By Ezra Gollan
New Airline Startup Fly Atlantic Makes Push for Low-Cost Transatlantic Flying
Ultra-low-cost, transatlantic, narrowbody air travel is a concept we’ve seen this one before, haven’t we? There were the days of Norwegian, WOW Air and the short-lived and tumultuous Primera Air — who after just about a year of operating ultra-low-cost flights connecting the United States to Europe at previously unseen prices — ceased operations.
Now, we are in the era of Norse and PLAY, which are two carriers that up until now have proved many pundits wrong. However, in 2024, Fly Atlantic thinks Norse and PLAY won’t be the only ones in this ever-changing transatlantic market.
The airline plans to be based in Belfast, Northern Ireland in the summer of 2024. Operating flights to both the United States and Canada, Fly Atlantic will look to change the narrative on ultra-low-cost transatlantic travel.
Andrew Pyne, the airline’s CEO, does have previous experience in the industry with stints at VietJet Air, Cobalt and WOW Air — all low-cost carriers. According to the airline, it will likely operate either the Boeing 737-MAX aircraft or the Airbus A321NEO and is currently in talks with both manufacturers.
Pyne seems confident in his ability to deliver on an airline starting in 2024 telling the Irish News, “Our vision is of Belfast as a strong aviation hub linking Europe and North America. The lack of direct transatlantic air services has clearly been an impediment to Northern Ireland’s economic and tourism development, which we now intend to remove.”
Additionally, Pyne’s confidence in Belfast as a hub to link the continents is undoubtedly interesting given that most ultra-low-cost carriers have gone via Iceland or in the case of Norse, essentially no true hub offering flights from a range of European cities.
“The project can be a game changer. We will be offering affordable fares with brand-new aircraft. We already have offices at the airport and will now be building out the infrastructure to support the airline’s launch. We start recruiting for the team early in 2023,” Pyne added.
It is safe to say that many view the Fly Atlantic concept as a “great if it ever happens” airline, more than having the expectation that comes 2024 Fly Atlantic aircraft will dot the sky. It is no secret that airline startups like WOW Air or Primera Air have vanished in a fair short period of time, due to the fact that the big carriers have an immense amount of resilience financially, whereas with a startup when investor money runs dry, it is likely the end.
Regardless of the past history of such airlines, Fly Atlantic presents an exciting new opportunity to link Northern Ireland and Europe to Canada and the United States. The airline said it hopes to serve roughly 35 cities across the two continents at its peak operation.