An upstart ultra-low-cost-carrier is reportedly in the process of raising additional capital. The, as yet unnamed, Switzerland-based, long-haul budget airline, headed by two aviation industry insiders and a current Ryanair pilot, is expected to focus transatlantic routes between North America and Europe and could begin service as early as next year.
Transatlantic passengers could soon have a new option when it comes to choosing among budget airlines. A group of industry insiders led by a current Ryanair pilot is said to be pursuing capital to start an ultra-low-cost-carrier (ULCC) to be based at EuroAirport Basel Mulhouse Freiburg (EAP, MLH, BSL). The entrepreneurs behind the tentatively-named “Swiss-Skies” say the airline could launch as early as next summer.
The prospective airline will mirror some of the most successful business practices of long-haul budget airlines such as Norwegian Air Shuttle and WOW Air. Although the budget carrier’s founders have not yet settled on a name, a detailed business plan calls for entering the market through underserved international airports such as Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG). Like its predecessors, the new ULCC will rely on “un-bundling” amenities to help maintain low fares while protecting profit margins. Plans call for the new airline to fly only one model of aircraft to help keep maintenance costs under budget.
The choice of EuroAirport Basel Mulhouse Freiburg (EAP, MLH, BSL) also gives the upstart carrier an early advantage in enticing Europe-bound, budget-minded air travelers. The airport is partially encompassed within the borders of three European nations (France, Switzerland and Germany) – which also accounts for the airport’s unwieldy moniker and three unique airport codes.
“We have a full network prepared, but because of the competition we don’t want it in the press right now,” co-founder Armin Bovensiepen, who previous worked at Air Berlin and Austrian Airlines, told The Financial Times.
Bovensiepen confessed, however, that there will be no destinations within the U.K. included in that top-secret network. The three earliest investors agreed that potential volatility resulting from contentious Brexit negotiations makes Britain a no-go – at least for the time being.
“We want to see what is going to happen with the agreements on aviation after Brexit,” co-founder Alvaro Oliveira, who currently also works as an independent contractor for Ryanair as a part-time pilot, told the newspaper.
The soon-to-launch carrier hopes to take delivery of 16 Airbus A321neo aircraft within its first two years of operation. The ambitious plans call for expanding that fleet to at least 38 A321 planes within five years.