"The Home Of Eagle"
Eagle Aviation
Eagle Airways
Cunard Eagle
British Eagle
1948 to 1968

The History of....

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.


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