she flew Miami-Nassau-Stansted (some reports state as N714PT and that N714FC was applied at Stansted on 6th November, though the FAA have no record of this).
Both N702PT and N714FC were seen at Stansted together on the 7th December 1975, N702PT had lost the sun logo on the tail which had been replaced by a version of the PTA (sic) logo and Perfect Air Tours titles in pale blue. Both aircraft operated Hadj flights between Kano and Jeddah from the end of 1975 till January 1976, probably for Nigeria Airways, they may have been joined by Boeing 707-321 N731JP which was reportedly leased to Perfect Air Tours from Jet Power Inc from December 1975 till February 1976 (though I doubt this information, I think this aircraft was operating for Quisqueyana at the time).
The end of N702PT
N702PT made her last flight on 16th January when she arrived at Stansted and was withdrawn from use, by 25th January 1976 N714FC was also withdrawn from use at Stansted, her arrival date is unknown.
N702PT languished at Stansted until September 1979 when she was slowly dismantled for parts, the final parts being trucked away by April 1980. Jet Power Inc. of Miami acquired the aircraft from Perfect Air Tours, but unfortunately the FAA have no dates for this sale, in April 1980 Jet Power requested that the registration be cancelled as the aircraft had been dismantled. The registration was finally cancelled by the FAA on 21st May 1982 but as the Bill of Sale from Perfect Air Tours to Jet Power was not declared, the final owner was recorded to be Perfect Air Tours.
A new life with Aeroamerica
N714FC’s fate was slightly better. She was flown out of Stansted on the 25th July 1978 to Karachi with Aeroamerica titles on lease to Pakistan International. The Bill of Sale between Perfect Air Tours and Aeroamerica was dated 31st May 1979, so she may have been initially leased to Aeroamerica, or it maybe that the official documents were provided late to the FAA with incorrect dates added.
Either way the registration was cancelled by the FAA on 22nd September 1982 by the FAA, showing the last registered owner (incorrectly) being Perfect Air Tours Inc, Miami, FL.
Over and out
Perfect Air Tours at most operated in their own right for 3 months maximum then for a few weeks on Hadj services before flying ceased. Like many family business associations, difficulties developed, the brothers had a falling out. The Chief
Pilot migrated to Sudan Airways and Saudi Arabian, and others to TMA, Singapore Airlines and Air Malta. Stories have it that the Chief Pilot was quite a character, and had many Hollywood and sports car racing connections, he was even ‘Rookie of the
Year’ in 1965 with the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA).
Sad to say that the airline never resumed operations, though a Trans America Airlines DC8-60 was chartered in 1978 to operate Hadj services.
The cockpit of N714FC is preserved at the New England Air Museum.
Photo credit: David Oates, Juhan Sipila, Barry Friend, Andy Pope, Willi Pokall, Dan Vincent and Derek Gaynor.