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Great: Startup airline flypop’s CEO promises low-cost flights to India for as low as £99

United Kingdom-based startup flypop’s CEO, in an interview with Simple Flying, promised low-cost flights to India for as low as £99. flypop’s long-haul flying dream is fast becoming a reality with airports and aircrafts already secured.

flypop is definitely slowly moving closer to its launch, now that airports and aircrafts have been secured. The airline has selected London Stansted as its base airport with first flight planned for October. However, Nino Judge, CEO, flypop said that he will not launch the airline until the time is right. In a statement to Simple Flying, he said:

We’re very much looking forward to it but obviously we can’t hurry it, because the thing that we have in our advantage is, we have this low cash burn rate. The minute we give that up, we’re in same boat as everyone else.

As flypop has leased its Airbus A330 on a power-by-the-hour agreement, its not losing money while the carrier is not flying. Once it launches, it still has to contend with what has become one of the hardest markets to crack – low-cost long haul flying. Speaking about how he intended to maintain healthy yields on such services, Judge said:

Yields are funny terms, aren’t they? Yields are the difference between CASK and RASK . So, we want to have our CASK so low that the yield will end up being quite healthy. That’s the art of yield management. We are going to start flights at £99 pounds, so if anybody wants to beat us with that, let them try it.

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Initially, flypop intends to launch services to Amritsar and Ahmedabad in India from London Stansted. Air India has already operated flights on these routes in the past with high load factors, with ticket prices in the region of £600. If Air India got high load factor with these prices, at a fraction of this price, flypop’s chances of getting planes full are very high.

Flying to India for £99 sounds ridiculous, right? However, Judge believes he has the pieces in place to make such low fares a realistic proposition. First of all, he noted that he has leased his aircrafts for phenomenally low rates, quipping that he managed to get ‘four for the price of one’.

Secondly, flypop will have all-economy configuration. This will help the cost factor, as will intelligent utilization of the aircraft to ensure maximum bang for his buck.

And finally, flying at full loads is the next link in the chain, which is most certainly possible. Even if fares creep up to around the £200 mark, then also chances are very very high of getting the aircrafts full.

But to really make it work, flypop needs to maintain control of its costs. And that’s something flypop has built in from the start, as Judge explained:

When you’re going to be long-haul low-cost, and everybody says, ‘it’s not worked, it’s been tried’ – it’s never been tried properly. It’s been flirted with. We are going to live and breathe (and hopefully not die) low-cost, long-haul. Everything is a price saving that we pass on to the customers to achieve that £99. We could have gone for a really nice new neo or the 787s that Norwegian didn’t want anymore. You know we could have gone for that kind of stuff, but we went for the best value, slightly older 330s where we could drive the price down. It had a high-density configuration, and that’s how you truly get low cost.

In addition to selecting older Airbus A330s for their low leasing rates and low-cost friendly configuration, Judge noted that their reliability tends to be higher than some of the newer aircraft.

Describing the Airbus as a ‘workhorse’ he said that it’s proven to be up to the job of high utilization of more than 16 hours a day, and that’s what adds to its appeal.

Featured image by flypop

What do you think of flypop’s ambitious plans to launch low cost flights between London and India for as low as £99? Do you see the airline launching this year? Let me know in the comments section below.

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