Exclusive: Speaking to Simple Flying earlier today, flypop CEO Nino Judge confirmed that it has signed an agreement to be based at Stansted Airport. The comments were made ahead of an official announcement expected from the two aviation parties tomorrow.
We were patiently waiting for the long-haul low-cost airline flypop to launch. This had been planned for October 2020, although the pandemic ultimately meant that this was not possible. However, with confirmed aircraft leases, it seems like a launch is looking like more of a certainty towards the end of this year, meaning the airline will need somewhere to base its aircraft.
Operating out of London Stansted
For a long time, we’ve known that flypop was interested in London Stansted Airport, sometimes known as London’s low-cost gateway. Indeed, the airline’s offices are located in Enterprise House, on the airport’s grounds.
It seems that the airline has now signed an agreement with Stansted Airport to act as its base. The startup’s CEO, Nino Judge, let the details slip during the most recent installment of the Simple Flying Future of Flying webinar series. Speaking to Simple Flying, Judge said,
“So we have signed with Stansted, you know, they are going to be our first base. But your ten-hour radius from there… we can cover all the way from Sri Lanka to Johannesburg, South America, the whole Caribbean. And I think you can even get San Francisco. Watch this space, India is just the start.”
While airlines would typically do anything for a prestigious slot at London’s Heathrow Airport, Judge isn’t interested, given the low-cost nature of his airline. He told us,
“[Because of COVID-19] we’re in the situation to negotiate at an advantage, and when do startups ever get to do that? Heathrow Airport wouldn’t even take my phone call 18 months ago. Now they’re like, do you want to go to Terminal 4? Do you want to go to Terminal 4?”
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Competition at London Stansted?
When Simple Flying first spoke to Mr. Judge in 2019, he revealed that the ambition was to fly to Amritsar and then Ahmedabad from the low-cost hub. Since then, Air India went on to launch direct flights from Amritsar to London Stansted. However, this route was suspended last year alongside the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fortunately, Judge doesn’t see direct competition on his routes as an issue. When asked about a similar startup airline Hans Airways, Judge told Simple Flying that there is enough demand on his targetted routes for himself and another startup to operate daily flights while still leaving surplus demand for the legacy carriers such as Air India.
What do you make of flypop’s choice of London Stansted Airport? Let us know what you think and why in the comments below!