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Air Europe at NCL

Old 11th Oct 2020, 09:47
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Air Europe at NCL

Hi did AE have a based unit at NCL at any point? Ive seen pics of aircraft on the ground at NCL but cant see anything in regard to a programme. Thanks all!
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Old 11th Oct 2020, 09:58
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Originally Posted by anthbower1234 View Post
Hi did AE have a based unit at NCL at any point? Ive seen pics of aircraft on the ground at NCL but cant see anything in regard to a programme. Thanks all!
I love a bit of nostalgia especially around ncl but the answer is no (subject to the last point)

International leisure group (ILG) used Dan Air from NCL mainly. I think this dated back to the early 80ís at least when Airways Holidays used DA.

However, in 88 ILG introduced Florida from
many regional airports incl NCL. It was a great success and from one weekly flight there ended up
being a number of fortnightly flights too so the 757, appeared at least a couple of times each week in the summer.

the first sub-charter that I ever saw was AE733 G-BMTF operating a ski flight from ncl in 87 for Britannia (when they were still friends!). I think they sent another AE 733 the next week and there a pictures on flickrr of this. I think there may have a been a weekly 737-400 in 1989 but nothing significant.


However, as part of a wider move ILG tried to force danair out of business in 1990. The DA 737 -200 that ILG used completed the summer and then left. The winter being covered by Spanish airlines from TFS (no ACE or LPA in those days) and an AE F100 at weekends for the closer routes.

the plan was for Air UK leisure to operate from
ncl for ILG for summer 91 but ILG went bust that winter. Dan air returned the following summer with the biggest based IT programme they has ever had from ncl but sadly their days were numbered too!

A bit more drift but UKL only visited once a week in 91 instead of a based machine but provided a bit more variety than they did in summer 90, G-UKLA in Malaysian colours was based nearly every weekend in 1990 iirc.


Last edited by GBYAJ; 11th Oct 2020 at 12:10.
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Old 11th Oct 2020, 15:25
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Wow thank you! Awesome update
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Old 11th Oct 2020, 19:06
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To add to BJAY's excellent post the based Dan Air 734 based at NCL following AE's demise was G-TREN. The aircraft was ex AE. The 732 was planned to leave at the end of summer 90 as I completed a CFM conversion that autumn and operated out of BHX for the winter before returning to NCL at the start of summer 91
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Old 12th Oct 2020, 09:31
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12 years from start to end with AE , I often refer to "us" and "we". But, did we t r y to "force" DA out of business ? BA tried to "force" us out of business for ages. Thought DA were our mates. Many ex Dan started at the top in AE and after "we" crashed and burned, many got jobs with DA. But mucky old businessbelow decks eh ?

BJAY : fab post. "We" certainly were operating through NCL but never Based there. Shame, I would have put in for my regular summer posting request away from Gatters. Loved Jedburg and the Aeroclub . Aaaaaagh, gettin all misty eyed again .
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Old 12th Oct 2020, 12:46
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Looking at my AE logbooks, the first Newcastle I did was on April 27th 1980. We flew From Gatwick to Alicante, then on to Newcastle in B737/200 GBMSM. On the 28th we operated GBJFH from Newcastle - Palma - Manchester.
After 6 years on the B757 my first Newcastle - Bangor, Maine was on May 23rd 1989.
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Old 12th Oct 2020, 13:23
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Love these updates gents! The heydays at NCL
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Old 12th Oct 2020, 17:18
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Originally Posted by Gordomac View Post
12 years from start to end with AE , I often refer to "us" and "we". But, did we t r y to "force" DA out of business ? BA tried to "force" us out of business for ages. Thought DA were our mates. Many ex Dan started at the top in AE and after "we" crashed and burned, many got jobs with DA. But mucky old businessbelow decks eh ?

BJAY : fab post. "We" certainly were operating through NCL but never Based there. Shame, I would have put in for my regular summer posting request away from Gatters. Loved Jedburg and the Aeroclub . Aaaaaagh, gettin all misty eyed again .
i suppose such a sweeping statement could cause offence, so apologies!

I think though ILG did try to muddy Dan air in the press. Having used them for years and benefited from the cheaper rates on old aircraft they did announce that they wouldnít using Dan air anymore because of their old inefficient aircraft. Dan air responded by saying weíve offered ILG our most modern aircraft (presumably the 737-400ís) but they still wonít use us!

I think they may have tried to merge at the same time?

When push came to shove they were both in trouble in the early 90ís it just happened that Dan air had more assets (rather than leased aircraft) when the bank pulled the plug.

david James the company doctor brought in to save Dan air then started operating air Europe routes with New expensive leased aircraft just like AE had, mmmmmm (with hindsight!) no surprise really that didnít work out!!
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Old 13th Oct 2020, 05:24
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Originally Posted by Border Reiver View Post
To add to BJAY's excellent post the based Dan Air 734 based at NCL following AE's demise was G-TREN. The aircraft was ex AE. The 732 was planned to leave at the end of summer 90 as I completed a CFM conversion that autumn and operated out of BHX for the winter before returning to NCL at the start of summer 91

Border Reiver, sounds like you were a pilot for DA? Were you able to stay at NCL post-DA and any ideas what TREN stood for??? It was a totally out of sequence reg for DA but did look smart as one was the first without London in the titles.

NB if NCL hasnít had such a good viewing area in the 80ís and I didnít live within 🚴‍♀️ Distance Iíd never have visited and carried around all this trivia for years!

Last edited by GBYAJ; 13th Oct 2020 at 06:59.
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Old 13th Oct 2020, 07:10
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G-TREN

Originally Posted by GBYAJ View Post
post-DA and any ideas what TREN stood for??? It was a totally out of sequence reg for DA but did look smart as one was the first without London in the titles.
G-BRKG Del. 1990 to AE as a 737-4S3 but after AE's demise 3/91, ILFC leased it 4/91 to DA and re-regd as G-TREN
I cannot find any Ref as to why this Registration was sequenced. There seems to be no notable persons at Dan Air whom this could have recognised.

737-4S3's G-BKPA, PB and PE were all also obtained from AE at the same time, and became G-BGVM, VN and VO with Dan Air.

Dan Air's own brand new orders (via ILFC) for 737-3Q8 and 737-4Q8 were all due in 1993 but sadly Not Built.
737-4Q8 G-BUHK and HL
737-3Q8 G-BUHI and HJ

The Dan Air 737-300 and -400 fleets was entirely absorbed into British Airways, and some of them also flew for BA Franchise GB Airways.

As an aside Lloyds Bank were very negative to Dan Air who were struggling and Lloyds were advising ILG (AE) to take over Dan Air in 1991.
ILG had its own financial troubles with it's loans with Citibank and as it was no finance was forthcoming and AE went under within 24 hours on 8/3/91.
Although after AE's collapse many Tour Operators were looking for seats and uplift and Dan Air was well placed to take this work on, but the DA Board chose to ignore this and wanted to become an all-scheduled airline, in addition they were well placed to take over some of AE's prime scheduled routes.
The Financial industry had advised DA to gain vertical integration for quality charter flights with a large Tour Operator, or set up its own. Again this was ignored by the Board.
After AE's collapse summer bookings for Thomsons, Horizon and Airtours all soared by as much as 40%.
In May 1992 DA was LGW's largest resident & short haul operator there, with a good number of peak slots.
Despite this, Dan Air's Board strategy and thinking which could have made them into the No.1 scheduled carrier at LGW by choice was not driven, nor was the chance to rid the image of a cheap charter airline.
During 1992 there was much negotiations to save Dan Air all of which the history of can be found on the Dan Air website.

Of course, Gulf War 1 was in part a big player in both airline's woes...
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Old 13th Oct 2020, 08:24
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Originally Posted by rog747 View Post
G-BRKG Del. 1990 to AE as a 737-4S3 but after AE's demise 3/91, ILFC leased it 4/91 to DA and re-regd as G-TREN
I cannot find any Ref as to why this Registration was sequenced. There seems to be no notable persons at Dan Air whom this could have recognised.

737-4S3's G-BKPA, PB and PE were all also obtained from AE at the same time, and became G-BGVM, VN and VO with Dan Air.

Dan Air's own brand new orders (via ILFC) for 737-3Q8 and 737-4Q8 were all due in 1993 but sadly Not Built.
737-4Q8 G-BUHK and HL
737-3Q8 G-BUHI and HJ

The Dan Air 737-300 and -400 fleets was entirely absorbed into British Airways, and some of them also flew for BA Franchise GB Airways.

As an aside Lloyds Bank were very negative to Dan Air who were struggling and Lloyds were advising ILG (AE) to take over Dan Air in 1991.
ILG had its own financial troubles with it's loans with Citibank and as it was no finance was forthcoming and AE went under within 24 hours on 8/3/91.
Although after AE's collapse many Tour Operators were looking for seats and uplift and Dan Air was well placed to take this work on, but the DA Board chose to ignore this and wanted to become an all-scheduled airline, in addition they were well placed to take over some of AE's prime scheduled routes.
The Financial industry had advised DA to gain vertical integration for quality charter flights with a large Tour Operator, or set up its own. Again this was ignored by the Board.
After AE's collapse summer bookings for Thomsons, Horizon and Airtours all soared by as much as 40%.
In May 1992 DA was LGW's largest resident & short haul operator there, with a good number of peak slots.
Despite this, Dan Air's Board strategy and thinking which could have made them into the No.1 scheduled carrier at LGW by choice was not driven, nor was the chance to rid the image of a cheap charter airline.
During 1992 there was much negotiations to save Dan Air all of which the history of can be found on the Dan Air website.

Of course, Gulf War 1 was in part a big player in both airline's woes...
rog747 always enjoy your posts!
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Old 13th Oct 2020, 09:21
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Rog, agree with GBYAJ, always a worthy read. Don't want to creep the thread too much but with regard to "both airline's woes", on the AE side, a reasonable account is given in the book about AE, if you can get your hands on a copy. Noteworthy is the Editor's caveat concerning libel laws before commenting too much. Says it all. Mostly.

Last edited by Landflap; 13th Oct 2020 at 09:23. Reason: typo
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Old 13th Oct 2020, 11:06
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Originally Posted by brakedwell View Post
Looking at my AE logbooks, the first Newcastle I did was on April 27th 1980. We flew From Gatwick to Alicante, then on to Newcastle in B737/200 GBMSM. On the 28th we operated GBJFH from Newcastle - Palma - Manchester.
After 6 years on the B757 my first Newcastle - Bangor, Maine was on May 23rd 1989.
thanks, a bit before my time so really interesting too! Tried to get my parents on one of those 757 to MCO but they wouldnít go for it!
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Old 13th Oct 2020, 12:37
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Thanks for your kind comments - Probably since I joined the charter airline and package holiday industry in 1972 I have always had a close interest in the IT market, the charter airlines, and its origins and history.

Sadly I was working with operations & handling at LGW for AE, one of our main customers the morning they went bust, big shock, very sad - met many crews out at the aircraft at LGW and often flew with AE on staff travel to somewhere sunny and warm or went down route with them to sort out handling issues at outstations.

Intasun Holidays, was one of Dan Air's largest customers for seats 'pre AE'
What came next was Air Europe's undercutting of IT seat prices was that it first waited for all the other Tour operators to place their business with Dan-Air and only then placed its contracts, fitting in with whenever aircraft and crews were available. This meant that a lot of Intasun's business involved mid-week and night flying which meant cheaper holiday packages to sell. This, in turn, was a win-win for both operator and airline.
It enabled Intasun to charter aircraft at substantially lower rates than its competitors, who had to pay a premium for chartering planes at weekend peak times although it permitted Dan-Air to increase its fleet utilisation, thereby boosting the company's overall profitability at that time.
However, the high fuel consumption of Dan-Air's older fleet – Comets, 1-11's and 727's which at that time made up the bulk of its charter fleet against rising jet fuel prices made it more and more difficult to offer Intasun the seat rates at which it was prepared to contract its business to Dan-Air.
It was all fun and games.

Air Europe became a first rate charter airline, using brand new equipment from the outset and provided food and service that were reviewed to be comparable to scheduled carriers.
Attracting higher-margin business from the more upmarket tour operators Air Europe was often chosen, who then aimed to distance Air Europe from Intasun.

ILG wanted without incurring the additional expense of basing aircraft and crews at regional UK airports to operate seasonal flights only or, alternatively, incurring the cost of operating empty legs with aircraft repositioned from its two main bases, LGW & MAN.
This resulted in an arrangement whereby Air Europa's aircraft from Spain were flying German and Scandinavian holiday makers during the daytime, and Intasun's regional UK customers at night. Higher aircraft utilisation and lower direct operating costs for Air Europa were vastly superior compared with Thomson's Britannia Airways, then the UK's leading charter airline, and Air Europe's biggest competitor in the European charter market, this in turn again enabled Intasun to undercut Thomson's prices.

AE was one of the first airlines to see the benefit of seasonal aircraft swap-leases with the likes of Air Florida, and British Airways.
More fun & games....


ILG was a giant really - In-house tour operator Intasun was to become the UK's second-largest package tour operator (after the market leader Thomson)
plus the ILG airlines -
Air Europe (ceased 3/1991)
Air Europa SA (still flying, now part of IAG)
Air Europe Italy Spa (became part of the Volare Spa group, then bought by Alitalia, closed down in 2008.
Air Europe Express
(AEX was highly profitable to the end, bought out by previous Connectair management as Euroworld, then CityFlyer Express which in turn became a BA Franchise, then fully absorbed into BA mainline at LGW to eventually become BA Connect.
British Airways' sale of BA Connect to Flybe in 2007 did not include the LCY operations and fleet of RJ100 aircraft, so a decision was then made to resurrect the name CityFlyer Express, now BA CityFlyer)
plus the tie-up & stake with Norway Airlines to use their new 737's in AE colours for the LGW - Scandinavia routes.

Orders had been placed with MDD by AE as launch customer on six + 12 options for RR powered MD-11's. The airline intended to use these aircraft to operate a mix of long-haul charter and scheduled services, thereby helping sister company Intasun to reduce its dependence on third party suppliers to provide it with often poor quality long-haul capacity.
In addition to the MD-11 order, Air Europe had outstanding orders for an additional 22 Boeing 757-200s, eight Boeing 737-400s and eleven Fokker 100.
Air Europe furthermore had signed a MoU with Airbus for an order of 40 A320 for delivery between 1995 and 1998 with options on another 40 aircraft, with planned deliveries to November 2001.
The new Fokker 100 fleet which I thought were very nice a/c, the first pair came from a cancelled KLM order in 1989 on PH- registrations.

I know we strayed O/T in a way from AE Ops in NCL, but this answers some of the Q's made by posters on here.....
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Old 13th Oct 2020, 18:43
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Air Europe used Leeds Bradford fairly early on its existence. No based aircraft but I remember seeing the 732s on W-patterns from and to Barcelona in 1980, just a year after launch. I don't think Barcelona lasted that long but by the summer of 1982 AE was twice-weekly to Palma (Thursday and Sunday), almost always using BMHG and BJFH. In 1983 we saw an ex-Maersk 732, BKRO, practically every Sunday and sometimes one of the leased Air Florida 732s graced us.
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Old 13th Oct 2020, 19:39
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rog747 - Interesting stuff. but having worked for Servisair at MAN, this bit raised an eyebrow -

Air Europe became a first rate charter airline, using brand new equipment from the outset and provided food and service that were reviewed to be comparable to scheduled carriers.
When they dropped the unused meals in our crew room, they were the same crap as everybody else had....

When I was working them, the only difference between Britannia, Orion and Air Europe was the colours. May have been different on the scheds out of LGW

And just to drag the thread even further off topic, anybody know why DanAir were handled by BA at MAN in the early eighties? Only charter airline to use them...
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Old 14th Oct 2020, 06:45
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Teesside airport management somehow persuaded Air Europe to fly to Florida and Dominican Republic for a couple of seasons, very popular with the locals but for reasons unknown to me all dropped and not taken on by other tour company's when Air Europe closed.
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Old 14th Oct 2020, 07:50
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Rog747, have you thought about doing a book on British Airlines? I seem to recall Air Britain or MCP or someone published a book many many years ago about British Independent Airlines, no idea if it was ever updated...

Suspect that with a few tales and so on it might run to several volumes though!
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Old 14th Oct 2020, 12:05
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Originally Posted by SWBKCB View Post
rog747 - Interesting stuff. but having worked for Servisair at MAN, this bit raised an eyebrow -
When they dropped the unused meals in our crew room, they were the same crap as everybody else had....
When I was working them, the only difference between Britannia, Orion and Air Europe was the colours. May have been different on the scheds out of LGW
And just to drag the thread even further off topic, anybody know why Dan Air were handled by BA at MAN in the early eighties?
Only charter airline to use them...


I do agree later on in years there was not much to note on the quality of charter meals between AE BY KG OM KT and AIH, although IEA were very good - nice outfit.
I never in my life had a HTML on a DA flight!
When AMM started up (as when Flying Colours did much later on) their charter meals were really top notch.

The AE hot meal quality was much better with the more upmarket Tour Co's, certainly out of LGW.
Air Europe introduced a separate Premier Class cabin at the front on its charter flights between Gatwick and Funchal which were flown for an upmarket Co, plus also to Heraklion Palma, and Faro for Travel Club Upminster who had a posh clientele, served Superior meals with Royal Doulton china, as seen on the first AE Schedules to GIB & PMI.
Kuoni also went for this on their longer haul AE 757 charters to Egypt, Mombasa, Goa. Maldives & Thailand, keeping the front cabin separate with the middle seat empty.
Same leg room though.

Businessmen were very impressed with Dan Air's superb Class Elite service - DA could have cleaned up at LGW had they really thought about it taking on flying their prime routes seriously. Dan-Air did not take the opportunity to boost the profitability of its scheduled operation by concentrating on maximising revenues from high-yield travellers.

I did not know that DA was handled at MAN by BA.
Servisair was then very much the big player at MAN.
Gatwick Handling Ltd did further establish itself in 1988 at Manchester and Stansted to begin ground handling at those airports.
Dan Air (GHL) then sold off its profitable Manchester GH Co.in January 1992.

Dan Air was a large handling agent at LGW from the 1960's (Previously Airborne Aviation did handling at Gatwick) then in 1972 Dan Air formed Gatwick Handling Ltd
GHL would be 50-50 jointly owned with Laker Airways (Discussions of tying with Caledonian Airways had stalled in 1970)
In 1982 when GK went under, NW & DL jointly bought GK's 50% share.

BAA allowed just 3 ground handling licenses at Gatwick.
The others were -
BEA (BA from 1974) handled many 3rd party airlines - such as TWA, ONA, SAM, Braniff, Inex Adria, plus Britannia & Wardair who had come over from Dan Air.
BUA also handled many 3rd party airlines including Spantax, TIA, Pan Am.
Caledonian Airways who were handled by Dan Air until their merger in 1971 with BUA, were to become BCAL who carried on the BUA handling.

This was the state of play until 1988 when BCAL was merged with BA who then gave all of the Gatwick South Terminal 3rd party handling over to Ogden Allied Aviation.
BA went to the North Terminal.
GHL started handling also in the North Terminal.
Air Europe forever wanting to harm Dan Air, cancelled it's handling contract with GHL in 1988 and went with Servisair, as did Britannia.
Air Europe then went to Ogden Aviation until AE's demise.
I am not sure exactly when Servisair came to Gatwick, but they took over Ogden Allied by mid 1990's.

Finally in 1993 BA sold their GHL share in full to Delta and Northwest.
In 1998 all the GH Co's were sold to Go Ahead Group, who then merged GH in 2001 with Midland Airport Services, British Midland Handling Services, and Reed Aviation.
In 2003 all these became Aviance.

After then I had lost the plot with so many new names appearing in the Handling business - Plane Handling, Aviance, Swissport, Reed, Menzies, Dnata (who are these people>?)


Last edited by rog747; 14th Oct 2020 at 12:21.
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Old 14th Oct 2020, 12:21
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I thought the quality of catering on IT flights was largely dictated by the amount the tour operator wanted the carrier to spend on catering. I suppose though, that as tour operators and airlines became vertically integrated there were more opportunities to differentiate the catering product for both tour operator and airline.
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