Norwegian start-up carrier Flynonstop plans to carve a niche as a regional operator serving small airports that are overlooked by the likes of Norwegian Air Shuttle and SAS, says Espen Hennig-Olsen, owner and marketing director of the newly formed company.
The airline will begin European flights with a leased Embraer 190 next April, initially operating exclusively from Kristiansand.
Hennig-Olsen says that while the region around the south Norwegian port city has some 300,000 inhabitants, the local Kjevik airport is served only by SAS and KLM with direct flights to Copenhagen and Amsterdam respectively. Passengers to other destinations either need to use connecting flights or travel to the airports of Oslo or Stavanger.
Flynonstop plans to conduct direct flights to Barcelona, Berlin, Dubrovnik, London, Nice, Paris, Palma de Majorca and Parma in Italy from 26 April 2013. Additional routes could include Aberdeen, Frankfurt and Lisbon at a later stage.
The airline is considering whether flights to European destinations could also be offered from the regional airports of Alesund, Bodo, Harstadt/Narvik, Haugesund and Molde. But Hennig-Olsen says that this will only be evaluated after operations have begun in Kristiansand.
A 100-seat E-190 owned by Dublin-based CIT Aerospace will be dry leased from Dutch operator Denim Air.
Flynonstop has no air operators certificate (AOC) and will therefore act as a virtual airline, with the operations being conducted by Denim Air. However, Hennig-Olsen says that the Norwegian company plans to provide around half of the flight and cabin crew from the start, as well as gaining its own AOC when the airline expands in future.
He wants to decide about fleet growth within 12 months of the inaugural flight in April. Though reluctant to speculate on revenue targets, Hennig-Olsen says that the airline expects to reach about 50,000 passengers a year.
MRO contracts will be finalised within the next four weeks, he adds. Flynonstop is negotiating with three maintenance companies located outside of Norway, while line maintenance at Kristiansand will be provided by in-house staff.
Hennig-Olsen is a newcomer to the airline industry, having formerly been marketing director at his family's ice-cream business. The entrepreneur sold his 33% shareholding in the company 18 months ago to set up Flynonstop.