Archive EST. 1978 – Flying High for 30 years!

October 10, 2008 at 00:00

The Company is a subsidiary of Dart Group PLC, an AIM listed aviation services and distribution group. It has been operating commercial aircraft since 1978, originally as a cargo specialist under the name Channel Express (Air Services) Ltd, but since 2001 has operated both contract freight and passenger services, and since 2003 scheduled leisure passenger services.

Dart Group's other subsidiary is Fowler Welch-Coolchain which provides an integrated supply chain to supermarkets and their suppliers by providing chilled and ambient distribution together with warehousing and pick-to-order services.

The Group's businesses were purchased by Philip Meeson's private company in 1983, at which time they specialised in the transport by air of boxes of flowers from the Channel Islands to the UK, and their onward distribution by road to British wholesale markets.  The company's freighter aircraft also delivered large volumes of general freight to the Channel Islands.

Dart Group has developed both its airline operation and its road distribution businesses over the intervening years, both by organic growth and acquisition.  The original distribution business was expanded by the purchase of Fowler Welch in 1994 and Coolchain Ltd in 1999.  Renamed Fowler Welch Coolchain, the group's distribution business is now one of the UK's largest chilled distribution operations with a turnover in excess of £120 million per annum.

Channel Express (Air Services) Ltd built its business operating freighter aircraft for the European overnight express parcel industry, primarily United Parcel Service, Federal Express and TNT. It has also developed since 1982 a long term relationship with Britain's Royal Mail. In 2003 the company formed a joint venture with Titan Airways named Postal Air Network Ltd (PAN). PAN was awarded a seven year contract to operate 16 "Quick Change" Jet aircraft for the Royal Mail. To service this operation, the company owns seven Boeing 737-300 "Quick Change" aircraft and one Boeing 737-300 Freighter. These aircraft operate for Royal Mail at night and passenger services during the day.

Channel Express (Air Services) was renamed and established passenger services on 12 February 2003 at Leeds Bradford International Airport, which is now the Airline's and Dart Group's headquarters. Other UK operating hubs are Manchester Airport, Belfast International Airport, Blackpool International Airport, Edinburgh Airport and Newcastle Airport from which services are operated to over 40 European Leisure destinations. concentrates its services from airports in the North of England and operates to over 40 European destinations.