European Air Express

IATA code

ICAO code






1998 - 2007

When the British airline Debonair Airways ceased operations, Peter Hauptvogel Jr., the then German managing director of the airline, decided to take over the more profitable routes of the former airline, which had not been successful introducing a higher-level low cost concept. Hauptvogel founded European Air Express (EAE) in December 1998, with its basis at Mönchengladbach (or Düsseldorf Express airport as it was marketed). Vibro Beteiligungs GmbH was a major shareholder.

Initially, the new airline was flying under the AOC of Denim Air (the Netherlands), which also provided a number of Fokker 50s to EAE. The first flight was on 8 February 1999, from Mönchengladbach to Munich, which remained the key route for the airline. During the summer season, EAE served Mönchengladbach to Westerland on the North Sea island of Sylt for some time and in October 1999 the Mönchengladbach to London-Luton connection was inaugurated, also a former Debonair route.

In April 2000 EAE obtained its own AOC, switched to ATR-42 aircraft and introduced a new corporate livery. Plans were to grow the number of routes out of Mönchengladbach, amongst others to Berlin, Hamburg and Nuremberg, but these plans never came to fruition. In 2001, after Lufthansa acquired large parts of the Eurowings regional network, antitrust rules came into effect as a consequence and EAE was able to take over a number of lucrative domestic routes. The airline established hubs in Dortmund, Münster-Osnabrück and Cologne-Bonn, whereas Mönchengladbach remained the operating base. From these hubs EAE served practically all major German airports.

Due to these increased activities the significance of Mönchengladbach decreased and EAE even abandoned the two routes that had been successful in its early years, namely to Munich and Luton. In 2006 the airline operated from two bases, Münster-Osnabrück and Cologne-Bonn. The focus remained on domestic connections, whereas few international destinations were added, like Geneva from Cologne and Amsterdam (in cooperation with KLM) and Zurich from Münster-Osnabrück. In June 2007 the airline announced that it would end operations by 30 September 2007, and all flights were already suspended ahead of that day. In its heydays the company had some 90 employees.


Fokker 50 PH-DMD was the first aircraft in the EAE fleet and the airline has used at least seven F50 airframes over a period of slightly more than one year. The term ‘at least’ is necessary, since documentation of EAE F50 operations is rather scarce, most likely because they were leased from Denim Air for short periods only. Fortunately a combination of written and photo evidence has revealed the F50s in EAE service as shown below. After the F50 era EAE operated in total nine ATR-42, two ATR-72, four Fairchild-Swearingen SA-227 Metros and two BAe Jetstream 31s.

Quite remarkably in view of the relatively short period that EAE operated the F50, no less than four color schemes are known. Admittedly, the differences are minor, but still worth noticing. The schemes are summarized in the table; pictures of two F50s known to have flown for EAE are unavailable to the author. So, your help in completing our knowledge will be highly appreciated.


European Air Express Fokker fleet

Registration c/n Date in Date out Liveries known (see below)
PH-DMD 20144 15-01-1999 19-08-1999 EAE-1, EAE-2 and EAE-3
PH-DMO 20103 09-08-1999 22-04-2000 EAE-4
PH-PRI 20201 12-1999 2000 EAE-3
PH-DMB 20264 27-01-2000 03-2000 EAE-3
PH-PRG 20155 01-2000 03-2000 ??
PH-DMC 20227 01-2000 03-2000 EAE-3
PH-PRH 20200 02-2000 03-2000 ??
Livery EAE logo EAE titles Tail
EAE-1 Logo-1 (uninterrupted blue circle) under cockpit Top fuselage behind wings White
EAE-2 Logo-2 (top half of circle contains text ‘European Air Express’) under cockpit Top fuselage in front of wings White
EAE-3 Logo-2 (top half of circle contains text ‘European Air Express’) under cockpit Top fuselage in front of wings Logo-1
EAE-4 Logo-2 (top half of circle contains text ‘European Air Express’) under cockpit Top fuselage in front of wings, with additional Denim logo White

European Air Express pictures

European Air Express PH-DMD (20144) in livery 1 (Karl Krämer; Munich, 1999)


European Air Express PH-DMD (20144) in livery 2 (Karl Krämer; Munich, 1999)


European Air Express PH-DMD (20144) in livery 3 (photographer unknown; Munich, June 1999)


European Air Express PH-DMO (20103) in livery 4 (Karl Krämer; Munich, 25 July 1999)


European Air Express PH-DMB (20264) in livery 3 (Karl Krämer; Munich, 28 October 1999)


European Air Express PH-DMC (20227) in livery 3 (photographer unknown; Munich, June 1999)


European Air Express PH-PRI (20201) in livery 3 (Karl Krämer; Munich, 17 December 1999)



  • Wikipedia:, as well as the pages in German, French and Dutch; all accessed 27-07-2023.
  • B. Eastwood and J. Roche. Turbo Prop Airliner Production List. The Aviation Hobby Shop, July 2007.
  • Photos: slides from the author's collection.