Eastern Airways
IATA ICAO Callsign
Operating bases
Fleet size16
HeadquartersHumberside Airport
Kirmington, North Lincolnshire
Key peopleRichard Lake OBE, Owner Orient Industrial Holdings

Eastern Airways, legally incorporated as Air Kilroe Limited, is a British regional airline headquartered at Humberside Airport near the village of Kirmington, North Lincolnshire, England. The airline operates domestic, international and private charter flights.[2] Around 800,000 passengers fly with the airline per year.[3]

It has hubs at Aberdeen, East Midlands, Humberside and Newquay.[4]

Air Kilroe Limited holds a United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority Type A Operating Licence. It is permitted to carry passengers, cargo and mail on aircraft with 20 or more seats and is IOSA approved.[5][6]


Early years

Co-founded by Bryan Huxford and Richard Lake, the airline started operations in December 1997 with a scheduled route between Humberside and Aberdeen with a leased Swearingen Metro, following KLM uk's withdrawal from the route. In February 1999, it purchased Manchester based Air Kilroe, granting the company an air operator's certificate and giving the airline a fleet of two BAe Jetstream 32 aircraft.[7]

In 2002, the first BAe Jetstream 41 entered the Eastern fleet,[7] the aircraft type which now forms the majority of the fleet.

12 aircraft and their associated routes were transferred from British Airways CitiExpress on 30 March 2003. An Embraer 145 and 135 were also wet leased from City Airline in 2003, which were then replaced with Saab 2000 aircraft, which 8 of them being acquired from Crossair and other European carriers.[8]

In 2006, Eastern Airways wet leased a Dornier 328 from Cirrus Airlines to operate a Newcastle to London City service which has since been terminated. Eastern Airways also purchased a Jetstream 41 training simulator.

As part of One North East's "Passionate People Passionate Places" campaign for North East England, Eastern Airways had a Jetstream 41 painted in promotional colours. It also featured in the 2007 Sunderland International Airshow. A Saab 2000 was also painted in a promotional 'Aberdeen City and Shire' colour scheme. The airline shut down its hub at the Isle of Man in August 2009, discontinuing routes to Birmingham and Newcastle upon Tyne from the airport.[9]

Developments since 2010

In July 2010, the airline took delivery of an Embraer 135 with 37 seats and signed a lease on a second, thus adding jet aircraft to their fleet for the first time since the acquisition to replace their previously operated Embraer ERJ aircraft. They will be used mainly on charter services to central and Eastern Europe; however, they will also offer increased flexibility on the airline's scheduled flights.[10] In July 2010, the airline named one of their BAe Jetstream 41 aircraft after the comedian Ken Dodd in celebration of the year anniversary of the start of their flights from Liverpool and Dodd's support shown in the region.

In September 2010, it was announced that Eastern Airways had bought Air Southwest, however shut down the airline a year later. Flights from Liverpool to both Aberdeen and Southampton ended in 2011

In August 2012, Eastern Group purchased the 82% Manchester Airports Group stake in Humberside Airport, becoming the primary airline serving the airport.

In February 2014, the Bristow Group, a major helicopter operator serving the offshore oil and gas industry, acquired a 60% interest in Eastern Airways[11] and in 2018 acquired the remaining 40%. The airline continued to operate under the Eastern Airways brand.[12] Bristow also acquired a controlling interest in the Australian airline Airnorth, another regional airline which operates fixed wing regional jet and turboprop aircraft. During this time, the airline's route network was focused on Aberdeen, providing service to the oil industry, as well as a smaller operation in Newcastle. The airline also commenced a number of French domestic routes in 2015, supported by PSO subsidies.[13]

Facing increased competition from airlines such as Loganair and Wideroe, the airline has significantly scaled back its schedule route network from Aberdeen.

In March 2017, Eastern re-entered the Isle of Man with service to Belfast City, Glasgow and Newcastle, following the collapse of local airline Citywing.[14] The airline also took over PSO-funded service between Cardiff and Anglesey, facilitating the opening of a base in Cardiff.[15] Isle of Man service was cancelled a year later, whereas Cardiff service continued until the Welsh Government stopped providing funding in 2021.[16]

Eastern Saab 2000 in British Airways livery.

Eastern also operated flights from the Isle of Man to London City Airport on behalf of British Airways using Saab 2000 aircraft.

Bristow Group

In September 2017, Eastern received its first of two new ATR 72-600. The aircraft operated on the Aberdeen – Scatsta route on behalf of Bristow Helicopters. With the Bristow Group in financial difficulties, it sold the Eastern Airlines group of companies back to one of its founders, Richard Lake, in May 2019.[17]

Eastern Airways & Flybe Franchise

An Eastern BAe Jetstream 41 operated for Flybe.

It was announced on 21 September 2017 that Eastern Airways would enter a franchise with Flybe, starting on 29 October 2017. The franchise saw all scheduled flights operated by Eastern Airways carry BE (Flybe) flight numbers. Following Loganair's decision to end its partnership with Flybe, Eastern announced a significant expansion onto routes also operated by Loganair, largely targeting the Scottish Highlands, including introduction jet service into Sumburgh for the first time.[18] The last of these new routes was dropped by the end of 2018, citing a lack of demand for two competing airlines.[19]

On 5th March 2020, Flybe entered administration and ceased operations,[20] resulting in Eastern Airways resuming flying under its own brand.[21] Seeking to take advantage of Flybe's demise, the airline announced the opening of a base in Southampton, where Flybe had operated 95% of the airport's flights, with new routes to Manchester and Newcastle, eventually being joined by Belfast City and Dublin, along with pre-existing service to Aberdeen, Leeds/Bradford and Teesside.[22]

In 2021, Eastern announced new service from Southampton to Nantes and Rennes, however neither service ever commenced.[23] The airline was unable to capture the market left by Flybe, resulting in operations in Southampton being gradually scaled back, with all new service being axed by 2023.

In May 2021, Eastern commenced flying to Gibraltar for the first time, with service to Birmingham and Southampton, however cancelled both routes a year later.[24] The airline also commenced service between Cardiff and Belfast City, seeking to fill another gap left by Flybe's collapse, but suspended the route in early 2022.[25]

PSO Contracts

In December 2021, the company was awarded PSO contract to operate service between Newquay and London Gatwick. Also in April 2022 Eastern was awarded another PSO contract in Scotland to operate services between Aberdeen and Wick.

Corporate affairs


The head office is located at Schiphol House, on the property of Humberside Airport, in Kirmington, North Lincolnshire.[26][a]


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Eastern Airways ATR 72-600
Eastern Airways BAe Jetstream 41
Eastern Airways Embraer 190

Current fleet

The Eastern Airways fleet consists of the following aircraft:[31]

Aircraft In Service Orders Passengers
ATR 72-600 4 72
BAe Jetstream 41 6 29
Embraer 170 2 76
Embraer 190 2 1 106
Total 14 1

Former fleet

Eastern Airways formerly operated the following aircraft:[citation needed]


  1. ^ The Registered Office is at Redhill Aerodrome, Kings Mill Lane, Redhill, Surrey.


  1. ^ "IATA – Airline and Airport Code Search". iata.org. Retrieved 13 April 2015.
  2. ^ "Directory: World Airlines". Flight International. 3 April 2007. p. 75.
  3. ^ ERAA retrieved 12 May 2007 Archived 8 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "why fly any other way? | Eastern Airways". www.easternairways.com.
  5. ^ Airline licence holders. www.caa.co.uk.
  6. ^ IOSA Registry. www.iata.org.
  7. ^ a b Goold Air International January 2009, p. 27
  8. ^ Goold Air International January 2009, p. 28
  9. ^ Eastern Airways to withdraw routes. Iomtoday.co.im (5 August 2009).
  10. ^ "Jet aircraft added to Eastern Airways' fleet". Archived from the original on 22 November 2010. Retrieved 2 July 2010.
  11. ^ "History". Bristow Group. Retrieved 8 December 2020.
  12. ^ "Bristow Helicopters invests in Eastern Airways". 6 February 2014.
  13. ^ "Eastern Airways Route Map (2015)". Pinterest. Retrieved 29 October 2023.
  14. ^ "Isle of Man Government – Eastern Airways steps in to provide a continuation of Isle of Man Services". www.gov.im. Retrieved 29 October 2023.
  15. ^ "Cardiff to Anglesey flights secured for another four years | GOV.WALES". www.gov.wales. 18 February 2019. Retrieved 29 October 2023.
  16. ^ "Eastern Airways: Cardiff-Anglesey air link scrapped". BBC News. 8 June 2022. Retrieved 29 October 2023.
  17. ^ Lammey, Mark (15 May 2019). "Troubled Bristow sells Eastern Airways". Energy Voice. Aberdeen: D C Thomson Media. Archived from the original on 22 October 2020. Retrieved 8 December 2020.
  18. ^ Times, Shetland (6 June 2017). "Flybe to go up against Loganair in direct competition for flights". The Shetland Times. Retrieved 29 October 2023.
  19. ^ Merritt, Mike (29 October 2023). "Eastern Airways pulls out of Glasgow to Stornoway route battle with Loganair". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 29 October 2023.
  20. ^ Topham, Gwyn; correspondent, Gwyn Topham Transport (5 March 2020). "Flybe: airline collapses two months after government announces rescue". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 29 October 2023.
  21. ^ Laister, David (5 March 2020). "Eastern Airways to emerge as an independent after Flybe collapse". Business Live. Retrieved 29 October 2023.
  22. ^ "Eastern Airways flights from Southampton resume | Southampton Airport". www.southamptonairport.com. Retrieved 29 October 2023.
  23. ^ "Eastern Airways to operate two new routes to Nantes and Rennes|Southampton Airport | Southampton Airport". www.southamptonairport.com. Retrieved 29 October 2023.
  24. ^ "Eastern Airways Expands into Gibraltar from Birmingham and Southampton | Gibraltar International Airport". www.gibraltarairport.gi. Retrieved 29 October 2023.
  25. ^ Jones, John (10 January 2022). "Flights from Cardiff to Belfast suspended until March". Wales Online. Retrieved 29 October 2023.
  26. ^ Home page. Eastern Airways. Retrieved on 29 December 2011. "Head Office Eastern Airways Schiphol House Humberside Airport Kirmington DN39 6YH"
  27. ^ European regions airline association. Eraa.org.
  28. ^ European regions airline association. Eraa.org.
  29. ^ BACA awards 2011 Archived 19 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine. Baca.org.uk.
  30. ^ "EASTERN AIRWAYS IS NAMED GOLD EUROPEAN REGIONAL AIRLINE OF THE YEAR | Eastern Airways". www.easternairways.com.
  31. ^ "Please refresh this page | Planespotters.net".

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