Wilson Airways

Wilson Airways, based in Nairobi, was one of the most colourful private airline companies operating in the colonies. It was formed by a lady named Mrs Florence Wilson in July 1929. This was shortly after she had flown from Nairobi to England in a Fokker Universal (VP-KAB). She realised the need to develop air transport in East Africa and had the capital to start it. The first aircraft flown was a DH60G Gipsy Moth (VP-KAC) and was based in Nairobi. The initial operations were charter work as there were only three airstrips in existence at that time. It provided mail and transportation to up-country settlements, also spotting herds of lions and elephants for hunting safaris.

Mrs. Wilson and her pilot, Captain M.C.P. Mostert, pioneered air links in East Africa, beginning in 1930 with a route survey from Nairobi to Johannesburg. The next year they carved a route across Africa, from Zanzibar to Dakar via the Belgian Congo, and by 1932 they were connecting with Imperial Airways flights into Nairobi with service to Mombasa. Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam.

Further aircraft were obtained and scheduled airmail services were introduced between Nairobi, Dar-es-Salaam and Kampala. By the outbreak of war in 1939, Wilson Airways had 15 aircraft including DH89A Dragon Rapides and Percival Vega Gulls. At this time all Wilson Airways aircraft were impressed into the Kenya Auxiliary Air Unit (KAAU) and the airline went into liquidation in 1940.