Chris Foyle died yesterday in London.
You may not know who Chris was, or meant
to air cargo, but should.
Chris was a vital force to our business
during the era of another great man, named Robert Arendal, who just turned
84, (see below).
Foyle was born in London in January 1943
at the height of World War II, and was educated at Radley College.
Wife Catherine, three daughters and one
son survive him.
Chris was a raconteur. He served as Chairman
of UK’s much beloved Foyles Book Shop at Charing Cross Road, in
Even though he pivoted from the store and
went into aviation, he kept the business going during the advent of Amazon.
Chris was delightful and interested in everything
including aviation, skiing, history, archeology and genealogy.
In 1978 he founded Air Foyle at Luton Airport.
In 1989, Air Foyle was appointed as the worldwide GSA for the Antonov
Design Bureau of Kyiv and became responsible for the marketing, sales,
commercial and operational management of Antonov's fleet of AN-124 heavy
In 1994, Air Foyle won a contract to operate
one Lockheed L-100 Hercules and one Ilyushin Il-76 aircraft on permanent
24/7 standby for Oil Spill Response Limited.
Air Foyle and then its sister passenger
airline Air Foyle Passenger Airlines until 2006 operated a variety of
aircraft for a number of airline customers.
While serving as Chairman of Air Foyle Cargo,
Chris was an organizer of the comeback of The International Air Cargo
In fact, it was Chris that mapped out that
historic first gathering at the famous In & Out Club in London, which
brought TIACA back.
I recall standing next to Chris on the Club
balcony, while down in the courtyard the Queens Regiment performed the
He was over the moon at that moment and
everybody felt it and it raised the roof of that old joint.
Chris also was active promoting the TransRussia
Cargo Show at The VVR in Moscow in the early 1990s!
Foyle was determined as an original TIACA organizer and builder to make
the fledgling TIACA Group a success.
“Chris Foyle was a gentleman and an
uninhibited supporter of TIACA,” said former TIACA Secretary General
Daniel Fernandez (left).
“His fine hand was always there for
us and every TIACA member.
“He was the best,” Daniel declared.
“I am really saddened to hear about
Chris Foyle’s passing,” said Ram Menen, the man who built
“He was a good friend and an amazing
man, a true gentleman and a pioneer in air cargo.
“He was a philanthropist with numerous
diverse interests. Chris was also a past Chairman of TIACA and a Hall
“Even during his last days talking
to him was always very motivating and inspirational.
“Our prayers are with Cathy and the
whole family, to give them strength to bear their loss.
“May the good Lord bless him and may
his soul rest in peace.”
Neil Hansford, Chairman at Strategic Aviation
Solutions (right) said:
“From a small Luton-based broker Chris
Foyle made an enormous step when he hosted TNT into the skies of Europe.
“Since TNT was deemed as "foreign"
Chris initially hosted 11 BAe 146 freighters on his AOC as part of the
TNT network which was the model for aircraft domiciled in France, Sweden,
Italy, Spain and Hungary in the same structure.
“This gave TNT a head start prior
to the formation of TNT Airways after TNT ownership changed.
“Chris was also involved in the pioneering
Cityjet resurrection in Ireland before its sale to Air France.
“On this foundation Chris then had
the capacity to do the Antonov adventure.
“Chris regrettably is the first of
the pioneers of the TNT network development to pass with both Kevin Sullivan
and Tom Storey pre-deceasing him.
“Vale Christopher Foyle an industry
As an advocate for fair bilateral negotiations,
in 1998 Air Foyle joined with the three other principal British cargo
airlines to form the British Cargo Airline Alliance with Chris Foyle chairing
the organization. The group lobbied the United Kingdom government to ensure
that any imbalances in favor of the U.S. cargo carriers were addressed
during the U.S./UK bilateral negotiations for so-called ‘Open Skies’.
Chris teamed up with Camille Allaz and TIACA
to publish ‘The History of Air Cargo and Air Mail.’ Later
he created a photographic history of all-British aircraft from 1945 with
Leo Marriott, and then translated Andrei Sovenko’s ‘Wings
over the Planet – a History of the first 30 years of Antonov commercial
charter operations’ from Russian into English.
Chris Foyle was one of the few cargo bosses
you will ever meet with a pilot’s license, which he achieved in
He was the real deal, a swashbuckler if
there ever was one.
He will be missed.
Happy landings always, Chris!