Newcastle Airport operator named European Regional Airline of the Year
UK airline, Eastern Airways, which operates flights from Newcastle International Airport, has been awarded the prestigious Gold Airline of the Year award by the European Regions Airline Association (ERA) at its widely recognised industry awards ceremony in Barcelona.
The carrier was last night named Europe’s number one regional airline 2014/15 ahead of 51 other airline members at the annual event, which has been held since 1991 to recognise excellence and achievements of Europe’s regional carriers, and also forms part of the ERA’s general assembly.
The airline celebrates its 17th anniversary this year and is Europe’s leading provider of fixed wing air services for the oil and gas industry. It operates over 800 flights a week, has more flights from Aberdeen than any other carrier and previously gained the most prestigious gold award in this industry sector in 2006/7, following consecutive silver awards in 2003/4 and 2004/5.
Richard Lake, chief executive of Eastern Group, said: “It is a great honour to again win the prestigious gold award, which is testament to the efforts and professionalism of every member of the team at Eastern Airways. To be recognised by our peers in the industry is tremendous as regional aviation is one of the most challenging and competitive sectors in the world. We must also thank our customers and trade partners who have continually supported us throughout our many years of operation.”
The judging panel commended Eastern Airways for:
- 16 years of consistent profitability
- Winning further Public Service Obligation (PSO) routes in France
- Extending oil contracts
- Reacting swiftly to changing market conditions and seizing new commercial opportunities to expand its network of scheduled services
- Bringing new investment into the business
With its primary focus on business travel, the airline enhanced its comprehensive UK network this year with the introduction of new services. Further expansion also took place in France after being awarded a four year contract providing domestic flights between Lorient and Lyon. Steady fleet acquisition was required to meet the growth in oil and gas charters and ad-hoc charters, while a new investor was attracted, with Bristow Helicopters Limited making a strategic investment acquiring a 60% interest in the airline, following a strong relationship between the two companies since 1999.
Eastern Airways started services from Newcastle in 2003 and operates a choice of daily scheduled flights to Aberdeen, Birmingham, Cardiff and Stavanger in Norway from Newcastle.
Humberside Airport based Eastern Airways has been operating scheduled flights since 1997 and provides a network of services across 17 airports in the UK, Norway and France using a fleet of 31 regional aircraft.