There has been a long list of transatlantic budget airline failures over the past decades.
Last month I reported on Norse Atlantic having to trim its transatlantic services during the quieter winter months.
So it was hardly surprising to see one reader commenting “Why do they [budget airlines] keep trying?” But they do… despite the odds being stacked against them.
Today Ireland’s Rte.ie reports that a Belfast-based newcomer, Fly Atlantic, plans to launch in summer 2024.
The flights will be to destinations both transatlantic and Europe. Fly Atlantic plans to operate these with a fleet of eight long-range B737 Max or A321 aircraft.
It’s expected the chosen aircraft type would depend on which manufacturer offers the best deal and the best delivery time.
CEO Andrew Pyne was quoted by Rte as saying:
“Our vision is of Belfast International 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.
“The project can be a gamechanger.”
One wonders, however, whether Fly Atlantic can succeed with its ambitious plans – the latter are listed in the Rte link above.
Rival Dublin is not far away and it has many more services. In addition Dublin currently has the advantage of US pre-clearance.
At the moment Belfast does not have US pre-clearance. One advantage it has over mainland UK airports is that there is no APD (Air Passenger Duty) charged on direct long-haul flights (provided customers start their flight from Belfast).
I ought to point out that the last two schedules to operate transatlantic from Belfast, United (previously Continental) and Norwegian, both cancelled their services.
We wish Fly Atlantic well but it’s not going to be a walk in the park.
See our guide to new and forthcoming start-up airlines: