8/31/2002: Manx Airlines Ceases Operations

This is the story of Isle of Man-based Manx Airlines (JE), which ceased operations in 2002 after two decades of service in the UK and Europe.



August 31, 2023

DALLAS - Today in Aviation, Isle of Man-based Manx Airlines (JE) ceased operations in 2002 after two decades of service in the UK and Europe.

The airline was founded in early 1982 as a joint venture between British Midland (BD) and Air UK (UK). Both airlines had struggled to make a profit with their Isle of Man (IOM) operations and decided to combine their efforts.

With a fleet consisting of a single Vickers Viscount and two Fokker F27s, operations commenced on November 1, 1982. Initially, flights were offered to London Heathrow (LHR), Belfast, Glasgow, Liverpool, and Manchester.

The F27s were soon replaced with a pair of Short 360s in March 1984. JE joined the jet age in December 1987 when it received its first BAe 146-200. It would go on to operate many British-built aircraft, including the BAe ATP, Jetstream 31 and 41, and BAC 1-11.

The Vickers Viscount was used by Manx Airlines between 1982 and 1988 when it was replaced by the BAe ATP. Photo: Ken Fielding, CC BY-SA 3.0

European Expansion Plans

In March 1991 the carrier created a subsidiary called Manx Airlines Europe to operate routes from the UK to Europe.

Its initial hub at Cardiff was soon followed by additional mini-hubs across the UK. By 1993 the airline was operating a fleet of 16 aircraft, flying 70 routes and carrying in excess of 1.2 million passengers.

Manx became a franchise partner of British Airways (BA) in 1994. Two years later it changed its name to British Regional Airlines (TH) to highlight its growing presence outside of the Isles of Man.

British Airways went on to purchase TH in March 2001 for £78m. The carrier was then merged with Brymon Airways to form British Airways CitiExpress in March 2002.

The BAe 146 was introduced on to the carrier's flagship service to London Heathrow in December 1987. (Photo: Pedro Aragao, CC BY-SA 3.0 GFDL, via Wikimedia Commons)

Featured image: Manx Airlines welcomed the first BAe ATP (G-UIET) to its fleet in October 1988. (Photo: Aero Icarus from Zürich, Switzerland, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)