Start-up carrier Flypop has signed a “multiple aircraft A330-300 lease deal” with Avolon, ahead of the planned launch of flights between the UK and India later this year.

Business Traveller first reported on the paper carrier back in 2016, and the airline recently received investment from the UK government’s Future Fund.

Flypop said it had been in discussions with a number of leasing companies, adding that “Avolon offered the most competitive rate and a pipeline of aircraft into 2023”.

The carrier’s CEO and Principal (Nino) Navdip Singh Judge said that the lease deal meant the airline had been able to submit its AOC license application to the UK Civil Aviation Authority, with the first flights expected to commence by October.

Flypop is understood to still be targeting two launch routes from London Stansted to Amritsar and Ahmedabad, catering “not only to the UK’s Indian/South Asian diaspora (and their visiting friends and relatives) but will also those keen to explore the Indian sub-continent and region with very low-priced flights”.

Commenting on the lease agreement Martyn Lewis, Senior VP – Marketing (Europe, Middle East and Africa) at Avolon, said:

“We look forward to working with Flypop on its exciting imminent launch of flights between the UK and India. We will work with Flypop on its future growth strategy and expansion of routes and provide further aircraft as required.

At launch, Flypop will commence operations with one aircraft and plans to add an extra aircraft every six months. It’s not every day we help launch a new British long-haul scheduled carrier!”

Much doubt remains among our readers as to whether such a carrier can succeed, as this recent forum thread shows.

But Charlie Clifton, Flypop’s senior operations adviser and ex director of ground operations at Ryanair, believes the Covid-19 pandemic may have come at the right times for the carrier.

“The incumbents have been badly wounded after 18 months without any revenue but plenty of costs and debt. Flypop, on the other hand has avoided any exposure to the pandemic and consequently is in the unique and fortunate position to extract maximum advantage from the lower costs resulting from the crisis.

“Flypop’s cost of entry is much lower now than it would have been pre-Covid-19. Low fares always stimulate greater demand. The sector is currently on the floor, but the market will return strongly.”