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Maersk Air
Maersk Logo.png
Maerskair [1]
Founded 1969
Ceased operations 2005
Hubs Copenhagen Airport, Denmark
Fleet size 18
Company slogan "Fly as you like"
Headquarters Dragør Municipality, Denmark
Key people Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller

Maersk Air was a Danish low-fare airline, based in Dragør, Dragør Municipality;[2] Maersk was part of the A.P. Moller-Maersk Group. It operated from 1969 to 2005, when it was bought by Icelandic investment group Fons Eignarhaldsfélag and subsequently merged with their other Danish acquisition the same year, Sterling European Airlines. The new company changed name to Sterling Airlines, and one month later it was sold to the Icelandic FL Group, which owns Icelandair as well as 16.8% of EasyJet.



A Fokker F-27 in 1976
A Boeing 720 in 1980
Passengers boarding a Maersk Air UK Canadair RJ200, operating for BA Express, at Amsterdam Schiphol in 2000

The A.P. Moller-Maersk Group began to investigate opportunities to expand into airline operations in the mid-1960s. With the company's strong profile and experience in international merchant shipping since the beginning of the 20th century, and the Group's many other transport activities, air freight was seen as the next step in the progression of the company. However, as Danish law precluded chartered air freight in Denmark (a policy not rescinded until 1987), Maersk instead took over the Falck Air company in 1969, which operated a scheduled service between Copenhagen and Odense. Maersk Air was born, and three new Fokker F-27 aircraft were purchased for the service, and charter, operations.

Services to Vágar in the Faroe Islands started in 1971, and in the same year Maersk, together with Scandinavian Airlines System and Cimber Air, agreed to form 'DANAIR' to act as an umbrella company to co-ordinate Danish domestic services.

Boeing 707 aircraft were purchased in 1973 to allow for expansion in the charter holiday market, and at the same time the company acquired its first helicopters to serve the North Sea oil fields from Esbjerg. The Maersk corporate identity of sky blue and the seven-pointed star logo. The Maersk name is applied to the aircraft for the first time. However, throughout this time, financial results remained disappointing, and major restructuring was necessary in the early 1980s to ensure the airline's survival.

Boeing 737s were introduced in 1976, and the company became a test case for the Boeing, which evaluated the performance of the airline's 737 on the short runway at Vágar Airport in the Faroes. Maersk would also be a test company for Boeing with the 737-300 in 1985, and the 737-700 in 1995.

The first international routes were established in the early 1980s, first to Stavanger in Norway and to Southend-on-Sea in the United Kingdom. Maersk also took full ownership of Copenhagen Airport Services (now Novia) in 1989, previously having been a shareholder. A cargo centre was established in Copenhagen, initially with German carrier Lufthansa, however Maersk now operate the facility on their own.

The 1990s saw considerable expansion in the number of European destinations served, and the fleet grew to accommodate. Maersk also purchased 49% of Estonian Air, but this was later divested in 2003.

A United Kingdom subsidiary "Maersk Air Ltd" was formed during 1993, following the de-merger of Brymon European Airways based at Birmingham Airport and Plymouth Airport, and was initially equipped with a fleet of BAC 1-11s and Jetstream 31's. These were eventually replaced by a new fleet of five Boeing 737-500 and six Bombardier CRJ-200s. A BAe Jetstream 41 was also added to the fleet at one point to operate the service to Newcastle. Maersk Air Ltd operated as a British Airways franchise in full BA livery. A number of routes were operated to European destinations including Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. This unit was subsequently sold to its management but ceased operations in 2004.

A new livery was introduced in 2004, consisting of a white forward fuselage, deep blue rear fuselage (diagonally separated) with the sky blue at the bottom rear of the fuselage (again, separated diagonally). Maersk is written in bold white titles down the tailfin, the star logo moving next to the deep blue Maersk titled on the forward upper fuselage. This replaced the all-over sky blue with deep blue stripe that had been used since the 1970s.

Services to the Faroe Islands, operated almost since conception, ended in 2004, replaced by a code sharing agreement with Faroese carrier Atlantic Airways. Code sharing is also in place with Cimber Air, which took over most of Maersk's domestic services and those to Norway and Sweden.

On 30 June 2005, A.P. Moeller-Maersk agreed to sell Maersk Air to Fons Eignarhaldsfélag, and in September 2005 the new owners moved Maersk's assets into their other acquisition the same year, Sterling European Airlines, and changed the company's name to Sterling Airlines. One month later they sold the new entity to Icelandair's owners, the FL Group.


A Boeing 737 with the last livery

The Maersk Air fleet consisted of the following aircraft when it was merged with Sterling:


  1. ^ Airline Codes retrieved 3 December 2006
  2. ^ "World Airline Directory." Flight International. 30 March-4 April 2004. 36.

External links



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