UK Start-Up Fly Atlantic Announces its First Base
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UK Start-Up Fly Atlantic Announces its First Base

DALLAS – Despite a looming global economic recession, another fledgling airline has announced its intentions to start operations in the UK.

Fly Atlantic has today, November 22, revealed that it will be opening its first base at Belfast International Airport (BFS) in summer 2024.

Ambitious Plans

The airline, described as a “game changer” for the airport and Northern Ireland, aims to link BFS with the US, Canada, and various UK and European cities. When it is fully operational, it plans to fly to 35 destinations.

Opening with six aircraft, it plans to grow its fleet to 18 airframes by 2028. An announcement has yet to be made regarding aircraft type. According to the airline, discussions have begun with both Boeing and Airbus over its 737 MAX or A321neo.

Fly Atlantic CEO Andrew Pyne pictured at BFS for the announcement. Photo: Fly Atlantic.

“A Strong Aviation Hub”

Speaking of the announcement, Fly Atlantic CEO Andrew Pyne said, “Our vision is of Belfast as a strong aviation hub linking Europe and North America. The lack of direct transatlantic air services has clearly been an impediment to Northern Ireland’s economic and tourism development, which we now intend to remove.

“We will be offering affordable fares with brand new aircraft. We already have offices at the airport and will now be building out the infrastructure to support the airline’s launch. We start recruiting for the team early in 2023.”

Initially, Fly Atlantic plans to employ 50 people at BFS with 250 crew members. It will then create a thousand extra jobs in the first five years.

Potential colour-scheme? The image has appeared on the airline’s website and has also been released by Lift Aero Design. Photo: Fly Atlantic.

Previous Transatlantic Offering

Previously, United Airlines (UA) had operated a daily service to New York (EWR) service. However, the airline pulled the route in 2017. This was despite the Northern Ireland government offering £9 million (US$10.7 million) to keep the flight operating.

Low-cost airline Norwegian (DY) also briefly flew to Stewart International Airport (SWF), New York and Rhode Island T. F. Green International Airport (PVD), operated by its 737 MAXs. Both were dropped in 2018 as part of the carrier’s restructuring.

UA utilised its Boeing 757s on the daily service between BFS and EWR. Photo: Francesco Cecchetti/Airways.

“We looked at many options throughout the UK and Ireland. Belfast International and Vinci [BFS operator] stood out in terms of the facilities that they offered us and by their enthusiasm for and commitment to making this project a reality,” Pyne added.

Pyne has a long aviation history. He has headed various airlines, including Russian budget carrier Avianova (AO), Cobalt Air (CO) and Tus Airways (U8). Pyne also served as a strategic advisor to budget transatlantic operator Wow Air.

Featured Image: The airlines branding is being created by Lift Aero Design. Photo: Lift Aero Design.

European Deputy Editor
Writer, aviation fanatic, and Airways European Deputy Editor, Lee is a plant geek and part-time Flight Attendant for a UK-based airline. Based in Liverpool, United Kingdom.

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