TSA History

The company, called TSA for short, was founded in Stockholm in 1951. For two years the activities consisted of transporting newspapers between Stockholm and the south of Sweden.

It all began with newspaper transports

Shortly after the foundation, however, the company became aware of the great opportunities presented by the growing stream of tourists travelling abroad for their holidays.

And so a new phase of activity began in 1953 with the purchase of two Douglas DC-3:s for passenger charter flights. The success of this new venture led to the acquisition of another DC-3 in 1955, and the fleet of aircraft was further increased in 1957, when TSA bought three Curtiss Super 46 C, thereby expanding the carrying capacity by about 200%.

Douglas DC-3

Although passenger flights now by far outweighed the carrying of freight, it might be worth mentioning that in 1959 TSA transported about 2.000 tons of goods against 500 tons two years previously.

The first aircraft of its type delivered to Transair was Curtiss C-46 SE-CFA. It is seen here parked outside the terminal at Bromma Airport in Stockholm.

In 1958 a new issue brought TSA:s share capital from its previous value in Swedish currency equal to dollars 6.000 – up to dollars 600.000. The company in 1959 employed 240 people, and had a turnover in the financial year 1958/59 of dollars 3.500.000.

TSA continued to grow and acquired in 1960 three Douglas DC 6 from SAS, bringing the fleet up to 2 DC-3, 5 Super Curtiss C-46 and 3 DC-6.

Picture from the ramp at Bulltofta airport in Malmö. The newly delivered Curtiss C-46 is parked at the ramp with SE-CFA standing in the middle with passenger boarding.

Until this time the company had been operating from Bromma Airport, Stockholm. However, for many reasons, it was found desirable and advantageous to move the base to the southern part of Sweden, and in 1960 the company moved to Malmö, where the new base was established at Bulltofta Airport.

With the Douglas DC-6 forming the backbone of the fleet, TSA could now undertake flights on a world wide basis, and the first world tour made by a TSA-plane, chartered by a group of passengers, took place in 1960. In addition to the largest Swedish travel organizers, the company was now glad to welcome many important customers from abroad.

TSA was asked by the UN to assist with air transports in the Congo. Two Super Curtiss C-46 with crews and technical staff were chartered by the UN in 1960 and later the company was also requested to supply a DC-6. Since then, and until the UN operations in the Congo terminated, TSA has had equipment and personnel permanently stationed in the Congo and has operated with as many as six Curtiss C-46, two DC-6 and a staff of 50 based in Leopoldville.

One of the aircraft used in Congo, SE-EDS is seen here on Bulltofta when it was back in Malmö for maintenance.

As time went on the demands on carrying capacity were ever increasing and in 1961 the company bought another four DC-6B:s.

The new Transair hangar at Bulltofta with DC-6B SE-BDG parked outside

At a cost of about 1 million dollars, TSA built a hangar with attached component overhaul shops in Malmö, making it possible to do most of the servicing of the aeroplanes in TSA:s own management. The hangar was inagurated in june 1963.

Developments in 1962 and 1963 were highly favourable. When the UN late 1963 handed over management to the Congolese authorities, Transair was asked to place staff and aircraft in the Congo at their disposal.

In 1963 the company purchased two more DC-6B:s bringing the fleet of aircraft up to six Douglas DC-6B, three Douglas DC-6, ten Curtiss C-46 and a single DC-3.

In 1964 the number of people employed by the company was in excess of 600 and the turnover was 13 million dollars. Late 1964 TSA made a trade-in of the DC-6/6B fleet of nine planes against eleven ex. Eastern Airlines DC-7B aircraft.

One of the ex. Eastern aircraft bought from USA is seen here during take off from Transair home base at Malmö Bulltofta airport.

Apart from bringing a standardized 4-engine fleet, the trade-in also increased the passenger-carrying capacity by 30 % and reduced the flying time to all ports of call. This would enable TSA to provide better service at an even lower price and strengthen the position as the biggest charter-flight company in Europe.

Simon Spies and his girls arrive to Transair Office to sign a new contract. To the right is Bertram Sundberg, head of Transair Public Relations.

Transairs CEO Anders Ericsson is seen here together with Simon Spies after signing a new contract.

With the construction of medium size and range jet airplanes as the Boeing 727 with moderate runway requirements, the aircraft manufacturers have made available to charter airlines a business tool which outmatches the piston powered equipment.

With this fact in mind TSA found it advisable and necessary to re-equip its fleet to include Boeing 727-100 aircraft which gradually will replace the DC-7B equipment.

The decision to buy new Boeing 727-100 aircrafts was made at the same time as one tried to sell of the prop-fleet. A great part of the remaining Curtiss-airplanes were sold to the Brazilian company Paraense. However it turned out to be more difficult, if not to say impossible, to sell the DC-7B fleet. Instead these airplanes continued in service for some time and the last flight was made 31 October 1969 with SE-ERL.

SE-DDA was one of four Boeing 727 used by TSA and is seen here during takeoff over the Transair hangar at Bulltofta Airport in Malmö.

The first new Boeing 727 was delivered in November 1967, followed two weeks later by aircraft number two. It then took until September 1968 until the next aircraft, SE-DDC, arrived to Malmö. This aircraft was of the “convertible”-type. As such it was equipped with a large door for cargo. The same year started a co-operation with Scanair, SAS’s charter company at the time. Through several agreements Transair became a partner to SAS. The airplanes were now owned by another party but Transair was obligated to care for maintenance. An agreement valid for 14 years were signed by the two parties with an option to cancel the agreement after half the time. This option was used by SAS in 1974.

Before the agreement was cancelled Transair had 1972 moved their home base to the newly opened Sturup Airport outside Malmö.

The new Transair hangar at Malmö-Sturup Airport with B 727 SE-DDA seen parked outside.

After the cancellation of the agreement a pressure was built up towards SAS from politicians and unions demanding a better solution. This led SAS to buy Transair which hereafter came to operate as a subsidiary company to SAS.

Even if the company procured another Boeing 727 from Lufthansa as late as February 1979 the destiny of the company was sealed.

Despite different attempts during the final years to lease out one of the aircrafts to Central Airlines in Nigeria, another to Air Madeira and one to Transadria in Yugoslavia, Transair was finally ending in the fall of 1981.

The last flight with Transair went from Narsarsuaq on Greenland to Copenhagen and thereafter as a ferry flight to Malmö. The last charter flight went at the same time with SE-DDA from Malmö to Rhodes and back to Malmö.

September 1981 at Malmö-Sturup Airport.
The crew from the very last Transair-flight
(MMX-CPH-KEF-UAK-KEF-CPH-MMX) after landing.
The flower was a gift from the Keflavik Airport.

A thirty year old epoch had come to an end, a company which started the “charter boom” and for a long time was the largest charter air service-company in Europe, did no longer exist as a flight operator……..but is still in dear memory of many satisfied passengers, not to mention what it meant to all the people working for Transair during those years.