The One-Eleven was originally conceived by Hunting Aircraft and was subsequently developed by the British Aircraft Corporation when Hunting merged into BAC along with several other British aircraft manufacturers in 1960. The One-Eleven was aimed at replacing the role of the earlier turboprop-powered Vickers Viscount on short-range routes. The One-Eleven made it to market ahead of rivals such as the McDonnell Douglas DC-9, which gave it a temporary edge on the market.
The aircraft proved to be popular with domestic airlines and with various international operators; over half of the One-Eleven's sales at launch were to the largest and most lucrative market, the United States. The One-Eleven was one of the most successful British airliner designs and served until a widespread retirement in the 1990s, which was partly due to the introduction of aircraft noise restrictions in many European nations.
Design and DevelopmentEditIn the 1950s, although the pioneering de Havilland Comet jetliner had suffered multiple disasters in service, strong passenger demand for the qualities provided by jet propulsion had been demonstrated. Several aircraft manufacturers raced to release their own passenger jets, including those aimed at the short-haul market, such as the Sud Aviation Caravelle. In July 1956, British European Airways published a paper calling for a "second generation" jet airliner to operate beside their existing turboprop designs. This led to a variety of designs from all of the major players in the British aerospace industry. Hunting Aircraft started design studies on a jet-powered replacement for the successful Vickers Viscount, developing the 30-seat Hunting 107. Around the same time, Vickers started a similar development of a 140-seat development of its VC10 project, the VC11. Many other aviation firms had also produced their own designs.
In 1960 Hunting, under British government pressure, merged with Vickers-Armstrongs, Bristol, and English Electric to form the British Aircraft Company (BAC). The newly formed BAC decided that the Hunting project had merit, but that there would be little market for a 30-seat jet airliner. The design was reworked into the BAC 107, a 59-seat airliner powered by two 7,000 pounds-force (31 kN) Bristol Siddeley BS75 turbofan engines. BAC also continued development of the larger, 140-seat VC-11 development of the Vickers VC10 which it had inherited. Other competing internal projects, such as the Bristol Type 200, were quickly abandoned following the absorption of Hunting into BAC.
Market research showed that the 59-seat BAC 107 was still too small, and the design was again reworked in 1961, with passenger capacity growing to 80 seats, and the BS75s being discarded in favour of Rolls-Royce Speys. The revised design was redesignated the BAC 111 (later becoming known as the One-Eleven), with BAC abandoning the VC11 project to concentrate on the more promising One-Eleven. Unlike other contemporary British airliners such as the Hawker Siddeley Trident, the One-Eleven was not designed to specifically meet the needs of the state-owned British European Airways or British Overseas Airways Corporation, but on the needs of airlines around the world, and BAC expected that they could receive orders for as many as 400 aircraft.
On 9 May 1961 the One-Eleven was publicly launched when British United Airways (BUA) placed the first order for ten One-Eleven 200s. On 20 October Braniff International Airways in the United States ordered six. Mohawk Airlines sent representatives to Europe seeking out a new aircraft to bring them into the jet era, and on 24 July 1962 concluded an agreement for four One-Elevens. Other orders followed from Kuwait Airways for three, and Central African Airways for two. Braniff subsequently doubled their order to 12, while Aer Lingus ordered four. Western Airlines ordered ten aircraft but later cancelled. Bonanza Air Lines also ordered three One-Elevens in 1962 but was stopped by the U.S. Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), who claimed that subsidies would be needed to operate a jet on Bonanza's routes, an action which was claimed by some at the time to be protectionism. The CAB also stopped Frontier Airlines and Ozark Air Lines from ordering One-Elevens, although allowing Ozark to order the similar Douglas DC-9 and Frontier to order Boeing 727-100s. The CAB had also unsuccessfully tried to block Mohawk's orders.
In May 1963, BAC announced the One-Eleven 300 and 400. The new versions used the Mk. 511 version of the Spey with increased power, allowing more fuel upload and hence longer range. The difference between the 300 and 400 lay in their equipment and avionics, with the 400 intended for sales in the USA and thus equipped with US instruments. On 17 July 1963, American Airlines ordered 15 aircraft, bringing the order total to 60, plus options for 15 more. American Airlines eventually bought a total of 30 of the 400-series, making the airline the largest ever customer of One-Elevens.