Norwegian startup airline Flyr has successfully raised US$70 million in an initial public offering in Oslo. The airline, which has its eye on beginning flights in mid-2021, is now looking to buy or lease a small fleet of jets, recruit staff, and exploit opportunities as local competitor Norwegian Air restructures and downsizes.
“This will enable us to pursue opportunities in a changing market and a recovering airline industry,” Flyr CEO Tonje Wikstroem Frislid told Reuters on Monday.
A good time to start-up an airline says Flyr
It might not seem the ideal time to start-up an airline. Seat capacity across Europe is down 79.1% on February 2020. But Flyr is setting itself up as a kind of post-COVID airline, unburdened by an earlier legacy and infrastructure.
“Flyr was created for the Norwegian market after the corona pandemic. Norway is an elongated country with fjords and mountains which means that we need to fly in the years ahead, but probably a little less than we have done before,” Flyr’s website says.
“Therefore, we build an airline from scratch, based on many years of experience, with a size, organization, and business model that is adapted to this future.”
The start-up airline notes Norway is a stable airline market with relatively few competitors. The country’s geography makes it dependant on air travel. Flyr believes that with Norwegian Air in trouble, Norway is open to a new, low-fuss, local low-cost airline.
Flyr reportedly has an eye on Boeing 737-800s
Flyr is no bar-room pipedream either. There’s some serious aviation expertise behind the fledgling airline. The founder is well-known Norwegian aviation insider Erik Braathens. Flyr’s CEO is Tonje Wikstroem Frislid, a former Norwegian Air executive. As Simple Flying has reported, Flyr plans a lean operation.
“The goal of Flyr is to deliver the simplest flight, in the most sustainable way possible. We will do this by creating a purely digital product based on the needs of passengers and fly fewer, smarter flights to places and times people need to travel.”
Monday’s Reuters report indicates Flyr was yet to secure any aircraft. That’s backed up by an absence of any record on online aircraft databases. Last month, Simple Flying reported Flyr was looking a starting out with a small fleet of Boeing 737-800s. Like most new airlines, Flyr has growth plans. But first, it plans to stick close to home, flying to larger cities within Norway.
In an investor’s briefing, Flyr notes aircraft are available now at prices roughly half of what’s normally seen. There’s a large flow of leased aircraft on the market. That gives Flyr options and the opportunity to pick up modern equipment a lean and mean start-up couldn’t normally afford.
“Due to the availability of aircraft and crew, a rapid and demand-driven scale-up is possible for Flyr,” says Ms Wikstroem Frislid.
Flyr hiring, but looks like working its hires hard
Flush with IPO funds, Flyr is now advertising multiple positions at the airline. But like most low-low airlines, Flyr looks like wanting to work their aircraft and crews hard. Modelling of optimized crew utilization for the investor’s briefing indicates they’d like to see aircraft flying up to ten short-haul flights and day with a single crew set working up to six of those flights.
Is the Boeing 737-800 a smart choice for Flyr? If not, what’s the right aircraft for a new low-cost airline flying in Norway? Post a comment and let us know.