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Start-up plans World Airways revival with 787s, ULCC model

Serial start-up airline executive Ed Wegel has announced plans to re-launch former widebody freighter operator World Airways as a long-haul passenger carrying airline flying Boeing 787s using an ultra-low-cost model.

US-based investment firm 777 Partners acquired the intellectual property of World Airways, Inc., named Wegel as founding chief executive of the re-launched carrier and disclosed ongoing discussions with Boeing to order up to 10 787s.

"We are proud to begin preparations to launch scheduled operations from the US to Asia and Latin America,” Wegel says in a statement. In a long and wide-ranging career, Wegel founded short-lived carrier People Express in the 1980s, led US Airways Express in the 1990s and most recently attempted to revive Eastern Airways, which was acquired by Swift Air last year.

“We will be partnering with low cost, short haul carriers in the US and in the regions we serve to provide connecting traffic to and from our initial planned gateways,” he adds.

The relaunched World’s chief marketing officer, Freddie Laker, will reveal the carrier’s new brand in the “next few weeks”, Wegel says.

Despite its Boeing widebody-themed name, Miami-based 777 Partners’ owns a broad portfolio of information technology, health care and financial services companies, according to the firm’s web site. World Airways represents the firm’s only aviation asset.

The re-launched carrier will deliver a “transformative flying experience rooted in safety, technology and service to the large segment of the traveling public historically priced out of international travel,” says 777 Partners managing partner Josh Wander.

777 Partners and Wegel are attempting to revive an airline that once operated as a rival to Pan Am Airways in international, long-haul operations. But World converted to mostly freighter and charter operations after the 1980s, flying Boeing MD-11s and 747s. The carrier ceased operations in 2014 after a 66-year run.

This article was updated to correct the status of Eastern Airlines.

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