Finally, and after much modification, the Britannia gained it's airworthiness certificate in 1955 with the first two deliveries to BOAC just before the end of the year. Although the Britannia was lauded for it's quietness and speed the Boeing 707 was only a couple of years away and potential customers decided to wait. Only eighty were sold to airlines.
Although its front line airline service was fairly brief (BOAC retired the type in 1965) it did survive in service for many years, an airline in the Democratic Republic of Congo continuing to use the Britannia on cargo flights into the early 1990s.
|Three views of former RAF Britannia XM497 at RAF Cosford|