Saturday, July 03, 2021

A new low-cost airline is planning flights from London Stansted to India – but when will it fly?

The newest competitor in the long-haul, low-cost airline arena has secured a U.K. base. Now the big question is, when will it actually be able to fly?

Flypop, the U.K.-based startup international budget carrier with plans to connect the United Kingdom with India, has confirmed London Stansted Airport (STN) will be its U.K. hub. The decision to use Stansted (STN) was reportedly made because the airline anticipates strong demand for direct flights to so-called ‘secondary cities’ of India.

Stansted Airport also offers the extra convenience of rail lines that connect to London and the Midlands.

“London Stansted Airport has a history of being the base for low-cost carriers and we feel it is the perfect fit for our passengers,” said Flypop CEO Navdip Singh Judge. “Flypop is focused on serving the Indian and South Asian diaspora communities living in the UK and their visiting friends and relatives, for whom London Stansted is the most convenient airport location.”

The airline will be using a fleet of A330-300 double-aisle wide-body jets for its initial U.K. flights. It has pledged to offer the most affordable direct flights from the UK to South Asia’s “second cities” beginning with India. With its aircraft secured, Flypop hopes to launch its first flights this year. At launch, the carrier is expected to fly two routes from London Stansted (STN) to both Amritsar (ATQ) and Ahmedabad (AMD). Eventually, it wants to launch services to Kolkata and Goa as well.

It’s not clear exactly when Flypop’s first flights will take off, though. India remains firmly entrenched on the UK’s red list for travel, banning tourists from India, and sending returning British citizens and residents into strict hotel-managed quarantine. With the highly transmissible Delta variant still active in both India and the United Kingdom, it could be some time before India is removed from that list.

Flypop is certainly aware that its launch plans are subject to the pandemic and are at the mercy of how both countries control any further outbreaks. On the Flypop website’s FAQ section, the answer to the question, “When can I fly?” is, “Subject to covid restrictions, we look forward to welcoming you onboard later this year.”

Not quite a specific answer, but probably the most realistic one they can provide at the moment.

In the meantime, the airline is in negotiations with second city airports across India and says it will confirm its first Indian airport hubs soon.

02/07/21 Mike Avila/Points Guy

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