Competition in the emerging all-premium transatlantic market is heating up with expansion at two fledging carriers and the emergence of two start-ups.
UK-based Silverjet aims to join by year-end US-based Eos and Maxjet in offering all-business class flights linking London with New York. Meanwhile newly incorporated French carrier Elys-air plans to launch the first all-premium service between Paris and New York in mid-December. This is three months ahead of an Eos proposal to start a Paris-New York service.
Eos launched last October with a daily New York JFK-London Stansted service and will add six more weekly flights on the route from early September. It is now seeking traffic rights to serve Paris and Zurich from JFK.
Maxjet quickly followed Eos last year by launching six flights per week from JFK to Stansted and added a five times weekly Washington Dulles-Stansted service in April. It says it is now looking at launching services to Stansted from Boston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Francisco using two newly acquired Boeing 767s.
Maxjet committed in August to expand its fleet to five 102-seat 767s from early 2007. It now operates two 767s and earlier agreed to take a third aircraft in September, to be used mainly for its growing luxury charter operation. Eos operates 757s in a roomier configuration with 48 flatbed seats.
Silverjet in August agreed to lease two 767-200s from British leisure carrier ThomsonFly and plans to outfit them with 100 flatbed seats from Zodiac. The aircraft will not be delivered until March and October 2007 but Silverjet says it is in advanced talks to lease another three 767s, one of which may be delivered by November, allowing an early December launch. Silverjet will differentiate its service from Eos and Maxjet, both of which claim to be enjoying 70% load factors on their JFK-Stansted services, by operating from Luton outside London and Newark outside New York.
Elysair plans to operate 100-seat 757s and has hired former AOM-Air Liberte chairman Marc Rochet as chief executive. It is seeking rights to connect Paris Orly with Newark and later Boston. ■