Industry

Published on April 12th, 2021 | by Alan Dwyer

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Avolon to Lease A330’s to flypop

Dublin based Avolon has signed an agreement to lease Airbus A330-300 aircraft to a new British start-up airline flypop. Flypop is expected to start flight operations later this year from the UK to South Asia and secondary cities in India. The flypop team has been in discussions with many leasing companies over the past few months. Avolon has offered the most competitive rate and a pipeline of aircraft into 2023 according to a spokesperson for the new airline.

Commenting on the deal, (Nino) Navdip Singh Judge, CEO & Principal of flypop said, “As a twin-engine double-aisle wide-body that can carry over 400 passengers, the A330-300 aircraft will deliver everything we want to offer our flypop passengers, especially the lowest seat prices to India. With this lease deal, we have been able to submit our AOC license application to the UK Civil Aviation Authority and expect our first flights to commence by October. And many thanks to the UK Government’s Future Fund for its financial assistance, which has enabled us to raise further funding. Increased flight connectivity, especially on new routes, will create much needed economic benefits for both the UK and India.”

Also commenting was Martyn Lewis, Senior VP – Marketing (Europe, Middle East & Africa) at Avolon, who added “We look forward to working with flypop on its exciting imminent launch of flights between the UK and India. We will work with flypop on its future growth strategy and expansion of routes and provide further aircraft as required. At launch, flypop will commence operations with one aircraft and plans to add an extra aircraft every six months. It’s not every day we help launch a new British long-haul scheduled carrier.”

Throughout the pandemic, flypop has been busy preparing for launch later this year, when international travel resumes to India. In the last few months, the team has grown significantly, including a number of new hires who all bring to flypop a diverse wealth of aviation experience and knowledge from many different fields. These include Charlie Clifton, ex-Director of Ryanair, who has joined flypop as Senior Operations Adviser and Board Member who points out “The incumbents have been badly wounded after 18 months without any revenue but plenty of costs and debt. flypop, on the other hand, has avoided any exposure to the pandemic and consequently is in the unique and fortunate position to extract maximum advantage from the lower costs resulting from the crisis. flypop’s cost of entry is much lower now than it would have been pre-Covid-19. Low fares always stimulate greater demand. The sector is currently on the floor, but the market will return strongly.”

The idea for this new airline came from Nino first explored the idea of an airline to serve India with non-stop low-cost flights way back in 2003. The air services agreement between the UK and India at the time made it impossible to obtain any flight slots at Heathrow or even to gain permission to fly to India’s second cities. However, a new air service agreement between the UK and India now allowed a certain number of flights per week to India’s second cities, and India had invested heavily in upgrading the airports of Amritsar and Ahmedabad to international standards. After working closely with Tony Fernandes (Group CEO Air Asia) for 5 years at the Lotus F1 Team, Nino realised that the Air Asia X Low Cost Long Haul business model was ideally suited to flights from Europe to South Asia with a maximum flight time of 10 hours. For the nearly three million UK nationals of the Indian diaspora this now provided for the first time an affordable and convenient option for those who wanted to visit friend and relatives back “home”.

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