Stalled powdair finds investor but delays startup

Stalled start-up airline powdair has received a significant investment offer from an unnamed party after losing its original financial backer last week, but is unable to launch operations this winter as first planned.

The airline’s main investor withdrew their support due to concerns over the collapse of high-profile airlines such as Monarch and Air Berlin, further accentuated by powdair’s preferred aircraft operator Swiss Adria (Darwin) having its operating licence withdrawn and continued speculation over the unknown impact of the Brexit process on European aviation.

Under a non-disclosure agreement, the original investor has not been named, with powdair saying only that they were “not from an aviation background”.

The winter sports-focused airline was faced last week with the need to secure at least £3 million to operate this season, and at least £1 million within a week in order to operate a reduced but efficient flight schedule this season.

On 1 December, however, it confirmed that although it had received a significant investment offer from an aviation industry investor, the due diligence required to finalise the investment would take at least 30 days, meaning it had to take the decision not to launch operations this winter.

In a statement, the airline said: “Our new investor wishes to ensure that all necessary steps are taken to launch a strong, well-funded airline focused on long-term success.”

powdair is not going into administration, it said, and the company would continue to exist but with a longer timeline for the launch of flights. It now expects to relaunch during 2018 as an airline, operating its own aircraft which it says provides “a much stronger basis on which to plan route schedules.”

The start-up said it had been “overwhelmed” with support from investors, businesses and resorts in the UK, Belgium and the Valais, and said: “You sent us a very clear message of support and this inspired us to do all we could to find a new financial backer for powdair.”

The airline is now organising full refunds for all passengers booked to fly with them. In a statement the powdair team said: “We’d like to thank each and every one of you who’ve been in touch this week with your sincere messages of support. We strongly believe that a huge opportunity exists at Sion Airport, your support this week makes us more determined than ever.”


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