European Aviation Air Charter
|Founded||1989 (as European Aviation)|
|Ceased operations||1 December 2008|
|Parent company||European Aviation|
|Headquarters||European House, Bournemouth Airport|
|Key people||Paul Stoddart|
European Aviation Air Charter was an airline based in Bournemouth, United Kingdom. It operated ad hoc charter services, VIP flights, and inclusive-tour and sub-charter flights, as well as ACMI wet leases for other airlines. Its main base was Bournemouth Airport. The company went into administration on Tuesday 2 December 2008.
European Aviation Air Charter Limited held a United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority Type A Operating Licence. It was permitted to carry passengers, cargo and mail on aircraft with 20 or more seats.
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European Aviation Air Charter began in 1989, as European Aviation. Paul Stoddart, the boss of European Aviation Air Charter, saw a gap in the market for an ad-hoc charter airline. The aircraft used at first were rather old BAC-111 jets, which had been first built during the 1960s. The aircraft were flown over from Australia, as their previous owner was the Royal Australian Air Force. European Aviation was initially based in the building where the British Aircraft Corporation used to make aircraft such as the Vickers Viscount and the BAC-111s that the airline was operating. European Air Charter operated from Bournemouth Airport from its inception, making the airport a hub for the airline. The airline was profitable, so the company expanded its operation into other areas such as flight crew training, maintenance for other operators and leasing and selling aircraft.
In 1993, the company directors took the decision of changing European Aviation's name to European Aviation Air Charter, or EAC for short. That same year, twenty other BAC-111s were bought from British Airways. This meant the airline could include tour groups among its charter clients. By then the airline also acquired but never operated the far newer Airbus A300, as well as Boeing 737s. By 1997 European had acquired one Boeing 727 airliner as well.
European Air Charter asked for permission to land at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, Chicago and other US and Canadian destinations in 2001. Due to the volume of passengers the airline projected to transport on each flight to North America, Boeing 747s were bought, once again from British Airways. A total of six former British Airways aircraft of that type entered service with the airline after the permits were granted. European Air Charter formed an association with Palmair, which flew passengers to Bournemouth so they could board the European Air Charter jets to North America.
However, in 2004 EAC started losing money. Paul Stoddart resumed control of EAC and went about cost-cutting; this involved selling or scrapping the Boeing 747s, selling some Boeing 737-200s and disposing of the rest of the fleet. In May 2008 it was announced that Paul Stoddart had sold his stake in OzJet to HeavyLift Cargo Airlines, and the four Boeing 737-200s which were in European's fleet were handed over in the process.
The airline was wholly owned by Paul Stoddart and had 270 employees (at March 2007).
The European Aviation Air Charter fleet consisted of the following aircraft at the time of collapse:
|Boeing 737||6||One aircraft is wet leased to Palmair|
- "Directory: World Airlines". Flight International. 2007-04-03. p. 79.
- CAA Operating Licence Archived 11 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
- Registered aircraft on the Civil Aviation Authority website