MIAMI – Today in Aviation, Palma de Mallorca (PMI)-based Futura International Airways (FH) abruptly ceased operations in 2008, with the loss of over 1,200 jobs.

Despite carrying 3.7 million passengers in 2007, the airline had accumulated debts of approximately €50m. Despite attempting to restructure with a view to relaunching operations, its Air Operators Certificate (AOC) was subsequently revoked by the Spanish Aviation Authority.

Leasing company GE Commercial Aviation Services (GECAS) quickly terminated lease agreements for 15 aircraft, due to non-timely payment of installments. At the time of its collapse, the airline operated a fleet consisting of two Boeing 737-300s, 11 -400s, 12 -800s, and two -900ERs.

Futura International commenced operations with a fleet of Boeing 737-400s in 1990. (Photo: Torsten Maiwald (GFDL 1.2 http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html or GFDL 1.2 http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html), via Wikimedia Commons)

Formation


Initially known as CHIASA (Compania Hispano Irlandesa de Aviacion) and renamed before operations commenced, Futura was created in 1989.

The airline was a joint venture between Aer Lingus (EI), Air Belton, and Santander banking group. EI went on to sell its majority stake in 2002 and the remainder of its shares in October 2007.

Operations commenced on February 17, 1990, with a flight from PMI to Manchester (MAN). In May 2006 the carrier launched an all-cargo venture. Using two Boeing 737-300Fs, daily service was operated between mainland Spain and the Canary Islands.

The airline operated a variety of 737s during its history, including the -400 which had previously flown for Novair (EN) and British Midland (BD). (Photo: Aero Icarus from Zürich, Switzerland, CC BY-SA 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Developments


Futur International then set up an Irish subsidiary in 2007, Futura Gael (F0). This allowed the airline to gain the necessary rights to operate charter flights from Ireland to destinations outside of the European Union.

In May 2008 FH also became the first European operator of the Boeing 737-900ER. This followed the arrival of two examples from GECAS.

During its history, FH developed a large charter and also a small scheduled network for tour operators and other airlines in Europe. It also offered wet-lease and ad-hoc charter contracts.


Featured image: Futura International Airways became the first operator in Europe of the Boeing 737-900ER in May 2008. (Photo: Ken Fielding https://www.flickr.com/photos/kenfielding, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons)