Air Transport World

'We want to Easternize the UK': Eastern Airways takes pride in trying harder.(Regionals)(Richard Lake)(European Regions Airline Association)

Eastern Airways CEO Richard Lake came to the annual European Regions Airline Assn. fall meeting here with a sense of optimism that this year the organization might bestow its Regional Airline of the Year award upon the Aberdeen-based carrier. Instead, for the second time, Eastern came up just a bit short with a second-place finish. But Lake was philosophical about the outcome, saying, "We must try that little bit, little bit harder."

"Trying harder" could be the motto of this seven-year-old, privately owned, independently operated Regional, which serves complimentary champagne to its mostly business clientele and has worked with airport operators at some of its key destinations to reduce the security hassle factor. It operates 750 scheduled flights each week out of 17 airports in the UK with a mixed fleet of 14 Jetstream 41s, seven J32s, one Saab 2000 and one ERJ-145.

While some may view the fleet mix as a drawback, Lake begs to differ. "I like the right airplane on the right route," he tells ATW. "I don't like to shoehorn the route into a fleet of airplanes, which is contrary to popular thinking. For a regional operator who is running a wide variety of routes, you need a selection of airplanes that are appropriate for the time of year, the demand, the capacity and the frequency. …

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