Julian Moxon/PARIS

Fairlines, the exclusively first- and business-class French airline, will be launched on 8 December, with services linking Paris/Charles de Gaulle, Milan/ Malpensa and Nice.

Initially operating a pair of leased, ex-Sunjet International Boeing MD-81s, but with ambitions to add up to eight more, Fairlines president Francois Arpels says that he is on the verge of agreeing commercial partnerships with "major airlines" to provide services from Paris and other planned destinations.

The aircraft will be configured with 72 four-abreast leather seats, each with an interactive in-flight communications and entertainment system. A "lounge" at the rear will provide a Jetphone telephone service, says Arpels. Passengers will be allowed to bring as much hand baggage into the cabin as they need - freeing revenue-earning space below decks for freight.

Arpels says that the four backers for the project have put up a total of Fr80 million ($14 million) for launch and the initial three years of operations. "We've spent around Fr45 million so far," he adds.

The three-year business plan for Fairlines foresees load factors of around 25% for the first year, increasing to 45% in two years. "We plan to open two routes every six months, building to a total of nine routes within the three-year start-up period," says Arpels. Fares will be around the same as those paid for business- and first-class travel on other airlines.

Source: Flight International