Posted on: 09 March 2018 by Mark Thomas
Nascent regional airline Firnas Airways is working its way towards a formal launch, with the third quarter of this year targeted for its initial start-up.
The carrier is initially planning to offer short-haul charter services in Europe using a leased 19-seater BAE Jetstream 31 turboprop. It is presently “busy working on its regulatory check-list and securing the necessary finance to formally launch what will be the UK’s newest independent regional airline,” it stated.
An aircraft painted in its colour scheme was presented to interested potential investors last month. “Our investment programme is on schedule and going extremely well,” said founder CEO Kazi Rahman.
The plan is eventually for Firnas to fill a niche in the sub 50-seat aircraft category. The company says it has identified “unserved and under-served smaller airports with strong catchments, in phase one of its business,” and flagged up regional airports including London Oxford, London Southend, Waterford and Isle of Man Ronaldsway.
“We are building a community airline where our investors will help us choose where we fly,” added Rahman. He went on to say that research over the past 18 months has revealed “a notable gap in the 19-seat market, especially in charter, which is where we will start, before moving into regular, scheduled flights. We will start path-finding regional routes with up to two Jetstream 31s, building up to move into bigger 50-seaters.”
“Today’s regional airlines have matured into 70-seat aircraft. Scheduled services have diminished notably in favour of ACMI, sub-charter work for bigger airlines so there is a gap in the market,” commented John Brayford, managing director.
The company, registered in 2014, is raising capital under the UK’s fully HMRC-endorsed Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) and Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and seeking ‘angel investors’ via the Eureeca equity crowd-funding platform.