UK startup Flypop secures A330s to fly low-cost from London to India

Apr 13, 2021

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It’s looking more likely that the U.K. will soon have a new startup airline. Flypop, a low-cost long-haul operation has been in the works for many years. But this week, the startup has signed a lease for “multiple” Airbus A330-300 aircraft.

The airline hasn’t disclosed how many A330s it’s signed from Ireland-based aircraft lessor Avolon. However, the airline did say that Avolon offered the most attractive deal through 2023.

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“As a twin-engine double-aisle wide-body that can carry over 400 passengers, the A330-300 aircraft will deliver everything we want to offer our Flypop passengers, especially the lowest seat prices to India,” Flypop CEO and Principal Navdip Singh Judge said in a statement.

On its website, Flypop calls itself “The first British low-cost airline flying from the U.K. to second cities of South Asia starting in India,” and will operate an all-economy service.

With its aircraft secured, Flypop plans to launch its first flights by October. At launch, the carrier is expected to fly two routes from London Stansted (STN) to both Amritsar (ATQ) and Ahmedabad (AMD). Eventually, it wants to launch service to Kolkata and Goa as well.

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Golden Temple, Amritsar, Punjab, at dawn. (Photo by Adrian Pope/Getty Images)

“We look forward to working with Flypop on its exciting imminent launch of flights between the UK and India,” said Martyn Lewis, senior VP of marketing for Avolon in the EMEA region. “At launch, Flypop will commence operations with one aircraft and plans to add an extra aircraft every six months. It’s not every day we help launch a new British long-haul scheduled carrier!”

Flypop originally had its sights set on launching in 2016, when its name was “POP,” standing for “people over profits.” Since then, Flypop has been on hold, securing the essentials to launch. Most recently, the airline anticipated a 2020 launch, which was pushed back because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The airline thinks that with the end of the pandemic in sight and with travel beginning to pick back up, it’s the ideal time to launch — especially on its planned route network, focusing on connecting friends and relatives on a leisure basis.

“The incumbents have been badly wounded after 18 months without any revenue but plenty of costs and debt,” said Charlie Clifton, senior operations adviser and board member of Flypop, who is also an ex-director of Ryanair. “Fypop, on the other hand has avoided any exposure to the pandemic and consequently is in the unique and fortunate position to extract maximum advantage from the lower costs resulting from the crisis. Flypop’s cost of entry is much lower now than it would have been pre-COVID-19.

“Low fares always stimulate greater demand. The sector is currently on the floor, but the market will return strongly,” he said.

Related: Genius or daft? The 2 regional airlines expanding their route networks despite the pandemic

Flypop will not see much by the way of competition on its first routes. Air India flies one weekly flight from London Heathrow (LHR) to Amritsar (ATQ) and two weekly flights from Heathrow to Ahmedabad (AMD).

Featured photo courtesy of Flypop.

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