Airline Startup Of The Week: Italy’s Sky Alps

Now set to launch in late 2Q21 after a series of postponements, Italian regional leisure airline Sky Alps will soon take to the skies with its first two DHC-8-Q400s. The airline will offer service from Bolzano (Italy) to destinations in Germany, Spain, and other parts of Italy.

Sky Alps
The airline will begin with two leased Dash 8s. Photo: Courtesy Daniel Seaman

The airline is highlighting its “small operations” as a benefit to its soon-to-be passengers, as can be seen in messaging across its website:

“It gives us the greatest joy to see friendships develop after greeting guests with a sincere smile. We want to be as close as possible to our passengers and our employees. That’s why we see the small operations of our regional airline as our greatest strength. It lets us act quickly and pragmatically and to live by our philosophy.”

Based out of Bolzano

This tiny, two-aircraft airline will be based in Bolzano, in the Trentino-Alto Adige region of Italy’s north, in the province of South Tyrol. The Bolzano airport, otherwise marketed as Flughafen Bozen or Aeroporto di Bolzano, is located 5.1 km south of downtown Bolzano, which itself is set in a valley amid hilly vineyards.

It’s this picturesque backdrop in the Italian part of the Alps that the aptly named Sky Alps will fly from, with hopes of making the region more accessible to leisure travelers and tourists from nearby European cities.

Sky Alps
The airline will fly from Bolzano to various European cities. Photo: Courtesy Simon Fewkes – Fresh Aviation Media

The airport is so small that it only has four check-in counters, two gates, and one baggage conveyor belt. Considering the small airport and a fleet of two aircraft, this “smallness” is what Sky Alps is marketing as a strength- which will allow for quick and pragmatic operations.

Where will Sky Alps connect to?

Out of Bolzano, Sky Alps will fly to the following destinations.

  • Düsseldorf
  • Parma
  • Rome
  • Sardinia
  • Ibiza
  • Berlin

For Germans living in Düsseldorf and Berlin, Bolzano is made accessible for a quick getaway. With direct, non-stop service, a flight south will take less than two hours, compared to over eight or nine hours of driving.

Sky Alps
The airline’s aircraft will transport as many as 78 passengers. Photo: Courtesy Simon Fewkes – Fresh Aviation Media

Two leased DHC-8-Q400s

Sky Alps will be starting off its operations with two leased DHC-8-Q400 aircraft from Chorus Aviation Capital. The aircraft leasing firm reports having 82 of these aircraft in its portfolio.

While Sky Alps has yet to disclose the configuration of these aircraft, it highlights on its website that the Q400s can transport up to 78 passengers. Other sources note that the maximum capacity is 80 passengers. Of course, this will depend on passenger comfort (or lack thereof). For reference, Alaska Airlines configures its Q400s with 76 all-economy seats.

“Sky Alps is very pleased to have selected Chorus Aviation Capital as our aircraft supplier for the initial launch of services from our South Tyrol base in Bolzano with two Dash 8-Q400s on long-term operating leases,” – Josef Gostner, Funder and President of Sky Alps via ch-aviation

The first two aircraft will be those registered G-ECOK (MSN 4230) and G-ECOO (MSN 4237). Their ages are 12.6- and 12.4-years, respectively. Both aircraft had previously been operated by UK regional carrier Flybe.

How do you think Sky Alps will do with its leisure-based business model? Let us know in the comments.