AIR FOYLE LTD.
- AIR FOYLE LTD.
Air Foyle HeavyLift was established in February 2001 and started operations in October 2001. It was formed as a joint venture between Air Foyle (established on 3 May 1978) and HeavyLift Cargo Airlines (founded as TAC HeavyLift on 31 October 1978). The latter ceased operations in its own right, but the joint venture continued to operate successfully. The company was owned by Air Foyle (50%) and HC Holdings (50%). The company's Chairman and joint CEO was Christopher Foyle, also Chairman of Foyle's bookshop. Air Foyle started operations as an executive air charter company with one Piper Aztec aircraft in 1978. It grew its fleet of Aztec, Navajo and Chieftain aircraft by carrying passenger, cargo and aerial survey flights. In 1979 it pioneered the overnight carriage of courier traffic between the UK and Europe operating a nightly flight between Luton and Brussels for Skypak (later a TNT company). In 1985 it started providing larger cargo aircraft to TNT, by then its principal cargo customer, using wet leased Handley Page Dart Herald aircraft operating nightly from Birmingham to Nuremberg and Hannover and these were later replaced by a BAC One-Eleven jet cargo aircraft and then by a Boeing 737-200QC aircraft wet leased from Aer Lingus. When TNT announced that it would order 72 British Aerospace 146 aircraft converted to freighters, Air Foyle won the contract to operate these aircraft on behalf of TNT, then an Australian company. This operation commenced in May 1987 with one BAe 146 aircraft and rapidly expanded to ten such aircraft which Air Foyle then operated for thirteen years for TNT on a nightly schedule from various airports in the UK and mainland Europe into TNT's hub in Cologne and later Liège. In 1985 Air Foyle took delivery of the first production Edgley EA-7 Optica aerial observation aircraft. Subsequently while being operated by Hampshire Police this aircraft was tragically destroyed in a fatal accident. In 1994 Air Foyle won a contract to operate one Lockheed L-100 Hercules and one Ilyushin Il-76 aircraft on permanent 24/7 standby for Oil Spill Response Ltd, to provide immediate response on a worldwide basis in the event of a major oil spillage. Adopting the TNT aircraft management principle, Air Foyle and then its sister passenger airline Air Foyle Passenger Airlines operated a variety of aircraft including Boeing 737-200, 737-300, 727-200, Airbus A320 and A300 for a number of airline and virtual airline customers including EasyJet, Sunseeker, Sabre, Virgin Express, Debonair, Color Air, and Air Scandic from 1993 until 2000.
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