View Full Version : Aberdeen Airways/Air Ecosse/Business Air

23rd Jan 2008, 15:51
I have looked on the net, but cannot find an answer.

Was there a direct link between Air Ecosse - Aberdeen Airways - Business Air, then bmi Regional?

Or were they all seperate unrelated companies?:confused:

throw a dyce
23rd Jan 2008, 15:59
I think Air Ecosse became Business Air then became BMI regional.Aberdeen Airways was a different company,but I'm not sure if they disappeared or became something else.

23rd Jan 2008, 16:13
Air Ecosse an individual company performing regional routes and night time freight for the post office, demised early 80s. operate variety of a/c including SD330's, Bandeirantes

Aberdeen airways was previously known as Perigrine Airways, one route flown was ABZ to HUY, operated Cessna Conquests, Jetstream 31 and I belive Gulfstream I's. Fasiled early 90s

Business Air was seperate company, but believe took over some of the routes flown by Air Ecosse / Aberdeen Aw previously.

Hope this helps

23rd Jan 2008, 16:16
I thought Business air became British Midland Commuter & had vanished before the name change to BMI? I have a photograph somewhere of a Business Air Saab in the British Midland "Diamond" colour scheme.

Buster the Bear
23rd Jan 2008, 17:54
Abredeen Airways, I think I remember HS748s operating for them (or was that Highland)?

Air Ecosse, part of Fairflight? (Again from a fading memory). Their Bandits were regular night time visitors at Luton on the Data Post runs, G-POST?

I visited Aberdeen during the late 1970's and Ecosse had quite a large fleet with their H.Q. over the far side of the airfield.


Richard Taylor
23rd Jan 2008, 18:23
Air Ecosse: loads of Bandits, I think they had a Twotter, SD330, SD360
Peregrine: C404, B200, JS31 (first operators of?), GLF1 - I'm sure in the mid 80s Peregrine had, or had use of, a Learjet.
Aberdeen Airways: I think was the scheduled arm? of Peregrine, memory bit hazy now! Had the GLF1s BMPA. BNCE, BRWN (one more?) & brought in 748s also - I recall BFLL (Limping Lil I think someone termed it, Danair days!!) & one or two more. Went belly-up 1991-ish.

Mod Kit
23rd Jan 2008, 19:30
I think Jerbourg is right. From what I remember Business Air became British Midland Commuter. British Midland Commuter were rebranded to British Midland Regional (on SAAB A340's (correct me if I am wrong)).

British Midland then spent millions and some bright spark thought up bmi - I would have only asked £100:)!!

British Midland Regional became bmi regional who really came into their own sometime in 2003 with their own Air Operators Certificate.

If I got this totally wrong then please enjoy the laugh at my expense - I will.:}

23rd Jan 2008, 20:56
Ah! Peregrine! Many a pleasant jaunt to and from ABZ on the G1, full free cabin service, courtesy of BP (I don't think they ever knew).

Peregrine ended up merging with Air Ecosse/Fairflight, I'm sure Aberdeen Airways had an input somewhere but I'm not sure what it was.

Again, I'm sure that Buisness Air were absorbed by BMI.

bmi expat
23rd Jan 2008, 21:12
bmi regional has always had it's own AOC, originally from when it was Business Air.

eastern wiseguy
23rd Jan 2008, 22:05
I recall BFLL (Limping Lil I think someone termed it, Danair days!!)

LL even meant Langford Lodge..also from it's Danair days!:}:}

24th Jan 2008, 20:13
With regards Air Ecosse, the remains were purchased by Peregrine/Aberdeen Airways in the mid to late 80's, however Aberdeen Airways eventually went bust, in the early 90's.

The only link between Aberdeen Airways and Business Air was that Business Air picked up a few routes and night mails and a few staff when Aberdeen Airways went bust. Several of the Aberdeen Airways staff still work with bmi regional today.

Business Air itself has an interesting history. Although it's origins came about in the very early 80's, it was Ian Woodley and Graham Ross (with a few other individuals) who 'bought' the operation in 1987 and turned it into an schedule airline, that was eventually purchased by British Midland in April 1996. Over the next five years it went through a couple of identity and organisational changes to appear as bmi regional in 2001.

Despite all these changes, bmi regional still has a number of staff from the early days of Business Air, one of whom is now the MD of bmi regional.

One last point is that Business Air/bmi regional has always held its own AOC.

Mister Geezer
24th Jan 2008, 20:21
What happened to Ian Woodley? From vague memory didn't he get involved with what was then Manx? Wasn't there a group called 'Airlines of Britain' which he was involved with?

Graham Ross was/is with Eastern. Commercial director for Scotland or something along the lines of that - I think! Nice guy but quiet - nervous flyer from memory :) !

24th Jan 2008, 22:16
My creaking memory from the early 1990s recalls Aberdeen Airways operating from EMA to EDI & ABZ with a couple of old 748 Series one ex-Dan Dare and some even older G1s. At the time they and Air Ecosse, which I dont think was operating, were owned by Ali Ghandour, former Chmn of RJA then resident in the South of France, who also later owned Air Bretagne, possibly with the same G1.s. I recall a CAA Licence Hearing in the days when they had such things, when the lawyers for Aberdeen AW and BMA and possibly Business Air argued the toss over who should operate said routes. It was I think the decision to allow a free-for-all that sent Aberdeen AW down the Swanee. At some stage Air Ecosse had been in the hands of Air Group International led by one Gabriel Echeverria, who had regional airlines elsewhere, including in Colombia where he hailed from.
Can't remember what happened today though.

25th Jan 2008, 15:27
Does anyone remember Inter City?

They were around in the early / mid 1980s and flew a SD3-30 every morning from East Midlands to Edinburgh and then onto Aberdeen, where the aircraft would day stop prior to returning to East Midlands in the evening.

Following the airline’s collapse, the route was taken over by Air Ecosse, who maintained the schedule, albeit upgrading it eventually to a 360. As well as the East Midlands service, they also had an Aberdeen – Prestwick – Belfast flight which, I think, connected with the Northwest Orient flights to Boston from Prestwick and was operated by Bandeirante and a rather spectacular Dundee – Carlisle – Heathrow service which was a twice daily 360 operation. It must have been quite a journey all the way from Scotland to Heathrow in the shoebox!

After a couple of years on the East Midlands route it was extended to include Wick, making EMA one of the few English airports to ever have a service that far north. And a Cessna Titan was also used for a service which originated in Aberdeen and daystopped at East Midlands. Although it was an Air Ecosse service, it was operated on their behalf by someone else - was it Hawk Aviation (who also did some crew flights for Orion)?

I'n not sure what happened next regarding the links between the airlines operating the routes, but following Air Ecosse’s demise, Peregrine took over the service, using Gulfstream 1s, and eventually upgrading, as others have noted, to the 748. Then as others have said, Aberdeen Airways took over but they didn’t last long.

Once Aberdeen had failed, Business Air took over, using the Saab 340. And eventually they ended up operating a Saab exclusively for British Midland (to Brussels?) and the rest as they say is history.

Everytime I see a BMI Baby 737 en route to Edinburgh I often think of the airlines that have plied the route in the past, and how many more passengers they must be carrying compared to the trusty old Shorts!

25th Jan 2008, 22:53
Always thought the Bandeirante looked great in Air Ecosse's red, white and gold paint job, but a bit of Air Ecosse lived on in another form after they stopped operating their own aircraft. Some of the ex-Air Ecosse staff moved from ABZ down to GLA to join Malinair in 1986. Malinair then began operating the old Air Ecosse ABZ-GLA-BFS service somehow using Ecosse's route licence and WG flight numbers with Dornier 228s or BN2 Islanders and even the odd leased in Aztec - bit different to the orange A319s on GLA-BFS now!

Mod Kit
25th Jan 2008, 23:00
Quote: One last point is that Business Air/bmi regional has always held its own AOC.

Not meaning to cause confusion with my statement from earlier:O

When bmi regional started flying (bmi regional as a trading name under British Midland Airways Ltd) they got their own AOC, in other words, did not utilise the previous AOC held by Business Air etc. when they started flying out of ABZ in early 2003.

They seem to be doing well and expanding with more planes and route selection - unless you chaps know otherwise...

26th Jan 2008, 07:34
Weren't 'Inter City' the scheduled arm of Alidair and the 330's an attempt to move them out of the Viscount-era??

Apologies for the thread creep...:):)

27th Jan 2008, 20:53
http://www.airliners.net/open.file?id=1129575 (http://www.airliners.net/open.file?id=1129575)
http://www.airliners.net/open.file?id=0239699 (http://www.airliners.net/open.file?id=0239699)

Flew Air Ecosse GLA/ABZ late '80s (sure flight originated DUB not BFS)
Also Aberdeen Airways EDI/ABZ/EDI early '90s (part ABZ/EMA route)
I may be wrong, but I'm almost certain both airlines had 'SM' code.

28th Jan 2008, 13:07
I remember Air Ecosse from the late 70's - 78 or 79 when they started their first schedule service Aberdeen - Wick (can't recall if it then went on up to Sumburgh; or Kirkwall?). Servisair provided support in Wick until Air Ecosse staff were trained and could handle themselves.

The service was often flown by Reg Mulligan(?) who, along with his brother, Paul (a right reprobate!) were the main men as far as I recall. My memory also thinks that Air Ecosse was a subsiduary of Fairflight and that there was a father Mulligan in the background within Fairflight. Another Air Ecosse name from that time was Colin Pollard, a young sales guy who thought frequency would solve everythin; he went onto be Commercial Director of Gill Air but no idea what happened to him after that.

happy days....

28th Jan 2008, 19:25
I remember flying from ABZ to Belfast via Glasgow in the mid 80's with Air Ecosse. It was a small 9 seater with one pilot flying it. I got to sit in the First officers seat from ABZ-GLA and my bro got to sit in the FO's seat GLA-BFS. It was great for a 11 yo:ok:


28th Jan 2008, 20:07
Business Air used to fly Belfast-Manchester with the saab 340, although it didn't last long from what I read. G-GNTZ is the registration on the photo I have, mind you I think I saw that same reg on a Logonair saab 340 recently. Thieir flight numbers started with II and looking back in the timetables I have they had about 4 a day on this route

Another one from years back was Air Belfast who used to have a 1-11 flying from Belfast to London Stansted in about the same period. Didn't last long either. Their flight numbers started with 7L

Hope this helps

Richard Taylor
28th Jan 2008, 20:15
G-GNTZ I seem to recall adorned a Business Air 146 that flew FRA-LCY - "Bank Shuttle" I think they called it.

28th Jan 2008, 20:22
G-GNTZ is a BAe 146 ex BA (now Flybe) Going by Airliners.net Photos:}


28th Jan 2008, 21:13
I think you are spot on.
Air Ecosee was a customer of the dept. I worked for and Colin Pollard was who I interfaced with.
If I recall correctly the brothers were both flying for BA at the time ( Tristars?) which caused a little interesting situation.
They had offices on the othe side of ABZ apt next to Bcal helis.
I had a trip with Colin to WIC and after lunch rejoined the Bandit on its way back to ABZ.
They had a service to MAN which was popular with the boys from the rigs.
The lads preferred to be on their way ( to hell with the cost) rather than find themselves legless in the bar after 2/3 weeks on the wagon.

A Google of "Colin Pollard" Gill has a little info but "Colin Pollard" airline gives more recent info.

""We are very happy to add EUROCONTROL to our growing client portfolio," says WSI Aviation Account Manager, Colin Pollard. " 20/01/2006

29th Jan 2008, 17:13
Going back to the origins of this thread a Dundee farmer wanted to start a local airline to tap into the blossoming Scottish oil exploration business. R C had been operating Eastern Seaboard Air Sevices with an Aztec and was appointed Ops Director of the new McDonald Aviation based in Dundee (grass only then) and I became CP. The newly acquired Aztec was supplemented by the purchase of a fixed-gear Heron G-ANNO (which type I had time on) which was purchased from Fairflight, Biggin Hill where the higher echelons consisted of Fred Mulligan (Engineering and Boss) son Reg and Gordon Burdess (I think - 30 plus years ago!) both BA pilots. Paul Mulligan entered the picture later.
The new company commenced operations under Fairflight's AOC until it got its own and as a result had a Fairflight pilot "supervising" ; the first a recent ex-Hamster without I believe any Heron time! A certain amount of sniffing around for opportunities naturally occurred, as a result of which Fairflight moved into the oil scene based in ABZ. Paul entered the scene and the rest as they say......................
McDonald ended up with A R (later Britannia) G H (later SIA) (R going on to BCal and I to Dan) up front and G W (presently King of Excel I believe) then Colin Pollard (presently in the sandpit). Munim Choucha from Fairflight the Engneer (sadly RIP).
2 DC 3's (G-AMPO and G-AMRA) were bought with expansion in mind - one pilot became type-rated just as the owner-farmer decided to sell them on - and when his brother lost a huge amount of money selling cattle in the States he downsized to the Aztec and we all bailed out to the airlines.
The new guy piled a full pax load in a loaner Aztec into the hills at TLA on one engine and the company then folded.
In a different life (with Dan) on the 748 at ABZ I met up with Ian Woodley who was the Cargo Manager then. He moved onwards and upwards to the greater things mentioned in earlier posts.
Sumburgh, Alidair, Edinburgh Flying Servces - John Turnbull and his Aztec antics! Those were the days!

Midland 331
29th Jan 2008, 17:56
>LL even meant Langford Lodge..also from it's Danair days!

(post 10)

I bet it was a greaser.



13th Jan 2009, 10:46
Ecosse 330 flew east mids- edn - abz(were the crew day stopped)wick,(second crew) in the a.m and the reverse inthe evening in 1985/6;all the rest bis air ,perigrine. aberdeen airways. highland express,bmi baby,is a bit confusing.now!! something to check out over the dark nights ;abz had a good buzz to it then and the airport imformation girls were imfamous.ecosse also had a route bhx- dublin,and i remember a post run bfs -lut,last of the fun jobs? or may be it was bhx- crk, 23 years ago!!!BHX too ? may have even been charters

just read
Saliors, post ,aztec days in scotland were something else .did john turnbull, meet his end in a landrover tree accident,what happened to arthur ramsden of npd at paull/humberside,wish i had a tardis if only to go back and have a look.;although it did nt seem so at the time,when those janitol(spelling?petrol fueled jobs left nose) heaters [email protected]:eek:,over the north sea ;some of my best years,:)

13th Jan 2009, 12:40
I remember "Brown Air" G159s out of Leeds Also watched the vid FRA-LCY with the 146, with the FDC wearinf earpiece and lightweight boom headsets, when I got a j/s in that a/c we wore ear defending cans and a huge mic

13th Jan 2009, 13:37
opperated some of the old dans city link, after metropolitan.with shorts 330/ or 360 at the start.lots of names from there,

13th Jan 2009, 18:03
malinair ,glasgow lawyer frank cannon,and others,a fronting by dunncan mac intosh,what a man,long gone but always remembered,think they also went somewhere in the republic, hence the name,and the need for the 228, fast and short field,

13th Jan 2009, 19:46
I remember Air Ecosse with some affection from my time at EGPF....indeed, my last performance as an approach controller was to give an SRA to a "Hairy Socks" Bandeirante.

At one time I believe their were more than 20 E110s on the UK register. One night at Glasgow we managed to attract 15 of them, most of which seemed to be mail flights. A resident of Bearsden phoned up to complain that we seemed to be doing training in the middle of the night because he thought he`d seen the same aircraft pass over his house repeatedly.

Rhys Perraton
13th Jan 2009, 20:12
Hello Sailor......
My hazy memory recalls an ex Fish Head CP at McDonald Aviation in Dundee when I took Heron GANNO up there from Biggin. Now what would be his name...Roger something ? Colbrook ?
Also another partner/pilot, ex Crab I think.
I don't recall the Hamster. I do remember some fun and games with the Heron on the grass in the Scottish weather though, also some antics in a Dundee hotel. A certain amount of alcohol may have been involved.

14th Jan 2009, 10:11
I have two questions about Air Ecosse I wonder if someone could answer for me?

1. When and where to was the first Air Ecosse scheduled flight out of

2. Did they go into some kind of receivership in the early eighties and were
then revived to carry on?


14th Jan 2009, 11:13

Why not ask the man himself - I'm sure he'd be happy to help!
247 Jet - Pilot Career Center Airline Details (http://www.pilotcareercentre.com/JobResearchAirlineDetail.asp?AirlineID=1473)

I went to see him at ABZ in 1981 (and...nooo:=...I didn't get to see the boardroom!)


14th Jan 2009, 12:09

Many thanks for the link - I will drop him a line


14th Jan 2009, 12:45
There was another thread about Business Air not so long ago.


14th Jan 2009, 19:00
dave smiley,mark levy,dave kirk,ian berry,mrs(shelia) goodwin,cant remember her madien name,john frazer,
assistants maggy bruce , ray connelly ;any bells or different time;assuming those days were real.!!. asgaurd,.!!.norse myth?

14th Jan 2009, 20:17
Much2much...a lot of bells (C Thorburn, if memory serves)

Loki....Norse God of mischief making.

26th Jan 2009, 16:43
rhys perraton
would that be the same roger colbrook who i think went ;b cal,eva .amm and then ??;/?

27th Jan 2009, 14:07
Does anyone recall a pilot Ian Ray who I think used to fly with Air Ecosse or Hairy Chaos as I remember some folks would refer to them. The BanAids looked great in the Air Ecosse colours does anyone remember the main spar used to run through the passenger cabin midships and passengers often tripped over it?

Anyone recall a Twotter in green and white with the reg G-STUD?

22nd Nov 2019, 15:04
I started working life with Air Ecosse in 1979 in flight ops when they were based on the East Side of ABZ. After getting involved with scheduled ops ABZ-WIC and moving to the West Side fairly rapid expansion ensued with the inevitable consequences! After various failed attempts to get the company out of Administration, Peregrine eventually bought what was left, which by this time consisted of me, a couple of reservations staff and a few crew and changed the name to Aberdeen Airways. After a change of Managing Director, they decided to move Aberdeen Airways to EMA and a tie-up with Air Provance was planned. Aberdeen Airways eventually ceased trading! Some of the staff including myself, moved to Business Air in about 1990 ish, where I remained until they were taken over by British Midland.
There was no connection between Air Ecosse / Aberdeen Airways and Business Air other than a working one - They used to do the reservations for Business Air on the ABZ-DND-MAN route.

Scott Rennie