MANX AIRLINES, LTD. (1): United Kingdom (1947-1956). Manx Air Charters, Ltd., is formed by Capt. G. H. Drummond and Mr. G. S. Hankinson at Ronaldsway Airport in May 1947 to offer charters in association with Air Charter Experts. Equipped with a pair of de Havilland DH 89As, one of which is shared with ACE, the company, under Chairman Drummond, begins ad hoc passenger and cargo charters from the Isle of Man into Northern Ireland, Scotland, and England. A third Dragon Rapide is delivered in December.
Two more DH 89As are delivered in 1948, one each in March and May, respectively. In July, ACE closes down, transferring its entire charter business to Manx. No changes are made in operations in 1949, although a Dragon Rapide is sold in January. During the year, British European Airways Corporation (BEA) announces that it is withdrawing all but “essential service” from the Isle of Man.
Negotiations to merge with fellow charter-operator Mannin Airways, Ltd. fail in early 1950 as that carrier joins with Northwest Airlines (Isle of Man), Ltd. In response, Manx signs a two-year BEA associate agreement to provide summer only scheduled service between Carlisle and the Isle of Man. No changes occur in 1951 or 1952; however, Northwest Airlines (Isle of Man), Ltd. fails during the latter year and sells its assets to Lancashire Aircraft Corporation, Ltd.
Early In January 1953, Manx gains permission to begin additional scheduled service from the Isle of Man to Newcastle and Glasgow (Renfrew) under contract to BEA. As a result, the two Douglas DC-3s formerly flown by Northwest Airlines (Isle of Man), Ltd. are acquired and to stress its new airline status, the company changes its name to MAL-1 on February 21. The large American transports begin scheduled service from the Isle of Man to Newcastle and Glasgow (Renfrew) in May.
Enplanements for the year total 14,881.
Airline employment stands at 28 in 1954, including 5 pilot captains. The DC-3s are occasionally employed on ad hoc charters during the summer, in addition to the Dragon Rapides that are similarly given a change from scheduled routes.
A total of 21,436 passengers are carried on the year.
Carbon copy operations continue apace in 1955 (although a DH-89A is sold in June) until December 22.
While on final approach from a ferry flight during the day, a DC-3 with three crew strikes trees and crashes at Dusseldorf; there are no survivors.
In May 1956, the carrier, unable to acquire a replacement Douglas, is forced to sell out to British Aviation Services and is assigned to the northern division of Silver City Airways, Ltd. Allowed to continue under its own colors, MAL-1 is immediately provided, under lease, with two Bristol 170 Mk. 21 Wayfarers which, in exchange for the surviving DC-3, are employed on scheduled and charter operations during the summer.
Another Wayfarer is leased from the parent in early 1957 along with two DH-114 Heron 1Bs, the first of which is delivered in February. An Isle of Man to Belfast route is opened in May, followed on June 1 by the introduction of coach-air flights from Glasgow (Renfrew)-Belfast and Isle of Man.
A chartered Bristol 170 Mk. 21E with 3 crew and 39 passengers crashes into a hill near Winter Hill, U. K., on February 27, 1958 (35 dead).
During the spring, MAL-1 is fully integrated into Silver City Airways, Ltd.
MANX AIRLINES, LTD. (2) (MANX AIRLINES EUROPE, LTD.): Isle of Man (Ronaldsway) Airport, Ballasalla, Isle of Man, IM9 2JE, United Kingdom; Phone 44 (1624) 82-6000; Fax 44 (1624) 82-6001; Http://www. manx-airlines. com; Code JE; Year Founded 1982. In an
Effort to reduce losses on the services of British Midland Airways, Ltd. and Air U. K., Ltd. to the Isle of Man, British Midland Bank and the British and Commonwealth Shipping Company (holding 75% and 25% interest, respectively), form a new third-level Ronaldsway-based carrier in the spring of 1982. The new enterprise is branded in honor of MAL-1. The initial headquarters at Compton House, Castletown, will eventually spread out to include six airport locations, with the main complexes at Viscount House and Leslie Vondy House.
British Midland Airways, Ltd. executive Terry Liddiard, who had proposed the idea for a new low-cost carrier, is named managing director and together with Capt. Norman Brewitt, is given 10 weeks to establish the operation. The initial fleet comprises 1 Vickers Viscount 800, 1 Embraer EMB-110 Bandeirante, and 2 Fokker F.27 Friendships. Scheduled services are inaugurated on November 1 to Belfast, Blackpool, Dublin, Jersey, Liverpool, Glasgow, London (LHR), and Manchester.
Passenger traffic accelerates quickly and by the end of 1983 has reached 253,000; employment is 110. However, start-up costs and the unsuitability of the Fokkers bring a net loss of ?250,000. In October, the de Havilland Canada DHC-6-300 Skianyn Vannin is leased from Lo-ganair, Ltd. for an 18-month period.
The F.27s are replaced in 1984 by two Shorts 360s and the chartered DHC-6 Twin Otter, while a Viscount 800 is leased for summer charter flights. An aggressive television advertising campaign is scheduled in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Enplanements for the year rise 14% to 262,279 and a $642,000 profit is earned on revenues of $13 million.
A third Shorts 360 is acquired on lease in 1985 as the Skianyn Vannin is returned in March. Known as The Firecracker, the first low-cost, nonbusiness tourist frequencies are introduced from the Isle of Man. In just 6 months, load factor is up 138% and 7,000 passengers are boarded in July alone.
The year’s bookings exceed 300,000 and profits approach ?1 million.
Plans are undertaken in 1986 to enter London’s Unlisted Securities Market with an offering of 49% of the carrier’s stock to the public. In April, the Liverpool to London (LHR) route of British Midland Airways, Ltd. is taken over and the one-millionth passenger is transported in July.
In late October, the carrier joins IATA and on December 1, flying the aircraft previously owned by Birmingham Executive Airways, Ltd., launches five-times-per-day SAAB-Fairchild SF340 frequency to Liverpool.
Enplanements for the year total 372,581 and profits total $6.6 million (operating) and $3.6 million (net).
Airline employment grows 18.1% in 1987 to 222. General Manager Liddiard is elevated to the new post of managing director; his fleet now includes 1 Viscount 800, 4 Shorts 360s, and 1 SAAB SF340. Manx is the only British operator of the latter type while ?27 million worth of orders are placed for three British Aerospace BAe ATPs.
Destinations visited include Belfast Harbour, Blackpool, Dublin, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Isle of Man, Liverpool, London (LHR), Manchester, Newcastle, Leeds, and Jersey. The company’s fifth birthday is celebrated in November.
One Shorts 360 is withdrawn late in the year and is replaced in December by the carrier’s first jetliner, a leased British Aerospace BAe 146-100.
Passenger boardings zoom upward by 16.4% to 445,678 and cargo grows by 24.9% to 316,000 pounds. Revenues advance 23.3% to $34 million and costs are held low enough to allow an operating profit of $6.7 million. Net gain reaches $2.7 million (?1.36 million).
Operations continue apace in 1988, as the company becomes a unit in the Airlines of Britain group. In January, the new BAe 146-100 is introduced on the route to London (LHR). On March 16, Skyhopper service is introduced on the Liverpool to Heathrow Airport route.
New triweekly London Saver frequencies are introduced on June 17 from London (CTN) to the Isle of Man while, on July 5, a ?27-million order is placed for three British Aerospace ATPs, plus spare parts.
The last scheduled flight by a Viscount arrives at London (LHR) at the end of October; the turboprop, in the fleet since 1985, is retired in November in preparation for receipt of two Advanced Turboprops.
Enplanements for the year total 491,877 and the operating profit is $5.76 million. Net gain reaches $2.94 million.
The payroll is increased by 15.9% in 1989 to 320 and the fleet now includes 1 BAe 146-200, and 3 Shorts 360s. Orders remain outstanding for three ATPs, which join the fleet during the first two quarters replacing the SAAB and Viscount.
A new ?1-million maintenance hanger is opened at the company base, employing 40 workers. Daily Birmingham to Isle of Man services begins in June.
Passenger boardings rise 2.8% to 506,046 and revenues move up 3.6% to $35.5 million. Costs allow operating income of $5.89 million, and a slightly smaller net gain of $2.35 million.
On March 26, 1990, daily roundtrip service is inaugurated from Liverpool to Dublin. London (CTN) to Isle of Man service becomes daily in May while a major new leisure hub is developed at Dublin for services to Jersey, Blackpool, Liverpool, and the Isle of Man.
Cardiff joins the route network on June 11 as part of a connect service on to Liverpool and Glasgow and a branch office is opened at the new destination under Manager Charlotte Kosh. Orders are placed for a BAe Jetstream 41, for which the airline will be the U. K. launch customer, and two more BAe Jetstream 31s, which will be acquired from the former Italian regional Aliblu, S. p.A.
Traffic figures are reported for the year’s first 8 months and show customer bookings of 395,712. On October 17, company officials announce plans to significantly expand the Cardiff hub and to create, with Airlines of Britain Group approval, two new companies: Manx Airlines (Holdings), Ltd. and its two subsidiaries, Manx Airlines (Europe), Ltd. and MAL-2. The latter is needed to permit Manx to comply with tax laws off the Isle of Man. Frequencies from Blackpool to Jersey and from the Island of Man to Leeds/Bradford, and Newcastle become year-round.
The payroll is sliced 13.9% in 1991. In March, Manx Airlines (Europe), Ltd. is formally established as a subsidiary of Airlines of Britain Group; it will be administered alongside MAL-2 at Ronaldsway. The two new Jetstream 31s arrive on March 25, and an ATP and a Shorts 360 are also assigned to the new Cardiff operation. Two days later, Managing Director Liddiard orders a pair of Jetstream 41s. There have now been ?20 million worth of J-41s requested.
Twice-daily services from the Isle of Man to Birmingham are inaugurated by MAL-2 during the spring, along with daily services to Dublin, Cardiff, and Jersey. A new route network, based on Cardiff, is inaugurated linking that southern Welsh city with Aberdeen, Belfast, Brussels, Dublin, Glasgow, Guernsey, the Isle of Man, and Jersey. ATP flights from Cardiff to Paris commence on October 28. Without aircraft to spare, a longtime, profitable contract to haul newspapers is lost.
Enplanements publicized through October reveal that passenger boardings are off by 0.1% to 517,447. Freight, on the other hand, ascends 35.3% to 326,000 FTKs. By year’s end, it is recorded that 625,097 passengers have been flown and a pretax ?1.61-million profit generated.
The workforce grows by 8% in 1992 to 433 and the fleet now includes 5 Jetstream 61s, 3 leased BAe Jetstream 31s, and 3 Shorts 360s. Orders are outstanding for 4 Jetstream 41s. One ATP is leased to British Airways, Ltd. (2).
Daily Belfast to Aberdeen services commence on April 13. On October 23, the company obtains JAA certification to service any of several aircraft types flown in Europe.
Customer bookings recover and climb 5.6% to 660,267. Additionally, 276,000 FTKs are flown. Revenues total ?55 million.
In 1993, Chairman Bishop and Managing Director Liddiard oversee a workforce of 601, up 39.1% over the previous year. The first five BAe Jetstream 41s enter service in March, along with a BAe 146-200. Several new routes are inaugurated: London (STN) to Manchester and Belfast and Waterford to London (STN) and Manchester.
A route replacement arrangement is signed with British Midland Airways, Ltd. on October 11. Beginning on November 1, Manx, which has purchased two more ATPs from BMA, launches four-times-per-day Belfast to London (LHR) and East Midlands service. It also takes over, initially for the winter schedule, the East Midlands-Birmingham-Jersey service of BMA. Minihubs are now established at Glasgow, Belfast, Liverpool, East Midlands, and Manchester.
Scheduled departures total 25,500 and passenger boardings increase by 14.6% to 756,138, but freight falls by 29.7% to 194,000 FTKs. Revenues decline to ?32 million.
Airline employment grows with the company in 1994, rising 30% to 810. When sister carrier Loganair, Ltd. is detailed by Airlines of Britain Group on March 28 to concentrate exclusively on Scottish service, it transfers 21 routes plus all of its ATPs and J-41s to MAL-2, which now establishes a Jetstream 41 base at Southampton. Manx now starts 36 new services of its own and stands as the largest regional airline in the U. K.
The carrier’s 10th Jetstream 41 is delivered in July, while another is leased to sister carrier British Midland Airways, Ltd. A new base is established at Edinburgh.
As is anticipated by company officials, scheduled departures leap upward to 45,900, while customer bookings skyrocket 88% to 1,355,544; cargo inches up 2% to 198,000 FTKs.
On January 9, 1995, with Airlines of Britain, plc., approval, Manx Airlines (Holdings) is renamed British Regional Airlines (Holdings). The airline operating subsidiaries remain divided into two separate divisions: MAL-2 and Manx Airlines (Europe), Ltd. The latter becomes a British Airways, Ltd. (2) franchise partner and flies BAe Jetstream 41s, ATPs, and two BAe 146-200s in “British Airways Express” livery. MAL-2 will operate all of the routes to and from the Isle of Man while Manx Airlines (Europe), Ltd. will fly the remainder, including those from Southampton, Cardiff, Belfast, and Manchester to Brussels, Rotterdam, and Paris. In addition, the regional carrier receives access to BA marketing, frequent flyer program, and airport service support.
In April, it is announced that one of the BAe 146-200s will be stationed at Stuttgart. Until then, it will fly ad hoc charters. Geared to increase travel on routes to the Isle of Man, an intense television marketing campaign is undertaken in the London market during the spring.
When the main runway is closed at Stuttgart Airport between July 31 and October 4, the company leases one of its locally based BAe 146200s to the German charter carrier LTU (Lufttransport Unternehmen,
K. G.), which employs it to maintain services from the cross-runway of the Baden-Wuerttemberg Airport.
The 11th J-41 is delivered in September. The second BAe 146-200 is wet-leased for two months to the new Air Baltic, A. B. in October, allowing the new Latvian entrant to begin operations from Riga to Copenhagen, Helsinki, Minsk, St. Petersburg, Warsaw, and London (LGW). In November, one of the leased BAes is purchased, while a six-year charter agreement is signed for the other.
The company’s 9 J-41s and 7 ATPs transport a total of 1,293,789, a 5% decline over the previous year. Still, finances are such as to allow only a ? 1.3-million ($4.3 8-million) operating profit on a turnover of ?112 million.
Airline employment is increased 10.2% in 1996 to 918 and the Air Baltic, A. B. lease ends. Having elected to expand its aircraft engineering business at Leeds/Bradford, the owners of Knight Air, Ltd. sell their routes from Leeds/Bradford to Belfast, Southampton, and Aberdeen to Manx on January 10. For its part, Manx assumes the lease of two Knight Jetstream 41s when it begins flying the new routes on March 1.
Late in the month, the carrier takes over management of Loganair, Ltd. and overall company employment exceeds 1,000 workers. At the same time, it is announced the Manx will launch Jetstream 31 services from Leeds/Bradford to Southampton and the Isle of Man.
In April, Aberdeen-based Business Air, Ltd. becomes an Airlines of Britain, plc. property. Its addition allows Sir Michael Bishop’s group to blanket the U. K. with regional services, in addition to the international flights provided by BMA.
In August, British Airways, Ltd. (2) announces that, two months hence, it will withdraw from its loss-making Scottish internal services, including six routes serving Orkney, Shetland, and the Western Islands. British Regional Airlines (Holdings) in September changes the name of Manx Airlines (Europe), Ltd. to British Regional Airlines, Ltd. Plans are announced for the new BRA to take over the previous British Airways Regional, Ltd. services at the end of October as a BA franchise partner. Under terms of this agreement, BRA will enjoy all of the benefits of franchise partnership, including dual designator flights, computerized reservations and frequent flyer linkage, passenger and airport services. Meanwhile, Loganair, Ltd. operations are incorporated into BRA. MAL-2 continues separate operations.
Passenger traffic recovers, surging 19.8% to 1,581,190 and 224,000 FTKs are operated, a 25.5% growth rate. Operating income soars 18.9% to $190.22 million while costs, up 17.8%, reach $183.31 million. Operating gain grows to $6.6 million.
The workforce grows by 24.6% in 1997 to 1,144. In January, MAL-2 is named “Regional Airline of the Year” for 1996 by Air Transport World magazine.
Two momentous announcements are made on February 24. Effective that date, Airlines of Britain, plc, the holding company that owns British Midland Airways, Ltd., British Regional Airlines, Ltd., MAL-2, Lo-ganair, Ltd., and Business Air, Ltd. elects to break up British Regional Airlines (Holdings) and all of the carriers except BMA. The move will technically allow BRA (H) to continue its British Airways, Ltd. (2) affiliations without fear of conflict of interest decisions being made by Airlines of Britain, which is partnered with BA’s competitor, SAS (Scandinavian Airlines System). Sir Michael Bishop still retains ultimate ownership in both groups. MAL-2, Loganair, Ltd., and Business Air, Ltd. will continue a confederation with British Regional Airlines, Ltd. in a British Airlines Regional Group of BA franchise partners. Activities for each company will continue to be reported separately.
Also on February 24, Managing Director Liddiard announces an order for up to five Embraer EMB-145 Amazon Regional Jets, with options taken on another two. In March, Loganair, Ltd., after a management buyout, reestablishes its independence outside of the British Regional Airlines Group. It will fly specialist services for Scottish Air Ambulance and scheduled services to the Orkneys and Shetlands with Twin Otters and Islanders.
The fifteenth birthday of MAL-2 is celebrated on May 10; the date also marks fifty years since the carrier’s predecessor, Manx Air Charters, Ltd., began services. The first EMB-145, soon to be renamed the ERJ-145, is accepted during the Paris Air Show in June and begins BRA service during July and August from Manchester to Berlin.
Customer bookings accelerate 37.3% to 2,184,316 while 1.07 million FTKs are also operated. Operating income ascends 38.8% to $255.64 million while expenses grow 39.5% to $247.73 million. The operating profit reaches $7.9 million.
In May 1998, British Regional Airlines Group CEO Liddiard acquires the services of Dresdner, Kleinwort Benson to act as sponsor and stockbroker for an initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange. The flotation will bring in income to pay for the additional acquisition of BRA Embraer ERJ-145 Amazons.
BRA Group is successfully floated on the London Stock Exchange on June 18. Thereafter, MAL-2 updates its corporate identity to reflect its deeply rooted Isle of Man associations.
Flights continue in 1999. The carrier continues to provide vital year round air links between the Isle of Man and a total of 10 destinations in the UK and Irish Republic: London (LTN & LHR), Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Jersey, Leeds/Bradford, Glasgow, Southampton, and Dublin.
With the beginning of the fall schedule at the end of October, service from London (LTN) to the Isle of Man is upgraded from an ATP to a BAe 146 from Sunday through Friday. The Saturday roundtrip continues to be provided with an ATP. The BAe 146 service from London (LHR) is also operated.
During the spring of 2000, the equipment employed on the Manx network is somewhat revitalized. The three ATPs are dedicated to operate over the main provincial routes from the Isle of Man, including those to Liverpool and Manchester. A British Aerospace Jetstream 41 is introduced on the routes to Dublin, Glasgow, and Jersey. All five Manx aircraft wear new livery.
On December 7, British Regional Airlines Group, which owns both Manx and British Regional Airlines, Ltd., confirms that it is in talks with an unidentified bidder. There is media speculation that the suitor is British Airways, Ltd. (2).
On March 8, 2001, it will be revealed that BA will purchase British Regional Airlines Group for ?78 million ($114) and will merge it with its Brymon Airways, Ltd. unit.