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Hans Airways secures new investment for its Birmingham to Amritsar flights

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Earlier this year we covered the proposed launch of Hans Airways, which would be the UK’s smallest scheduled airline.

The airline has modest ambitions: to launch non-stop services between Birmingham Airport and Amritsar in India.

In the last couple of weeks there have been online reports that the airline had fallen into administration without even taking a flight.

Hans-Airways-Logo

I checked with a regulatory sources who told me that the rumours were untrue, so we didn’t run the story. The airline has now confirmed that it has secured new financing which should support it through to launch.

To quote:

Hans Airways has satisfied the Civil Aviation Authority’s requirements for an Air Operator’s Certificate. The secured new investment will take the airline to the next stage toward satisfying the CAA of its financial viability and subsequent operating licence to provide revenue air services.

Hans Airways was founded in 2019 by Satnam Singh Saini who previously organised two successful charters between the UK and India with Fly Jet Airlines and Monarch Airlines.

The refinancing has come at a price, however. Founding CEO Saini has gone, although he remains as a director. COO Nathan Burkitt has replaced Saini as CEO.

A new Chairman, Barry Humphreys, has replaced Ruchir Verma.

Hans Airways secures new investment

Hans Airways has its first aircraft

Hans Airways does have an aircraft, which is always helpful if you are planning to launch an airline.

Hans Airways has taken delivery of an ex-Air Europa A330-200 (original registration EC-KTG) as the starting point of its fleet. Virgin Atlantic started with one second-hand leased aircraft so it is a model that can work.

What will the customer experience be like?

The plan is to keep the existing Air Europa configuration, which makes sense because it means there will be no lengthy certification delays.

Whilst in theory Hans Airways will sell Economy and Economy Plus seats, Economy Plus will actually be angle-flat seats which Air Europa sold as business class.

Economy Plus on Hans Airways would be superior to ‘standard’ premium economy products on other airlines as Air Europa’s angle-flat seat is a hybrid between premium economy and the latest 2022 business class seats. Whilst most airlines have a seat pitch of around 38″ in premium economy, Hans Airways will have 56″, or just shy of 1.5m.

Will Hans Airways get off the ground?

The future of Hans Airways looks more secure this week than it did previously.

That said, carriers which launch with just one or two older aircraft tend to struggle with reliability. With no easy back-up plans for passengers when things go wrong, a new airline can quickly develop a bad reputation which pushes it into a downward spiral, especially as EC261 compensation bills mount. There is no guarantee that Hans Airways even makes it this far, of course ….

Comments (17)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Nick says:

    BA restrict fresh flowers to a small single bud in first class lavatories, giving Hans Airways an opportunity to make a name for themselves with complimentary gladioli on every seat.

    • G Flyer says:

      Lol. Ha, I thought exactly the same possum when I saw who the new Chairman was (albeit slightly different spelling)!

  • Peter says:

    What a strange name. While I understand it’s Sanskrit for swan, I can’t help thinking that only Heidi Airways would be more bizarre.

    • Manya says:

      If it resonates with the target market then it’s probably not as strange as it might seem.

      • AJA says:

        As long as it does resonate with the target market. It can go wrong as Toyota found to their cost when they launched the MR2 in France, the pronunciation of which in French was akin to merde – not the image they were intending – no one wants to drive the Toyota sh1t 🙂

    • Bagoly says:

      Only for those more familiar with German language and culture.

      Hello Kitty, part of Eva Air, seems to be doing OK !

  • WaynedP says:

    Will Chairman’s first public statement be “Onwards and upwards, Possums !” ?

    • AJA says:

      I thought that too 🙂 Having Dame Edna on board might be a double edged sword though.

      Not that it would be any better to go with Sir Les

  • John T says:

    The thought of Barry Humphries running a start-up airline to India has really made me giggle.

  • Gulz says:

    Another piece of news that seems to have gone amiss is that Tata (owners of Air India, Vistara, AI Express and Air Asia) are going to consolidate their portfolio into two airlines – a traditional airline (under the brand of Air India) and a low cost carrier. They’ve bought out Singapore Airlines shares from Vistara to be able to do this.

    • Nick says:

      A delay is probably a blessing in disguise. The new airline will struggle under the current visa regime – it’s almost impossible for British passport holders to get visas for India at the moment. A lot of the Indian heritage customer base has OCI cards, but far from all – and inevitably there’s a significant delay issuing these as well.

  • Kevin says:

    Who in their right mind would set up a new airline in todays world. Far easier ways to make money.

    • John T says:

      They’ve taken their time and done their homework. There’s plenty of point-to-point traffic between non-London UK cities and secondary Indian cities with people presumably willing to pay for the convenience. A 3 to 4 times a week service to see if it works doesn’t sound crazy.
      There’s fierce competition in economy from the ME3 between UK and India but probably a good market for a decent premium economy seat given only Emirates has the product and they are very expensive.

    • Rob says:

      I agree … always surprised that these niche start-ups raise any cash, given that the failure rate is basically 100% ex-UK.

      • Anuj says:

        There’s demand for flights to india’s regional cities from the UK. They don’t even need to compete on price. Even if they charge higher prices the savings for a family are substantial as you often have to get an expensive cab to heathrow then another cab from delhi in a hours long uncomfortable journey.
        Direct flights from Birmingham dried up after covid so there isn’t much competition besides Air India.

  • SamG says:

    UK261 is a killer for any of these single aircraft operators – the aircraft will inevitably go tech / be disrupted and they’ll either have to hire in hifly etc at high cost or cough up ~£520pp each time – something most people are aware of these days.

    Aer Lingus UK is a good example of this – A330 Manchester flights often run hours late or get cancelled. A storm in Orlando recently caused them to have to run extra MAN-DUB-Orlando flights to catch up (after cancelling Barbados flights for multiple days) which at least they do have an option to do in house

  • Hem says:

    I couldn’t understand why the chairman was interviewed standing at a Turkish airline stand.
    Good luck to them, the demand is definitely there, see what the customer service will be like.

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