The History of Nicosia Airport

The Four Tridents

Cyprus Airways took delivery of two Trident-2E jets (5B-DAA and 5B-DAB) in September 1969 and May 1970 respectively.



Trident 5B-DAA at London Heathrow in May 1971
The copyright image is displayed with the kind permission of Trevor Davies and the ABPic website




Trident 5B-DAB at Manchester Airport in July 1973
The copyright image is displayed with the kind permission of Ken Fielding

On the 15th March 1972 Trident 5B-DAA lost its starboard undercarriage when it undershot the runway during a training flight at its Nicosia base.



Images of the runway undershoot......click the image or this link for a larger version

After extensive repairs lasting seven months and repainting in BEA colours, the aircraft was ferried back to Heathrow.
It is interesting to note that pilots of the former 5B-DAA reported that it flew, "one wing, slightly down".
Legend has it that this aircraft performed better than any other Trident in the BEA/BA fleet!
This Trident was finally scrapped at Southend Airport in February 1985.



The repairs being carried out to 5B-DAA and the repainted and re-registered Trident (now G-AZXM) leaves Cyprus on the 18th October 1972.
Click the image or this link for a larger version (opens in a new window)
The above images are stills from a YouTube video posted by Les Rawlins


To supplement the Cyprus Airways fleet, 5B-DAA was replaced by another BEA Trident......G-AVFB which became 5B-DAC.



5B-DAC at Paris Airport-Le Bourget......date unknown

In March & April 1973, two additional Trident-1E aircraft (5B-DAD & 5B-DAE) were transferred to Cyprus Airways from British European Airways.



5B-DAD at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport and 5B-DAE at Nicosia International both pictured in 1973 (images Cyprus PIO)
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Thus, in 1974 there were four Trident jets in the Cyprus Airways fleet.......5B-DAB, 5B-DAC, 5B-DAD, 5B-DAE.
During the fighting at the airport in 1974, 5B-DAE was totally destroyed and 5B-DAB was badly damaged.



Cyprus Airways Trident 5B-DAE was destroyed in a Turkish airstrike

Two Tridents (5B-DAC and 5B-DAD) suffered only minor damage but remained stranded at the airport.

The first Trident to be able to leave Cyprus was Trident 5B-DAC. This was made airworthy by British Airways engineers and ferried to Heathrow in May 1977 and restored to its original British registration........G-AVFB.
Before re-entering service a Certificate of Airworthiness inspection was required and a nest complete with eggs was found in the fin. G-AVFB continued to fly with British Airways until being retired in March 1982.
The Trident was flown to the Duxford Air Museum and preserved there on the 13th June 1982.



Cyprus Airways 5B-DAC now registered as G-AVFB with its Cyprus Airways cheatline and BA tail colours.

The second stranded Cyprus Airways Trident (5B-DAD) also returned to the UK and joined the British Airways fleet as G-ASWU.
After only three additional years of service, G-ASWU was removed from the British Airways fleet in August 1980 and broken up in May 1981.



The remains of G-ASWU at the old BEA maintenance area at London Heathrow.
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The first image is displayed with the kind permission of Chris McKee


The much photographed Trident 5B-DAB has moved location on numerous occasions.
The engines had been removed and used in the repairs of 5B-DAC and 5B-DAD.
At some point, with all useable parts now stripped out, it was stored in the WW2 Bellman hanger under UN control.





Trident 5B-DAB stored inside the Bellman hanger........images courtesy of Robert McEwan

Robert McEwan reports that, in 1989, 5B-DAB was removed from the hanger to its current position. The Turks had threatened that if it was moved they would fire at it..........the British UN called their bluff and "we pulled it out".