Project Fresson takes its name from a Scottish pioneer, Captain Ernest Edmund (Ted) Fresson. Working in China as an engineer before and after World War One, during which he trained to be a pilot in Canada, he returned to the UK in 1927, giving joy rides to the public in what was still a highly novel form of transport, using improvised “airfields”.
Those flights took on a more formal form in 1933 when Fresson set up Highland Airways, serving the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, with the very first service connecting Inverness, Wick and Kirwall. The following year he was awarded the very first Royal Mail domestic airmail contract. During World War Two Fresson advised the Air Ministry on the positioning of military airfields in Scotland.
After the war, in 1947, the airline, now part of Scottish Airways, was incorporated into the newly-nationalised British European Airways operation.
Fresson, who died in 1963, is remembered at Inverness Airport, where there is a statue of him in the arrivals area, and also at the Highland Aviation Museum where there is a display about his work.