Iona National Airways


Operated from 1956 to Dec 1994

Country of Origin – Ireland

Founder/Director – Hugh Cahill/Pearse Cavill

Originally starting out as an aircraft repair and servicing company, Iona would go through two distinct phases during its life. Beginning in 1930, the first incarnation would last for roughly eight years and would from the outset see Hugh Cavill dashing from his automotive workshop to a field a few miles away where he would service aircraft. His early attempts to gain an operating licence were thwarted however, although as the site became busier the authorities could no longer refuse Cahill’s request and subsequently, certification was issued. As a result, this would witness the official opening of Kildonan Aerodrome, the first commercial airfield in Ireland. From here would go on to run Iona National Taxi Services, Iona National Airways and the Irish Aero Club with DH Moth and Fox Moth equipment before ceasing operations just before the outbreak of war.

Then in 1956, Hugh Cavill’s son Pearse would usher in the family’s return to aviation, initially with the Irish Aero Club which operated three, former RAF Chipmunks although it wouldn’t be until 1970 that taxi operations and private charters began, albeit on a small scale with a Cessna twin. However, in much the same way that Iona had started life, its end would also be a rather frenetic affair. In June 1988, it procured its first commercial type in the form of an Embraer Bandeirante and would slowly expand its fleet to a total of six aircraft in 1990, most of them being leases. It was in the same year that Iona would begin operating cargo services to SEN, although these were mostly comprised of small courier items rather than bulky freight. From 1990 through to 1992, the airline would fly into Southend nightly during the week, while putting in day appearances on Sundays only.


Iona National Airways fleet from 1990 to 1992

Fairchild FH-227

EI-CAZ* – 9/91 to 9/92

Sub-leased from Malmo Aviation

F-GCLQ* – 4/90 to 10/90

Leased from Transport Aerien Transregional

F-GCPT* – 6/91 to 9/92

Leased from Touraine Air Transport

F-GCPX*– 1/91 to 1/92

Leased from Transport Aerien Transregional

F-GCPZ – 9/90 to 12/90

Leased from Transport Aerien Transregional


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