Airline Startup Of The Week: India’s Subscription Based Prince Air

Even as Indian aviation is rocked by COVID-19, airline startups have not slowed down. This week saw the arrival of Prince Air, an upcoming subscription-based airline. With a monthly membership, travelers can fly between major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore at a fraction of usual business class fares.

Prince Air A320
The airline is hoping to draw away frequent-flyers by offering a cheaper, more luxurious, and flexible option. Photo: Prince Air

New way

Similar to many subscription-based airlines globally, Prince Air is bringing private jet flying to the masses. The airline plans to target passengers who usually travel business class or frequently between major Indian cities with a competitively priced monthly payment. With an initial network of Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore, the potential market is large.

Prince Air will start operations with the larger Airbus A320 or A321 family, which offers a substantial number of seats. However, the planes themselves will come in an all-business-class layout, featuring only 90-100 seats. While these seats don’t seem to be lie flat, the leather recliners will be more than adequate for two to three-hour routes the airline is targeting.

Prince Air A320 Cabin
A cabin rendering of the all-business A320 family planes shows comfortable recliner seats, similar to other full-service carriers. Photo: Prince Air

However, the biggest benefit of Prince Air would be the flexibility it offers passengers. Travelers can switch flights, arrive at the airport only 30 minutes before their flight, and choose from a wide variety of departures. Overall, the airline hopes to shave off three hours from a usual Delhi-Mumbai roundtrip (including airport time spent).

So how much does it cost?

Perhaps the most important question for many out there is how much this service will cost. Prince Air plans on offering a monthly subscription for ₹54,500, or $747, giving passengers unlimited flights across its network. Not bad for a semi-private A320 between some of India’s busiest hubs.

For comparison, a roundtrip from Delhi to Bangalore or Mumbai in business will set back travelers anywhere from ₹36,000 to ₹38,000 ($493 to $521) each. This means a Prince Air subscription would make sense for any business travelers flying more than twice a month.

Airbus A320 Getty
The startup carrier is hoping to draw away passengers from the commercial and private jet world. Photo: Getty Images

Meanwhile, a chartered private jet between these cities would cost 95% more per flight. Prince Air’s subscription cost place it a lot closer to the price of commercial air travel than it does to the private jet market. For ₹54,500 ($747), the airline could even attract those who foresee frequent travel in a month rather than just business passengers.

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Pre-launch

While Prince Air is already drawing up plans for its operations, it remains firmly in the pre-launch phase of its journey. The airline will formally launch in a few months, with no firm date currently set. Once that is over, expect to see a lot more details about its fleet, cabin layout, prices, and much more. For now, we are excited to see the prospects of Prince Air’s unique model in the crowded Indian domestic market.

What do you think about Prince Air’s subscription model? Would you become a member? Let us know in the comments!

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