When the Luck Ran Out

air europe

Bruce Hales-Dutton reflects on the humble British leisure carrier whose global ambitions ultimately led to catastrophic failure.

Frustrated, O’Regan and Cossey walked out to start their own airline

In its prime, Air Europe’s fleet expanded to include larger aircraft such as the 757-200.
AVSTOCK / RICHARD PARKHOUSE
A Fokker 100, PH-ZCM (c/n 11277) taxiing at Gatwick in November 1990.
AIRTEAMIMAGES.COM / CARL FORD

This is the story of a holiday airline based just outside London whose untimely demise was, at least partly, blamed on rising tensions in the Middle East. The resulting failure wrecked the travel plans of tens of thousands, rocked the travel trade and resulted in calls for government to rethink the financial protections available to airline passengers.

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