79 new airlines begin life in 2017; 25 go out of business – Europe has the highest number of start-ups, but also the most failures
Conditions to start a new airline could not better – with favourable economic tailwinds and low fuel prices. Hang on. What about things like Brexit, geo-political instability and security issues? Conditions could not be worse for staying in business as an airline. Thanks to our friends ch-aviation over in Chur, Switzerland, we can determine that its the former view (favourable market conditions) that prevails, as according to its database, 79 new airlines have been started so far in 2017, with just 25 going out of business in the same period. The database also identifies another 19 new operators beginning life this year and 10 more failures, but these have been omitted from this analysis as they are either cargo airlines or business/private charter operators.
|Europe – New Airline Name||Country||Europe – Defunct Airline Name||Country|
|easyJet Europe||Austria||Buryat Airlines||Russia|
|JetClass||Austria||Pioneer Regional Airlines||Russia|
|Corendon Airlines Europe||Malta||Citywing||UK|
|Electra Airways||Bulgaria||Fly Kiss||France|
|Star East Airlines||Romania||Fly Marche||Italy|
|VIA Airways||Bulgaria||Höga Kusten Flyg||Sweden|
|VLM Airlines||Slovenia||Sea Air||Croatia|
|Air Alderney||UK||Air Via||Bulgaria|
|Albanian Airlines||Albania||Cardiff Aviation Malta||Malta|
|Atmosphere Intercontinental Airlines||UK||Fly 365 Aviation||Romania|
|SAS Scandinavian Airlines Ireland||Ireland|
|Crna Gora Airways||Montenegro|
|Hi Fly X Ireland||Ireland|
Europe is the most-dynamic global region, with 29 (37%) new airlines being set-up in the first nine months of 2017, but its has also provided the most failures too, with over half (14 or 56% of the total) coming from the continent. So much for Europe being a mature market. Some of the most notable start-ups and failures are also from this part of the world, with the arrival of easyJet Europe in July, as well as the recent sad demise of Monarch Airlines, whose name in the industry had a 50-year history. easyJet Europe’s principal place of business will be in Vienna, and thanks to its Austrian Air Operator Certificate (AOC) it will allow the new carrier to continue operating intra-European routes post-Brexit. IAG-owned LEVEL, a low-cost long-haul carrier which began operations in June, was also a new airline which launched this year in Europe.
|North America – New Airline Name||Country||North America – Defunct Airline Name||Country|
|Air Borealis||Canada||Wings of Alaska||US|
|Metropolitan Airways||US||Yute Air||US|
|Midwest Express Airlines||US||Air Labrador||Canada|
|SkyValue Airways||US||Innu Mikun Airlines||Canada|
It might be home to the world’s single biggest aviation market, but in terms of airline entrepreneurial spirit North America seems to have lost its appetite for start-up carriers. Perhaps the most eye-catching addition to the airline ranks is Swoop, the ULCC owned by WestJet. Officially announced on 27 September, the fledgling airline will be based in Calgary, and will tentatively begin flying in June 2018. With 24% of all airline closures, North America is the second highest provider of carrier demises in the first nine months of 2017. Two of the more high profile names to disappear are Canadian LCC NewLeaf which has been merged into Flair Airlines and Shuttle America which has been subsumed into its parent Republic Airlines.
|Asia – New Airline Name||Country||Asia – Defunct Airline Name||Country|
|AirAsia Cambodia||Cambodia||Tigerair Singapore||Singapore|
|Star Air (India)||India|
|Viva Nepal Airways||Nepal|
China is the country, which along with the UK, has delivered the most new airlines so far in 2017, with five each. Argentina and Ireland are both responsible for four new airlines respectively, while Bulgaria, India, Iran, South Africa and the US have all provided three new operators each. Conversely, the US and Canada top the charts when it comes to countries with the most failures (three each), with Russia and the UK not far behind with two a-piece. Noteworthy start-ups and demises in Asia are AirAsia Cambodia, yet another incarnation in the ever-expanding AirAsia family, as well as Tigerair Singapore an airline name which has been lost following its merger under the Scoot brand earlier this year.
|Africa – New Airline Name||Country||Africa – Defunct Airline Name||Country|
|Aloor Airlines||South Sudan||Fly County Aviation||Kenya|
|Britex Air Services||Kenya|
|Flyfofa Airways||South Africa|
|Stratos Airlines||South Africa|
|Mara-Dikwe Air Taxi||South Africa|
Of the 79 new carriers whose tailfins will now be gracing the world’s airports – or soon will be – the overwhelming majority (46 or 58%) are logged as being scheduled carriers. 21 (27%) are charter airlines, with the remaining 12 (15%) start-ups being classified by ch-aviation as virtual carriers. Africa is clearly a continent full of opportunity, with 14 new airlines being set-up, against just one failing so far in 2017. These new carriers come from a diverse range of nations, with 11 countries in the region benefiting from the brave entrepreneurial endeavours of those starting new operations.
|South America – New Airline Name||Country||South America – Defunct Airline Name||Country|
|Buenos Aires International Airlines||Argentina|
|Gran Colombia de Aviación||Colombia|
|LASA Líneas Aéreas||Argentina|
|Latin American Airlines||Peru|
|Norwegian Air Argentina||Argentina|
|Polar Líneas Aéreas||Argentina|
Getting from being just a great idea on paper to actually launching flights is often a long and tortuous journey, with many entities never getting any further than that initial stage. The number of carriers that ch-aviation classifies as being start-up and not yet in the air is 56 (71%), leaving 23 (29%) as having achieved the feat of moving from idea to inaugural. Among those is South America which have managed to go from conception to inception is Chilean ULCC JetSMART. Started in July, the Santiago-based airline was set-up by Indigo Partners, which has stakes in Frontier Airlines and Volaris. Other notable start-up ventures in the region include Azul Uruguay, Norwegian Air Argentina and VivaAirPanamá, which are all spin-offs of bigger parent brands.
|New Airline Name||Country||Defunct Airline Name||Country|
|TIA 2000||Barbados||Ava Air||Martinique|
|Islands||French Polynesia||Hummingbird Air||US Virgin Islands|
|Sahand Asia Airlines||Iran|
Our last table represents new airlines from across three regions – namely Australasia, Caribbean and the Middle East. While chances of setting up a new airline in Australasia and Iran would appear to be bouyant, they are 50/50 in the Caribbean. Earlier this year, the Government of Samoa announced that, with the initial support of Fiji Airways, it would re-launch international jet services to and from Samoa, using the name Samoa Airways, following the cessation of its previous agreement with Virgin Australia Airlines. Flights between Samoa and New Zealand and Australia begin in November.
New airline born every 3.5 days!
At the time of writing we are 286 days into 2017, which means that a start-up has been born around every three-and-a-half days. So by the time you receive the anna.aero newsletter next week, another group of aviation professionals will have thought “hey…I am tired of flying on airline X…they have no idea what they are doing…let’s start an airline ourselves!”