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.
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.
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 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 ….