A start-up trade-friendly airline promising “generous” commission rates plans to start flights to Greece in 2017.
The as-yet unnamed no-frills airline is being set up by Malta-based airline broker Air X Charter. It plans to operate two 120-seat aircraft and fly from Gatwick and Bournemouth from May to October.
Chairman John Matthews said he believed Greece was currently under-served, but the choice of destinations would be based on agent feedback.
Seats, which could go on sale in mid‑June, will also be sold through direct channels, but Matthews hopes most will come through the trade. He plans to add four more aircraft in 2018.
Another start-up carrier, LoloFlights, was due to launch services to Greece this year in partnership with Air X but revealed last week it was cancelling the programme due to poor sales.
Matthews, who already runs a VIP service on other aircraft, said: “I want to challenge the low-cost sector on price and service. I want to bring back a bit of style, offer free meals and wine on board.”
The aircraft are Boeing 737-500 models from the early to late-90s.
Matthews said he owned his aircraft outright and the company had no debts. He also said he could keep costs down and commission rates high by retiring aircraft when they become liable for costly ‘D check’ maintenance overhauls.
“The check costs more than the aircraft, so when the D check is due we will ‘part-out’ the aircraft, build up the maintenance facility that we are acquiring, and then continue with the next aircraft,” he said.
“This means we can be very generous with our commissions.”
The company is recruiting staff for its office at Gatwick and will have a spare aircraft based at Bournemouth.
“I want [agents] to educate me on what they want so we can grow the airline around their needs.”
He added: “Nothing is written in stone. I’m saying to the trade, ‘you have an aircraft you can use’. If Gatwick isn’t the right airport then I will go with the masses.”
John Matthews can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org
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