A part-time Ryanair pilot is taking the phrase ‘do what you love’ to a whole new level by starting a new airline.
The new airline goes by the title ‘Swiss Skies’ (Not the confirmed name as of yet) and will be based out of the hub Basel Airport (BSL), on the border of France, Germany and Switzerland. They are currently seeking $100 million to launch and promise that they will be flying by this time next year.
They will be a low-cost carrier flying between Europe and North America, much like Norwegian or LEVEL, and compete with current offerings from legacy airlines.
The project is being founded by a team that not only has experience with Ryanair, but also Air Berlin and Austrian Airlines.
What are their plans
In a recent interview, one of the architectures of the project commented on how much they have planned ahead but kept their cards close to their chest.
“We have a full network prepared but because of the competition we don’t want it in the press right now” Armin Bovensiepen, one of Swiss Skies’ founders
Fortunately, they have revealed that they plan to place an order (or rent) a fleet of one aircraft, either the Airbus A321neo or the Airbus A321neoLR (LR stands for long range). They plan to have a fleet 38 Airbus planes by 2023 (5 year’s time). This plane will be useful in flying routes to USA, as well as South America and Asia. They have ruled out flying to the United Kingdom, due to the competitive airline market of the country and are cautious on its future post-Brexit.
As part of their upper hand tactic, they also said they will do away with the hub and spoke model (Which is by far the most popular model used by airlines such as Norwegian) and use point to point, taking advantage of underdeveloped routes in the Atlantic market.
They also claim that their new airline will cost 30% less to set up than previous airlines and be fully profitable by their third year.
Is it possible to launch a new Swiss airline?
Commentators are all too well aware of the risk, considering the recent collapse of the airline SkyWork, based out of the Swiss airport Bern (BRN), which flew its last flight and filed for bankruptcy last month. SkyWork controlled 60% of the Bern market and has now left quite the hole in the Swiss airline game.
Additionally, the last year and a half also saw the collapse of nearby Air Berlin, based in Austria.
Swiss Skies has claimed that they understand the factors that lead to previous failures and will not be repeating the same mistakes. The fact that one of the founders worked at Air Berlin plays into this narrative, as they undoubtedly would have unrivalled insight and experience.
Investors have been following this news closely.
“There is undoubtedly potential in this area, The [low-cost, long haul] models are less well tested but would suggest that if you can use new aircraft well and have an efficient cost base, it is possible to start with a niche and then grow.” – Alex Paterson, an analyst at Investec.
What do you think? Do Swiss Skies have a chance at raising the $100 million, or is it just a pipe dream? Let us know in the comments.