Aviation Traders


   Aviation Traders (Engineering) Ltd.


Aviation Traders Ltd (ATL) was established by Frederick Alfred Laker (b. 6 August 1922 – d. 9 February 2006) at Bovingdon in Hertfordshire, in 1947 to trade in war-surplus aircraft and spares. Two years later, Laker shifted his fledgling business to new premises at Rochford aerodrome (later Southend Municipal Airport) near Southend-on-Sea, Essex.

ATL initially specialised in converting numerous war-surplus bombers and military transports into freighters. Aviation Traders (Engineering) Ltd, ATL's engineering division, was formally established in 1949 and in 1951 won a contract from Bristol Aircraft to manufacture wing centre sections for Bristol Freighters. With this, ATL grew into a large engineering and manufacturing organisation. ATL also became one of many post-war aircraft manufacturers seeking to develop a successor to the then ubiquitous Douglas DC-3. ATL's answer was the ATL-90 Accountant, which first flew on 9 July 1957. The Accountant was designed for 28 passengers but, competing against the Avro 748, Handley Page Dart Herald, Fokker Friendship and YS-11, proved unsuccessful.

In 1958 Laker announced his decision to sell both ATL and Air Charter to Airwork, the deal becoming effective in January 1959, when both companies joined the Airwork group. Subsequent conversion work proved more successful. Some Avro Tudor airliners were fitted with large freight doors to carry cargo for Air Charter Ltd (one of ATL's sister companies) as Supertraders. Twenty-one Douglas DC-4 airliners were converted into car ferries as the ATL-98 Carvair, the prototype conversion first flying on 21 June 1961. Initially, it was thought that second-hand, pressurised DC-6 and DC-7 airframes could be converted into larger, "second generation" Carvairs within 15 years of the original DC-4-based Carvair's entry into service, but this failed to materialise.

Aviation Traders remained under Airwork in the Air Holdings group until 1976, when the company moved to Stansted and AT(E)L had become Britavia. In 1990, Britavia and Airwork design offices were amalgamated to become the Britavia devision of Airwork and the company finally disappeared in 1993 when Airwork was acquired by Short Brothers.

The Aviation Traders name was revived in 1996 when it became a separate company and still exists today as an aircraft design engineering consultants based at Bournmouth Airport.

Company References
  1. The Flight of the Accountant: a Romance of Air and Credit, Flight to Insolvency P. Armstrong (University of Leicester, 2005), available from:
  2. The ATL-98 Carvair, William Patrick Dean (McFarland & Company, 2008)

Project Data top

Project No
Type No
Alternative Name(s)
Spec (Reequirement)
   A.T.L.8X          Prdn  30  Construction of wing centre sections for Bristol 170   See Bristol 170
   A.T.L.90  Accountant   1957    Proto    2E medium range airliner  1,4,5,9,12,13,16,17
   A.T.L.91  Auditor        Proj  0  2S tricycle u/c trainer  (3)
   A.T.L.92  Accountant Military      (OR.323)  Proj  0  Military development of A.T.L.90  (3)
   A.T.L.93  Accountant Military      (OR.323)  Proj  0  Military development of A.T.L.90  (3)
   A.T.L.94  Not Used              
   A.T.L.95  Accountant II        Proj  0  42 pass. development of A.T.L.90  (3)
   A.T.L.95  (See Note 1)      (OR.323)  Proj  0  Double deck development of A.T.L.90  2,15
   A.T.L.96          Proj  0  Swing nose freighter dev. of A.T.L.90  3
   A.T.L.97  Not Used              
   A.T.L.98  Carvair   1961    Prdn    4E passenger / car transport  1,3,6,7,8,10,11,14,17
  A.T.L.98-7  Carvair 7        Proj  0  Carvair variants of DC6 and DC7  2
   A.T.L.99          Prdn  (4?)  Britannia "Combined Passenger Freighter" conversion   See Bristol Brittania
     Freighter        Proj  0  Bristol 170 replacement study  2

  1. Type number A.T.L.95, originally used for Accountant II, was reused for double deck Accountant development.

Project References
  1. British Civil Aircraft Since 1919, Vol 1, A.J. Jackson (Putnam, 1973)
  2. Stuck On The Drawing Board, Richard Payne (Tempus Publishing Ltd., 2004)
  3. The ATL-98 Carvair, William Patrick Dean (McFarland & Co, 2008)
  4. Aviation World, 2006/1 (Air-Britain Publications)
  5. Air Enthusiast Quarterly 111
  6. Air International, Dec 1995
  7. Air Pictorial Mar 1982
  8. Aircraft Illustrated Jul 1971
  9. Aircraft Illustrated Jun 1973
  10. Aircraft Illustrated Oct 1979
  11. Aviation News Vol 8/21
  12. Flight 05 Jul 1956
  13. Flight 01 Nov 1957
  14. http://www.geocities.com/anjapaul/ - No longer active
  15. On Atlas' Shoulders - RAF Transport Projects Since 1945, Chris Gibson (Hikoki Publications, 2016
  16. The Flight of the Accountant: a Romance of Air and Credit, P. Armstrong (University of Leicester, 2005), available from:
  17. Classic Airliners, Tom Singfield (Midland, 2000)
  18. Propliner No. 78

Production Summary top
Select the Prdn_List button to go to the appropriate listings page.

Note: In the Production Summary, conversions are only listed where they result in a change from one Type to another. Changes to sub-type or Mark Number are not shown in the summary. For details of these, see the individual listings.


Type No
Qty (New)
Qty (Conv.)
 ATL.98  Carvair

Total Aviation Traders Production (New)
Total Aviation Traders Production (Conversions)

<<Previous     top     Next>>

V1.4.4 Created by Roger Moss. Last updated August 2020