London, England, April 1, 2011 – London Executive Aviation (LEA) is today celebrating the company’s 15th anniversary, looking back on sustained success through dramatic years for global aviation.
Founded on April 1 1996 with just one aircraft, LEA has rapidly grown to become one of Europe’s largest and most respected executive aircraft operators, now flying a diverse charter fleet of 25 jets. Starting out at the company’s headquarters at Stapleford Airport, LEA today operates seven bases around London and holds a worldwide air operator’s certificate (AOC).
Chief executive Patrick Margetson-Rushmore says: “I feel very proud when I reflect on what we have achieved. We’ve operated over 20,000 charter flights, for more than 2,000 customers, flying 12m miles in total. Our aircraft fly to nearly 300 locations around the world every year.
“Just like LEA, European business aviation has matured immensely in the past 15 years, developing into a cohesive cross-border industry. The launch of the European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (EBACE) in 2001 has undoubtedly been a catalyst for that progress. Perhaps what our industry needs next is even more unified cooperation on a truly European level.
“And in the next 15 years, wouldn’t it be great to see the business aviation industry finally embraced and recognised by the wider community for its true worth and contribution to the global economy?”
The pioneering spirit of Margetson-Rushmore and LEA’s managing director George Galanopoulos has been vital to the company’s success.
Galanopoulos says: “We were the first company to introduce the Cessna Citation Excel to the UK charter market in 2001. In 2008, we launched Europe’s first light jet fleet, with five Cessna Citation Mustangs, and in 2010 we became the first European charter operator of the Embraer Legacy 650. And we were the first business jet operator to be based at London City Airport.”
But both Galanopoulos and Margetson-Rushmore agree the proudest moment of all remains the day they launched the company, with the very first European Union AOC to be issued. “There were nine months of very hard work and very late nights leading up to that day,” says Margetson-Rushmore, “but it was worth it.”
“The global aviation industry has certainly experienced dramatic times since that day,” adds Galanopoulos, “not least the recession from which we are finally emerging. But at LEA we have always continued, as we continue now, to employ new pilots and operations staff and to add aircraft to our fleet. If the next 15 years are as much fun, and bring as many pleasant memories, we can hardly wait!”
Images of London Executive Aviation chief executive Patrick Margetson-Rushmore and managing director George Galanopoulos can be found here.