London European Airways

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London European Airways was a British airline based at Luton Airport that operated services from the United Kingdom to Amsterdam and Brussels in the late 1980s. It was taken over by Ryanair and operated as Ryanair Europe.



The company was formed in 1984 and applied to operate a business class service between Luton and Amsterdam using a Vickers Viscount.[1]


Following the approval from the Department of Transport to operate the route the twice-daily service started on 25 February 1985.[2] The approval was challenged by Luton-based airline Euroflite, the DoT then changed the approval to allow both operators on the Luton-Amsterdam route.[2] The airline was forced by this action to purchase Euroflite for £300,000.[3]


On 17 February 1986 the airline suspended services following financial problems and the temporary removal of the operating licence.[3] In November 1986 a £630,000 financial rescue package was proposed by Cathal Ryan and other directors of the Irish-airline Ryanair, they would then own 85% of the company.[3] The proposal was accepted by the shareholders, the new owners decided that LEA and Ryanair would remain separate companies although Ryanair flights from Ireland would inter-line with the LEA services from Luton.[4]


The airline was re-launched in April 1987 using a leased twin-engined BAC One-Eleven 500 jet airliner, with services to Amsterdam and Brussels starting on 22 May 1987.[4][5]


In January 1988 the airline was renamed Ryanair Europe.[6]


In January 1989 the airline ended its scheduled service to Brussels and started to concentrate on being a charter airline for Ryanair.[7]


By 1991 the airline had reverted to the London European name and was operating five BAC One-Elevens.[8] With the parent Ryanair making losses and move by them to fly from Stansted[9] London European Airways ceased to operate.


  • Luton - Amsterdam
  • Luton - Brussels
  • Luton - Rotterdam



  1. ^ "New London-Amsterdam service?". Flight International: 1056. 21 April 1984. Retrieved 4 May 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Euro regionals have to compete". Flight International: 5. 2 March 1985. Retrieved 4 May 2014.
  3. ^ a b c "Ryanair to save LEA". Flight International: 5. 8 November 1986. Retrieved 4 May 2014.
  4. ^ a b "LEA is back from the dead". Flight International: 5. 6 December 1986. Retrieved 4 May 2014.
  5. ^ "LEA launches cheap flights". Flight International: 7. 9 May 1987. Retrieved 4 May 2014.
  6. ^ "World Airline Directory". Flight International: 108. 26 March 1988. Retrieved 4 May 2014.
  7. ^ "World Airline Directory". Flight International: 116. 26 March 1988. Retrieved 4 May 2014.
  8. ^ "World Airline Directory". Flight International: 102. 27 March 1991. Retrieved 4 May 2014.
  9. ^ Philip Pangalos. "Ryanair flights for Stansted." Times [London, England] 7 Feb. 1991: 22. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 4 May 2014.