Airline Startup Of The Week: Air Oceania

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Future low-cost carrier Air Oceania has just appointed its president and incorporated as an airline. It is looking to acquire the Airbus A220 to fly routes around Vanuatu, Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, and French Polynesia.

Airbus A220
The airline is looking at using the A220 for its fleet. Photo: Airbus

What are the details?

This week we are taking a look at Air Oceania, a new possible flag carrier of New Caledonia. If you don’t know, New Caledonia is a very small island nation, technically a colony of France, located off the east coast of Australia. In fact, it is the closest country to the Australia east coast cities, closer than New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

This is not the first airline to be based out of New Caledonia, with three currently operating routes from the tiny colony. The primary competition is Aircalin.

However, Air Oceania believes that there is a market for one more. They want to develop a lucrative trade between the island and several nearby destinations as an exclusive tourist low-cost carrier.

Additionally, it is worth mentioning that this airline won’t actually be based on the main island, but the other area of the archipelago known as the Loyalty Islands (which are even more remote and deeper into the Pacific).

ETOPS-A220
The Airbus A220 ticks many boxes for the carrier. Image: Airbus

What are its fleet plans?

So far, the airline has been rather quiet about its plans. All we know is that they are planning to be a low-cost carrier across the Pacific region. They are likely considering the Airbus A220, after Airbus flew out the hired airBaltic A220 to the Pacific for them and other airlines like Qantas to check out.

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qantas-airbus-a220
There were some interesting stops on the Airbus A220 demonstration tour. Source: Airbus.

The aircraft is proposing to fly to other smaller islands like Fiji and Vanuatu, before moving on to New Zealand and Australia. Likely the latter two countries will be a big drawcard for the low-cost carrier.

At this stage, it is too early to tell how many aircraft they may order nor when they would expect to get their first. Additionally, we don’t know if they will rent an aircraft like the Boeing 737 or the Airbus A319 in the meantime to get a running start.

But some of you might be scratching your heads and wondering, can such a small island actually support not one international carrier, not two domestic carriers, but three international, domestic and low-cost carriers?

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The president of the province (the Loyalty Islands), Mr. Jacques Lalie said to RNZ that the “project was not directed against Air Caledonie or Aircalin, which are the territory’s domestic and international airlines.”. The airline itself is believed to be funded by the province itself. They are also partnering up with InterContinental to build and operate several new resorts on their island chain which the A220 fleet will serve.

What do you think? Will you be flying on the new airline when it launches? Let us know in the comments.

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