The first Airbus A330 bound for flypop has now been spotted sporting its full livery. The airline’s CEO, Nino Judge, shared photos of the aircraft leaving the Guangzhou paint hangar on Twitter a couple of days ago. The airline hopes to launch low-cost long-haul flights between India and the UK later this year.
You may think that a pandemic would be the worst time to launch a new airline. The CEO of flypop and Icelandic startup Play would disagree. With attractive lease rates and slot availability at airports, the two believe that now is actually the perfect time to launch an airline.
First A330 spotted in Guanzhou
Last week Simple Flying reported that the first Airbus A330 bound for flypop had made its way into the paint shop. With several hours of work and a fair bit of paint, the aircraft has been transformed from a predominantly yellow livery of Cebu Pacific to the white and polka dot livery of flypop. We now know that the aircraft will be registered as G-FPOP when the airline launches flights.
The aircraft in question, while not brand new, is still reasonably young. According to data from ch-aviation.com, the plane first flew on July 30th, 2013. It was then delivered to Cebu Pacific on September 4th of that year. As such, the plane is just eight years old.
As of March 31st, the plane had completed 25,214 flight hours across 6,914 flight cycles. This means that the plane’s average flight time so far has been three hours and 39 minutes. Despite this, its average daily utilization is nine hours, with approximately 900 flight cycles a year.
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As previously reported by Simple Flying, the aircraft was flown out to Guanzhou by Cebu Pacific in late May. The plane last operated a revenue service on June 20th when it flew as 5J117 from Hong Kong to Manila. On July 20th, 2020, the airline flew the aircraft to Alice Springs for long-term desert storage.
All economy interior
While in service with Cebu Pacific, the Airbus A330-300 was equipped with an all-economy cabin featuring 436 seats in a 3-3-3 configuration. Cebu Pacific wants to turn things up a notch with its A330neo order, with 460 seats planned for the aircraft.
The current configuration is excellent for flypop, as it means that the airline won’t need to complete a costly cabin refit before commencing services. Since its inception, flypop has planned to fly used Airbus A330 aircraft with an all-economy 3-3-3 layout. According to Airbus, the aircraft has an exit limit of 440 passengers, so it also means there’s no point trying to squeeze in more seats.
When will flypop launch flights?
Completing the airline’s first Airbus A330 certainly gives a level of immanency to the airline’s launch plans. We still don’t know precisely when £99 flights from London Stansted to India will be launched, although the airline did reveal a new passenger facing website last week.
In a recent Simple Flying webinar, Judge revealed that the airline currently plans to launch flights in October, but only if that is the right time concerning the UK Government’s traffic light regulations. Judge told Simple Flying,
“We’re looking to be flexible with our launch and we can afford to be flexible. While other airlines bleed we have the we have the luxury of not bleeding… We have a Power by the Hour deal on the aircraft. We’re not paying until we fly. That would never have been possible for a startup pre-COVID.”
What do you make of flypop’s livery? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!