W. R. Christopher Chris Foyle has been active in the aviation industry for 30 years. Although he was trained and worked in his family’s world renowned book store Foyles, his aviation career started when he began flying gliders at Dunstable while at
Air Foyle was founded modestly in 1978 with one second hand Piper Aztec that served cargo, passenger and aerial survey charters for the
In 1982 the company became the
After years of negotiation, in 1989 Chris Foyle initiated a partnership with Antonov Design Bureau of the then Soviet Union, and became the exclusive sales agent in the western world for the charter and lease of Antonov 124 giant freighters operated by the Antonov Design Bureau of Kiev. The fleet quickly grew to seven AN124 aircraft as well as two AN-22 (the world’s largest turboprop aircraft) and the only AN-225 six-engined monster, the biggest aircraft in the world, carrying unusually heavy and outsized cargo worldwide. Leased to Air Foyle under a UK Department of Transport permit, the AN-124 aircraft could be operated with British traffic rights worldwide. Air Foyle has carried an extraordinary variety of outsized cargo including a railway locomotive, fire fighting equipment to aid in putting out the fires in the Kuwait oil fields at the end of the Gulf War, yachts in the Americas Cup race, oil drilling equipment, bulldozers,
After four years’ experience with the Antonov 124, in 1993, Air Foyle branched out into the passenger business through Air Foyle Passenger Airlines which for seven years managed and operated aircraft for tour operators and airlines Sunseeker and easyJet, Colorair, Debonair, Air Scandic, Airworld and Virgin Express. Aircraft operated included Boeing 727 and 737 and Airbus A300 and A320.
In late 1993, Air Foyle obtained the prestigious contract from Oil Spill Response to provide Ilyushin IL-76 and Lockheed Hercules aircraft on permanent 24 hour standby ready to respond to an oil spill emergency anywhere in the world.
As an advocate for fair bilateral negotiations, in 1998 Air Foyle joined with three other principal British cargo airlines to form the British Cargo Airline Alliance chaired by Chris Foyle. The group lobbied the
In 1999 Air Foyle acquired control of CityJet, the Irish scheduled passenger airline, as it was about to go into receivership. Having commenced its turnaround, Air Foyle subsequently sold his controlling shareholding to Air
Chris Foyle was Chairman of TIACA in 1997 – 1998 and continues as a Trustee to provide his support and expertise to the air cargo industry. In addition, he published the English version of “The History of Air Cargo and Air Mail from the 18th Century” by Camille Allaz in association with TIACA. He has been a frequent speaker at conferences in the
He is a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, a Liveryman of the Guild of Air Pilots, a Freeman of the City of