European Air Express
1965 - 1982
European Air Express (EAE) is not well known as a Fokker airliner operator, so a closer look to its history is useful. The airline was founded as Transeuropa Compañía de Aviación in July 1965 with its corporate seat in Madrid and an operational base at Palma de Mallorca airport. It started with cooperative support by Iberia and Aviaco. Two months later the first flight was performed, an ad-hoc charter using Douglas DC-7B EC-BBH (44173) that was acquired from National Airlines. For the 1966 holiday season Transeuropa could close long-term contracts with several tour operators, which enabled fleet expansion with three more DC-7Cs. The airline flew holiday makers from northern European countries like Germany and United Kingdom, mainly to Mallorca, which was a very popular summer destination already in those days. In addition, four Douglas DC-4 and C-54A aircraft were bought for domestic freight services.
Business grew steadily and in 1969 Transeuropa ordered three factory-new Sud Aviation SE-210 Caravelle 10R jets, two of which were immediately leased out to Iberia. The third one (EC-BRJ, c/n 250) was painted in the newly introduced Transeuropa livery and flew the holiday charters. Over the next few years, more Caravelles entered the fleet and gradually replaced the DC-7s to meet growing demand. When the Caravelles returned in 1974 after the lease to Iberia, the last DC-7C was withdrawn from use; the last DC-4 / C-54 was retired in 1975. Then, Transeuropa operated an all-Caravelle fleet of eight units, six 10R and two 11R types. The enlarged fleet allowed for expansion of the network to the Canary Islands, Tunisia and Morocco. The Caravelles were operated from their maintenance base at Palma de Mallorca.
In January 1980 Transeuropa acquired two F27-600 from Iberia for the cargo flights it has taken over from Iberia. During 1981 six more Friendships followed from the same source. They were used on behalf of Aviaco in the national feeder network and, on a contract with Iberia, for regional shuttles within the Canary Islands, where Transeuropa established an operational base at Tenerife Norte airport.
Soon Transeuropa ran into economic problems due to decreasing demand as a result of a pan-European recession. As a consequence, the fleet was underutilized and the company could not cope with high operating costs. The shares of Transeuropa were initially bought by the Aznar Shipping Group, but this did not improve the financial issues. Also the Aznar Group came into financial difficulties and Transeuropa was taken over by the Instituto Nacional de Industria. This state holding company, owner of both Iberia and Aviaco, divided the Transeuropa shares between the two airlines: Iberia got 60% and Aviaco the remaining 40%. Transeuropa’s assets, including the domestic network and all eight Friendships, were absorbed by Aviaco and the four Caravelles went to Hispania, a new charter airline that had been founded by former Transeuropa staff. On 1 February 1982, Transeuropa ceased operations and the company was dissolved.
Like the Caravelles, the Transeuropa F27s carried a relatively simple livery: white top and grey belly, divided by a black and orange-red cheatline over the cabin windows. Underneath the windows was the airline name in black. The tail sported a large black ‘T’ placed over an orange-red oval. The engine nacelles were grey.
From two Transeuropa F27s pictures are known in a transitory scheme, showing the distinctive red and yellow fuselage bands of Iberia, with Transeuropa logos on the nose and the tail and titles under the cabin windows (EC-BMT and EC-DBN).
European Air Express Fokker fleet
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European Air Express pictures
Transeuropa F27s EC-BOC (10353) in the standard livery (Francisco Andreu; Malaga May 1981)
Friendship EC-BMT (10343) in the temporary hybrid livery (Ángel Óses; Madrid, 9 April 1981)
- J.F. Homma and H.K. Groen. The Fokker F27 Friendship story. CD-ROM, April 2011.
- B. Eastwood and J. Roche. Turbo Prop Airliner Production List. The Aviation Hobby Shop, July 2007.
- Wikipedia: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transeuropa_Compañía de Aviacíon, as well as the pages in Spanish and English; all accessed 21-03-2023.
- Photos: both published on AviationCorner.net; accessed 21-03-2023.
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