MIAMI – Today in Aviation, Virtual airline Brighton City Airways was founded in 2012. The company was conceived by entrepreneurs and pilots Jonathan Candelon and Neil Laughton. 

The pair chose Shoreham Airport (ESH), West Sussex as the base for their new operation. ESH is the oldest airport in the UK and the oldest purpose-built passenger airport in the world after opening its doors in 1910. Its art-deco terminal building and period features have featured in various Hollywood blockbusters. 

The arrival of Brighton City Airways coincided with the renaming of Shoreham Airport to Brighton City Airport. Initial flights to Paris Pontoise Airport (POX) commenced on March 6, 2013. 

ESH’s airport was designed by R Stavers Hessell Tiltman and today is Grade II listed. (Photo: Jeff Tomlinson / Propeller memorial outside Shoreham Airport)

An Exciting New Service


Speaking at the carrier’s launch Jonathan Candelon said, “Neil and I are excited to bring this new service to the Brighton area. We are not only making it easy and affordable for passengers to enjoy Paris for day trips, weekends and short or long breaks, but we are also bringing French visitors over to discover the South of England and its attractions.” 

As a virtual airline, flights were operated by Van Air Europe (V9). A 19-seat Let L-410 Turbolet was used on the twice-daily service. However, from the outset, there had been difficulties in customs and immigration facilities at POX.

This meant that flights were forced to land at alternative French airports in order for passengers to clear customs. This impacted the airline significantly and operations ceased on May 6, 2013.


Featured image: Operations began with a single Let L-410 Turbolet flown by Czech carrier Van Air Europe. (Photo: MercerMJ, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)