Europe May Be Getting a New Budget Airline (With a Ryanair Pilot at the Helm)

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by Hugh Morris, The Telegraph, September 10, 2018

A part-time Ryanair pilot is looking to launch a new budget airline in Switzerland, offering cheap transatlantic flights by next summer.

The mooted carrier does not yet have a name but its architects are attempting to raise at least $100 million under the working title Swiss Skies.

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Alvaro Oliveira, an entrepreneur who does shifts for Ryanair on a self-employed basis, is working with three other industry veterans to launch an airline that would operate out of Basel, serving destinations in the US, Asia, the Middle East and Brazil, from a number of European airports in a “point-to-point” system.

The founders, however, do not currently plan any flights to the UK, owing to the uncertainty over Brexit and a competitive industry, according to the Financial Times . Cincinnati has been mentioned as one of the American destinations. Mr Oliveira said flying to the city, which like Basel has a large health sector, was currently “a nightmare”.

“We have a full network prepared but because of the competition we don’t want it in the press right now,” Armin Bovensiepen, one of the founders, with experience at Air Berlin and Austrian Airlines, told the newspaper.

Swiss Skies, the founders have said, could launch in mid-2019 and be nearly a third cheaper than its rival airlines.

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The move has raised eyebrows in an increasingly competitive industry that has seen a number of collapses in recent years, including Monarch and Air Berlin. SkyWork, a small, Swiss regional carrier, ceased operations last month due to economic reasons.

Alex Paterson, an analyst at Investec, however, told the paper: “There is undoubtedly potential in this area. The [low-cost, long haul] models are less well tested but would suggest that if you can use new aircraft well and have an efficient cost base, it is possible to start with a niche and then grow.”

It is understood the airline will use just one aircraft model, the Airbus A321neo, also favoured by EasyJet, and has plans to have a fleet of 38 by 2023.

According to anna.aero, the aviation new website, Europe has the highest number of start-up airlines, but also the most failures. It said 79 new airlines began life in 2017, while 25 went out of business.

Now-defunct airlines include Fly Kiss, Sea Air and Citywing.

At a glance | Every airline failure in the last decade 

This article was written by Hugh Morris from The Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected].

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