Eagle Aviation Ltd
In the beginning
Harold Bamberg registered
"Eagle Aviation Ltd" on the 14th April 1948. It was to
be the beginning of the Eagle Empire that would play an important
part in shaping the early days of the British independent airline
industry. The independent airlines of today owe their very existence
to people like Harold Bamberg, Freddie Laker and the like. These
men struggled with government attitude, which is beyond belief these
days, and the mighty power that the British flag carriers seemed
to hold. Yet regardless these men fought on with enterprise and
courage. They were men who served the UK airline industry to the
best of their abilities.
Eagle's first aircraft
G-AJBL, a Halifax, operated its first flight, a cargo of cherries,
from Verona to Bovingdon. Operating from Wunsdorf near Hamburg the
same aircraft was used on the Berlin airlift. A second aircraft
G-ALEF, also a Halifax, was purchased and named "Red Eagle".
With the operation moving to Fuhlsbuttel, also near Hamburg, a further
two aircraft were purchased. The airlift proved to be a busy period
at the beginning of the airline's life. In 1951 the Air Ministry
awarded Eagle regular contract flights. 1951 had been a most successful
year for Eagle, it now employed 12 pilots amongst its staff of 100
people and had a share capital of £50,000.
In 1949 the government
passed the 1949 Air Corporation Act, which gave virtual monopoly
of scheduled services to the state airlines. Thus began the continuous
battle with the government licensing authorities with regard to
scheduled routes, which lasted throughout the life of Eagle.
Towards the end of
1952 Harold Bamberg considered that it was too difficult to continue
in the airline business in the face of implacable objections from
the State run airlines and the difficulty of dealing with Civil
Servants whose brief was to protect at all cost the National Carrier.
to Eagle Airways