Virtual airline start-up HiAir plans Doncaster-Amsterdam flights

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A new virtual airline called HiAir plans to begin Jetstream 32 operations in September between Doncaster Sheffield in northern England and Amsterdam Schiphol.

The flights will be operated by an as-yet unnamed European aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance (ACMI) provider.

HiAir co-director Joseph Hayat said the Amsterdam route will be operated on a trial basis between 5 September and the end of October to determine whether demand is strong enough to continue with the service.

The company will focus on this single route as a "niche concept" and is not planning other city pairs at this stage. Hayat said the Doncaster-Amsterdam route has "always had high loads", and with EasyJet having pulled out of Doncaster "there is evidence there's demand".

The recent fatal crash in Cork, Ireland of a Fairchild Metro III operated by Spanish company Flightline on behalf of Manx2, another virtual airline, has "removed the trust of the public in virtual airlines", said Hayat.

However, he added that the Jetstream 32 operator chosen by HiAir - the identity of which will be revealed in August - is "a very professional company" with a strong safety record.

HiAir is targeting the business market and "aims to deliver a business class service with an economy price tag". It will offer a one-class product, including a 31in seat pitch and complimentary drink.