South Pacific startup Fly Coralway aims to provide increased connectivity across the region’s scattered islands, with plans to begin operations by mid-2021. The airline is the brainchild of duo Louis Alphonse and Olivier Bôle and is set to operate flights across French Polynesia, Wallis, Samoa, Fiji, and New Caledonia.
How the airline came about
Aviation experts Louis Alphonse and Olivier Bôle recognized the poor connectivity in the region and decided there was clear potential. Both men have decades of experience in the aviation industry and have been working closely with authorities to establish the new carrier. While the South Pacific region is home to several small, local-minded airlines, getting between islands can involve lengthy stopovers and multiple connecting flights.
Established in 2019 as WF Aviations, the carrier derives its present name from the old ‘Coral Route’ of the 1950s. This mythical route connected New Zealand to Tonga, Fiji, Samoa, Tahiti, and the Cook Islands via flying boat. Operated by Tasmanian Empire Airways Limited (TEAL), the 30-hour island-hopping odyssey soon developed a reputation for adventure and wonder.
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What travelers can expect
Fly Coralway plans to operate a dual-class system to attract local passengers alongside higher-paying premium customers. In the premium class, travelers will enjoy perks such as free WiFi, improved meal and drink options, and priority check-in before boarding. The economy class will adopt a ‘pay per use’ model, much like low-cost carriers, with an emphasis on purchasable add-ons.
The airline’s ticket pricing approach will involve a high/low season structure, with snacks and duty-free products available to purchase onboard. Fly Coralway’s cabin crew will be English and French-speaking to accommodate both a local and international customer base. However, the airline is still going through various regulatory phases, strategic choices and executive recruitment, with plans to step up crew recruitment by early 2021.
Fly Coralway gets its license
On 10th November, the Council of Ministers of French Polynesia granted Fly Coralway its air carrier license. Local authorities are keen to help establish an airline capable of connecting the various islands in the region. Both tourists and locals have long been hindered by the lack of connectivity, with tourism and the local economy suffering as a result. This has been particularly true since the COVID crisis, with Pacific islands being cut off by air.
In terms of aircraft, the airline is opting between Embraer E190-E2 and Airbus A220-100 with a configuration of 98-130 seats. This includes a premium class of 9-16 seats with a pitch of 38″, while economy seats will have a 31/32″ pitch. In its business plan, Fly Coralway estimates it will employ a management team of around 95 people.
How excited are you to experience the brand-new Coral Route? Let us know in the comments.