Eastern Airways

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Eastern Airways
Eastern airways logo.svg
IATA ICAO Callsign
Operating bases
Fleet size21
Company sloganWhy fly any other way?
HeadquartersHumberside Airport
Kirmington, North Lincolnshire, England, United Kingdom
Key peopleRichard Lake (MD)
Brian Huxford (Chairman)

Air Kilroe Limited, trading as Eastern Airways, is a British airline whose head office is at Humberside Airport near the village of Kirmington, North Lincolnshire, England. It operates scheduled domestic and international services and private charter services.[2] Around 800,000 passengers a year are carried on the scheduled route network.[3]

It has crew bases at Newcastle Airport, Durham Tees Valley Airport, Humberside Airport, East Midlands Airport, Aberdeen Airport, Wick Airport, Southampton Airport and Orly Airport in France.[4] Air Kilroe Limited trading as Eastern Airways holds a United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority Type A Operating Licence, it is permitted to carry passengers, cargo and mail on aircraft with 20 or more seats.[5]


An Eastern Airways Jetstream 41 in old livery.

The airline started operations in December 1997 with a scheduled service between Humberside and Aberdeen following KLM's withdrawal from the route. In February 1999 it purchased Manchester based Air Kilroe, granting the company an Air Operator's Certificate and giving the airline a fleet of two BAe Jetstream 32 aircraft.

In 2002 the first J41 entered the Eastern fleet, the aircraft type which now forms the majority of the fleet. Twelve BAe Jetstream 41 aircraft and their associated routes were transferred from British Airways CitiExpress on 30 March 2003 giving Eastern a springboard into many regional UK airports which have now become aircraft bases.

In 2003 an Embraer 145 and 135 were wet leased from City Airline to compete on some longer routes, they were quickly replaced with Saab 2000 aircraft due to similar speed and lower fuel consumption.[citation needed] Since 2003 the company has acquired further Saab 2000 aircraft from Crossair and other European carriers and a number of additional Jetstream 41 aircraft from American regional carriers.

The airline was owned by Bryan Huxford (59%) and Richard Lake (41%).;[2] however, the Bristow Group, a large helicopter operator serving the offshore oil and gas industry in the UK, US and elsewhere, now has a 60% ownership stake in the airline.[6]

In 2006 Eastern Airways wet leased a Dornier 328 from Cirrus Airlines to operate a Newcastle to London City service; this was however withdrawn due to increasing charges at London City Airport.[citation needed]

Eastern Airways won the European Regions Airline Association Airline of the Year Gold Award for 2006/07.[7] Previously it had won the Airline of the Year Silver Award for 2003/04 and 2004/05;[8] the airline was awarded as runner-up for punctuality at UK airports in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 by Flight on Time, based on CAA statistics.[9]

Eastern Airways purchased a Jetstream 41 training simulator from the US, this is also used by other airlines for their own pilots' training, such as Yeti Airlines.[citation needed] Eastern acquired two more used Saab 2000 aircraft, to support both the new route to Stavanger and the booming 50-seat charter market – which is a major source of business for the airline.[citation needed]

As part of One North East's "Passionate People Passionate Places" campaign for North East England, Eastern Airways had a Jetstream 41 painted in promotional colours, it also featured in the 2007 Sunderland International Airshow. A Saab 2000 is also painted in a promotional 'Aberdeen City and Shire' colour scheme.

The airline closed its base at the Isle of Man in August 2009, discontinuing routes to Birmingham and Newcastle from the airport.[10]

In July 2010 the airline took delivery of an Embraer 135 with 37 seats and signed a lease on a second, thus adding jet aircraft to their fleet for the first time since the acquisition to replace their previously operated Embraer ERJ aircraft, they will be used mainly on charter services to central and Eastern Europe; however, they will also offer increased flexibility on the airlines scheduled services.[11]

Also in July 2010 the airline named one of their Jetstream 41 aircraft after the comedian Ken Dodd in celebration of the year anniversary of the start of scheduled services from Liverpool Airport and Dodd's support shown in the region.

In September 2010, it was announced that Eastern Airways had bought Air Southwest. However, Air Southwest ceased operations from Plymouth on 14 September 2011 and all remaining services from Newquay ceased on 30 September 2011.[12]

Eastern Airways was named "Best Passenger Charter Airline" in 2011, at the annual Excellence Awards ceremony of the Baltic Air Charter Association.[13]

In August 2012, Eastern Group purchased the 82% Manchester Airports Group stake in Humberside Airport.

In February 2014 the Bristow Group acquired a 60% interest in Eastern Airways and in 2018 acquired the remaining 40%; the airline continues to operate under the Eastern Airways brand.[14] Bristow also has a controlling interest in another regional airline which operates fixed wing regional jet and turboprop aircraft, being Airnorth which is based in Australia.

It was announced on 21 September 2017 that Eastern Airways would enter a franchise with Flybe, starting on 29 October 2017; the franchise will see all flights operated by Eastern Airways carry BE (Flybe) flight numbers.[15]

Corporate affairs[edit]

The head office is located at Schiphol House, on the property of Humberside Airport, in Kirmington, North Lincolnshire.[16][a]


Since 2008 Eastern Airways has been providing fixed wing services to and from Aberdeen Airport and Scatsta Airport in Shetland.

Two Eastern Saab 2000s in the new and old liveries

The flights are used to transport oil workers employed by the companies that make up the IAC consortium. Eastern Airways supply fixed wing operations on behalf of Bristow Helicopters. Bristow Helicopters are responsible for providing all air transportation and ground handling services under the terms of the IAC contract. In 2010, the contract with Bristow was extended to 2015. Eastern will continue to provide fixed wing services to Scatsta[17] In March 2017 they started operating PSO flights between Cardiff and Anglesey. From September 2017 Eastern Airways will also be operating flights for Flybe.[18]

Codeshare agreements[edit]

Eastern Airways has codeshare agreements with the following airlines (as of January 2015):


Current Fleet[edit]

Eastern Airways BAe Jetstream 41.

The Eastern Airways fleet consists of the following aircraft as of September 2018:[20]

Eastern Airways Fleet
Aircraft In Service Orders Passengers Notes
ATR 72-600 2 72 Both operate on behalf of Bristow Helicopters
BAe Jetstream 41 10 29
Embraer ERJ 145 2 50
Saab 2000 6 50
Total 20
An Eastern Airways Embraer ERJ-135

Since Eastern Airways is under a franchise agreement with Flybe its scheduled route network flights will also carry the BE flight code. Currently only one aircraft, G-MAJK (Jetstream 41) has the Flybe livery while many aircraft bear the Flybe logo at the front of the plane, next to the front door. Several of Eastern's planes are painted white with no livery.

In September 2017 Eastern received its first of two brand new ATR 72-600; the aircraft operate on the Aberdeen - Scatsta route on behalf of Bristow Helicopters for the majority of the time.

Historical fleet[edit]

Eastern Airways formerly operated the following turboprop aircraft:[21]


  • Gold Airline of the Year by European Regions Airline Association in October 2014.[22]


  1. ^ The Registered Office is at Redhill Aerodrome, Kings Mill Lane, Redhill, Surrey.


  1. ^ "IATA - Airline and Airport Code Search". iata.org. Retrieved 13 April 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Directory: World Airlines". Flight International. 3 April 2007. p. 75.
  3. ^ ERAA retrieved 12 May 2007 Archived 8 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ [1][permanent dead link]
  5. ^ Operating Licence Archived 11 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine. Caa.co.uk.
  6. ^ http://www.bristowgroup.com
  7. ^ European regions airline association. Eraa.org.
  8. ^ European regions airline association. Eraa.org.
  9. ^ 2008 Awards Archived 3 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine. Flightontime.Info.
  10. ^ Eastern Airways to withdraw routes. Iomtoday.co.im (5 August 2009).
  11. ^ http://www.easternairways.com/latest-news/jet-aircraft-added-to-eastern-airways-flee.html
  12. ^ BBC News – Air Southwest to cease Plymouth and Newquay flights. Bbc.co.uk (14 July 2011).
  13. ^ BACA awards 2011 Archived 19 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine. Baca.org.uk.
  14. ^ "Bristow Helicopters invests in Eastern Airways". 6 February 2014.
  15. ^ https://buyingbusinesstravel.com/news/2127724-eastern-airways-flights-sold-through-flybe
  16. ^ Home page. Eastern Airways. Retrieved on 29 December 2011. "Head Office Eastern Airways Schiphol House Humberside Airport Kirmington DN39 6YH"
  17. ^ IAC and Bristow partnership extended. Shephard.co.uk (1 November 2010).
  18. ^ http://www.easternairways.com/news/43/eastern-airways-and-flybe-to-form-an-alliance
  19. ^ http://www.easternairways.com/home/wideroe
  20. ^ "GINFO Search Results Summary, Eastern Airways". Civil Aviation Authority (United Kingdom). 31 October 2017. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
  21. ^ http://www.airliners.net, photos of Eastern Airways aircraft

External links[edit]

Media related to Eastern Airways at Wikimedia Commons