CANCELLING THE CONSTELLATION
Sir, - The appreciation of Capt W.H Gardner by F.P.L. (The Irish Times, December 24th) refers erroneously to MacBride and Costelloe cancelling the Constellation aircraft order after a few proving flights.
Aer Línte was due to start a transatlantic service on St Patrick's Day, 1948. Offices had been opened in New York and Boston. Five Constellation aircraft were purchased. Crews, including cabin staff, were trained and proving flights completed.
The planes were used by Aer Lingus for a short time on the Dublin-London run and I travelled in them.They were the most advanced and comfortable passenger planes in use at that time.
After the 1948 elections the Labour Party refused to join the coalition government until the proposed transatlantic service was cancelled. The reason: "Only rich people flew in airoplanes." The five Constellations were later sold. I should remember, as I was the first of the 200 staff of Aer Línte/Aer Lingus made redundant. As a section head I got £120. - Yours, etc.,