Former United Airlines Executive Wants To Make A US Version Of Ryanair

A former United Airlines executive reportedly wants to launch a U.S. version of Irish low-cost airline Ryanair. According to “One Mile at a Time“, Andrew Levy, the former CFO of United Airlines, is trying to raise $100 million to start his new airline. As a matter of fact, the airline might take to the skies as early as the end of this year or the start of next.

Ryanair Aircraft
Ryanair is Europe’s largest low-cost airline based on passenger numbers. Photo: Ryanair.

What are the details?

Levy’s new airline will be based in Houston. It will not really be a brand-new airline because, as reported by Bloomberg, Levy purchased XTRA Airways last August. XTRA Airways is a charter airline operating one Boeing 737-400 aircraft, presently based in Florida. Some of you might have heard of XTRA Airways because it is the airline that operated the aircraft Hillary Clinton used for her travels during her 2016 campaign.

XTRA Airways Boeing 737-400
Currently, XTRA Airways has one Boeing 737-400 aircraft. Photo: Wikimedia.

Even though the airline has only one aircraft, what is really important is its 14 CFR Part 121 operating certificate. Obtaining a new Part 121 operating certificate can be a lengthy process. That means that buying an airline that is already approved and established is definitely a plus. This will undoubtedly speed up the launch of Levy’s new airline.

The new airline will primarily serve secondary and underserved markets and offer ultra-low fares. Although aircraft type is yet to be decided, it will most likely operate Boeing 737-800 aircraft in a 189-seat configuration. Initially, it will operate about five aircraft and eventually expand to a bigger fleet.

Andrew Levy is definitely not a newbie to the airline industry. In addition to serving as the CFO for United Airlines, Levy was also involved in establishing discount airline Allegiant Air.

Allegiant Air Aircraft
Allegiant Air is the ninth-largest commercial air carrier in the United States. Photo: Wikimedia.

Levy’s new carrier, however, is not the only low-cost airline planning to enter the aviation market in the United States in the near future.


JetBlue Airways founder David Neeleman also wants to launch another low-cost carrier. If and when it comes to be, Moxy will be the fifth airline Neeleman has founded. Just like Levy’s new airline, Moxy will also serve secondary markets, and will operate Airbus A220 aircraft. As a matter of fact, the airline has already placed orders for 60 A220-300s.

If Levy will be able to stick to his aggressive schedule, his airline will actually launch before Moxy.

It appears that there is definitely a demand for flights to secondary airports. Nevertheless, we will see how Levy’s new airline and Moxy will compete in the l0w-cost market and how they will be able to differentiate their services.

How do you feel about two additional low-cost airlines entering the aviation market in the United States?