Wednesday, May 26, 2021

The Brave New Airlines Starting Up In A Pandemic

While some might say that launching a new airline in the middle of a pandemic is crazy person territory, there’s no doubt that there’s a small segment of entrepreneurs that don’t subscribe to that school of thought. New airlines are announcing launches with surprising regularity, but what makes these businesses think they can succeed where so many others are struggling?

Speaking at today’s Future Travel Experience/APEX Virtual Expo, four of the industry’s ambitious startup airline CEOs got together to discuss just this. Nino (Navdip) Singh Judge, CEO of flypop, Matteo Bonecchi, CEO of Ego Airways, Birgir Jonsson, CEO of PLAY and Olivier Arrindell, CEO of Ava Airways, explained how they believe they are not only in a good position to succeed, but are actually entering the market with a competitive advantage over their peers.

A mark of the pandemic has been the high levels of debt accrued by legacy airlines. While support from governments and financial institutions has inevitably prevented bankruptcies, it has left aviation with a bloated level of debt. IATA estimates the industry now owes some $651 billion, up $220 billion in the last year alone.

The airline startups believe this fact puts them at a competitive advantage. Nino Judge, flypop’s CEO, is looking to connect secondary cities in the UK with similar locations in India. He likened it to arriving at a battle fresh, while the enemy was tired and worn. He said, “It’s in these crises you always have opportunities. And I think the opportunity there is to start afresh. Can you imagine going into battle – and let’s be honest, aviation is a war – imagine going in with fresh troops and the best equipment all while undercutting your opposition, who have travelled for a year and a half, incurring losses, all the way to your battlefield.

“It’s just never been done before. So that’s what we’re doing; we’re getting to the battleground with fresh feet.”

25/05/21 Joanna Bailey/Simple Flying

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