From social media stars to the Mexican military, everyone wants to run an airline
There they are two steps of getting the airline industry back to its pre-covid height. First of all, data shows that the 1.1bn of seats sold worldwide in July and August were only slightly lower than levels in 2019. business models or special routes of course. Entrepreneurs are once again drawn to a business that has long offered the glamor and excitement of a moth in a flame.
One way to skyrocket is to put a fresh coat of paint on an obsolete brand. On August 20 Monarch Airlines, a British carrier that went bankrupt in 2017, said it would begin carrying passengers in 2024, although details of its plans are scarce. The government of Ghana, whose flag carrier collapsed in 2010, is also launching a national airline. They are doing so in partnership with Ashanti Airlines, a company that is not used to running such a service on a continent whose carriers have lost a staggering $3.5bn between them in the three years ago.
In an industry where most companies struggle to make a profit, new entrants with managers with a proven track record may have an advantage. But the Mexican government recently announced that Mexicana, another carrier that went out of business in 2010, will resume services later this year – under the control of the Mexican military, an organization with little experience in the field except to run an air force. Global Airlines, founded by James Asquith, a British social media influencer and former banker, recently bought four second-hand ones. a380 superjumbos at bargain prices, promising to make transatlantic travelers “feel like a million dollars”, even in economy class. It can struggle: used a380s are in abundance because other airlines prefer to operate much newer, smaller, cheaper drag jets.
Other businesses that operate specific routes can be just as difficult to maintain. Bermudair will this month begin business-class-only flights between its island home and the United States. Later this year Beyond plans to begin rapid expansion by taking passengers between its base in the Maldives and Dubai and Delhi, with a “private jet” experience on refurbished narrow-body aircraft. Several airlines have tried over the years to operate business class only services. Only La Compagnie, which flies between America, Europe and the Caribbean, has survived.
Red Way, a startup based in Lincoln, Nebraska, can be a warning. It was launched in June using the novel but false idea of handling marketing, ticket sales and baggage checks while outsourcing the flight to a charter airline. It stopped working on August 31. In June enclosed, a Swiss-based industry group, doubled its forecast for net profits for the world’s airlines in 2023 to $9.8bn. However, he notes, this is equivalent to $2.20 per passenger, or half a cup of coffee in Geneva. For new airlines it’s a question of whether that cup is half full or half empty.■
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