History of Capital Aviation

Capital Air Ambulance is a part of Capital Air Charter Ltd which was started by husband and wife team, Malcolm and Lisa Humphries working from their own home back in 1991. In those early days, our main activity was executive passenger flights and some aircraft chartered as medical air taxis. Capital’s first aircraft was a Cessna 421c owned by our Chairman Mr John Hunt.


Growth and development started quite soon and continued over the past 2 decades until the present day. Our main base was at Filton, near Bristol and, shortly after commencing operations, we added two PA31 aircraft to the AOC. Secondary bases soon opened in Chester and Teesside, but the Head Office is now in Exeter with recent outstations in East Midlands airport and Biggin Hill, as well as chartered air ambulance aircraft still based in Jersey and the Isle of Man.

Although much of the work was still executive passengers and freight, a gradual change from air taxi to complex air ambulance operations became ever more demanding. To meet the extra needs, Capital purchased its first Beech King Airs in and around 2005. We later realised that the future of the company was in operating these turboprops throughout Europe as dedicated air ambulance aircraft and serious thought was put into creating a bespoke and high quality service complete with its own bank of medical and nursing staff as well as enough top of the range medical equipment to fit out 3 air ambulance aircraft.

By December 2011, Lisa and Malcolm had recruited Dr Terry Martin, an internationally acclaimed expert in aeromedical services. He was employed on a part-time basis to build a complete service from the embryonic starting point of the existing fleet of air charter aircraft. Terry was soon joined by Flight Nurse Manager Gail Barkes, and two Flight Nurse Co-ordinators, Nicki Paver and Dominic Rose. The next 6 months was spent procuring and testing equipment and a multitude of other tasks necessary for establishing the type of quality service which was the dream of those involved.

Capital Air Ambulance was unofficially launched on 1st June 2012 and was an immediate success. The high workload took everyone by surprise but only to the extent that the entire team worked even harder to put all procedures and processes in place to run an ethical, safe and efficient service based on the cumulative expertise of Terry in the medical field, and both Lisa and Malcolm in the aviation sector.

By 2015, an 80% share of Capital Air Charter Ltd was bought by Rigby Group PLC who own and manage six airports , including Exeter. We are now part of a group that also includes our sister company, British International helicopters and whose core business is built around an international IT company and includes a chain of five star hotels and a management support company. Being part of Rigby Group has helped Capital to invest in new offices, move to a jet aircraft fleet, and supplement our medical capability by the purchase of state of the art equipment, and increasing the number of our core medical staff.