Air UK Leisure

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Air UK Leisure
IATA ICAO Callsign
MV UKL LEISURE[citation needed]
Founded 1987
Commenced operations 1988
Ceased operations 1999
Hubs London Stansted Airport

Air UK Leisure was a British airline operating charter flights on behalf of its parent Air UK.


A Boeing 737-200 of Air UK Leisure at Faro Airport in 1989.
An Air UK Leisure Boeing 737-400 takes off from Faro Airport in 1985.

In June 1987 Air UK announced that it would start a new charter airline based at London Stansted Airport which would start operating in 1988 with two leased Boeing 737-200 aircraft.[1] The company Air UK (Leisure) Limited was formed in 1987 with Air UK providing 30% of the £2.5 million capital, B&C Holding (the parent company of Air UK) 30% with the rest from the travel group Viking International.[1]

The airline started operations in 1988 with two leased Boeing 737-200 aircraft and placed orders for four new Boeing 737-400s from a leasing company for delivery in October 1988.[2] The first flight was from London Stansted Airport to Faro Airport in Portugal.[2] The airline became the first operator of the Boeing 737-400 in Europe when the first aircraft was delivered on 14 October 1988.[2]

The airline went on to operate seven Boeing 737-400s on both charter and scheduled services and to base aircraft at Manchester and Gatwick Airport as well as Stansted.

In 1993 the airline introduced two leased Boeing 767-300 aircraft on behalf of British holiday tour operator Unijet.[3]

Leisure International Airways[edit]

In 1996 the airline was sold to the tour operator Unijet and was renamed Leisure International Airways and moved its main base to London Gatwick Airport.[4]

On 29 March 1996 the airline introduced the first of three Airbus A320s into service to replace the Boeing 737-400s.[5]

In 1998 First Choice acquired the airline when it took over Unijet, the aircraft fleet and operations were taken over by the First Choice airline Air 2000.


A Boeing 767-300 of Leisure International Airways upon take-off in 1999.

Over the years, Air UK Leisure operated the following aircraft types:[6]

Air UK Leisure fleet development
Aircraft Introduced Retired
Boeing 737-200 1988 1989
Boeing 737-400 1988 1997
Boeing 767-300 1993 1997


External links[edit]