By Putu Deny Wijaya
UK Startup Airlines Hans Airways Signs LOI For Its First A330-200
Hans Airways, a UK-based airline startup, has sent out a letter of intent (LOI) for its first aircraft, bringing it one step closer to its first commercial flight. The airline stated today that it has signed a deal for an Airbus A330-200 and has applied for its Air Operators Certificate with the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). It plans to start offering services as early as this summer.
The airline expects to receive an A330-200 later this year, with high hopes of starting operations by the end of the summer.
The A330-200 in question is a 13.5-year-old A330-200 that has been in service with Air Europa since its inception. It was delivered new to Air Europa in September 2008 as EC-KTG, and it is being leased from Carlyle Aviation Partners. The plane left Spain at the end of December, according to RadarBox.com, and is presently in Abu Dhabi for some maintenance.
Hans Airways shared that the A330 will be re-registered G-KJAS – a nod to one of the airline’s principal early investors, Kirpal Singh Jass. It will retain its current Air Europa cabin layout, which features 275 economy and 24 premium economy seats.
“We are delighted to have achieved this very important milestone in our two-year journey,” Hans Airways CEO Satnam Saini said in a statement. “Our scheduled operations center on the Airbus A330, a popular and spacious long-haul widebody, excellent for cargo too, and we are grateful to everyone who has helped us to ratify this agreement at the start of the new year.”
The airline submitted for its air operator certificate (AOC) in March 2020 and expects to receive clearance within the next several weeks. It intends to commence services before the end of the summer, depending on the timeframes for this and the status with worldwide travel restrictions.
Hans Airways started looking for crew in August of last year. The airline said the first flight crew, which includes four pilots and cabin staff, began training with its training partner IAGO Flight Training on Jan. 3.
The airline is trying to establish a base in Birmingham, U.K. in order to connect the U.K. to secondary locations in India. Its website features Amritsar, which may be a desirable destination for a direct Birmingham trip, despite the fact that it hasn’t specified any Indian towns precisely.
While this market is likely to be price-sensitive, Hans Airways is not pursuing these routes as a low-cost carrier. It plans to run a hybrid model, combining exceptional value for money with some of the more in-demand extras like inflight entertainment and food, according to the company.
The airline has assembled a board of directors with long pasts and much success in the airline industry. Dr. Barry Humphreys, a non-executive director, is a former regulator with the UK CAA and a former director of Virgin Atlantic. Dr. Peter Malanik, a fellow non-executive director, is the former CEO of Austrian Airlines. Ruchir Verma, the Chairman, has worked on projects with Microsoft, Zurich Insurance, and other corporations. Similarly, the leadership team includes officers who had worked for the likes of Easyjet, BA CityFlyer, TUI, Virgin and more.
While the jury is still out on whether the U.K.-to-India market needs another player, Hans Airways believes in its strategy. It has already planned a frequent flyer program and is keenly eyeing the start of operations later in the year.