The Blue Swan Start-up Report – October 2017

The Blue Swan Daily brings you a monthly wrap of the key start-up activity for Oct-2017, including three key launches:

  • China Air Cargo Corporation launched on 12-Oct-2017, with Shenzhen-Changzhou service using Boeing 757-200F aircraft. China Air Cargo is a Chinese cargo carrier based at Guangzhou Baiyun Airport.
  • AirAsia Japan commenced on 29-Oct-2017 with a Nagoya-Sapporo service using A320 aircraft. The airline is the second attempt by the LCC group to enter the competitive Japanese market.
  • VLM Airlines relaunched scheduled operations on 30-Oct-2017, with a London City-Antwerp service using Fokker 50 aircraft. The services are operated under a joint service schedule with VLM Airlines Slovenia.


The following outlines key interesting and newsworthy start-up briefs during the month:

  1. Russia’s Minister for Industry and Trade Denis Manturov stated Russia is prepared to participate in the establishment of a national carrier in Armenia. Mr Manturov added the carrier could be established after mid 2018.
  2. Taiwan’s Ministry of Transportation and Communications approved the Civil Aeronautics Administration’s second submission of proposals for adjustments to relax restrictions governing the entry of start up airlines. The adjusted legislation, which is expected to go into effect within two months, removes the requirement that any company applying to operate civil aviation services in Taiwan must have been in the international transportation or trade sectors for at least five years, generating more than TWD6 billion (USD197.5 million) p/a in revenue. The amended legislation instead requires the company to show a financial balance of TWD6 billion, obtain at least three aircraft and have a qualified management team.
  3. Smile Air confirmed plans to create a new website,, to represent Smile Air Ghana which will replace the airline’s existing site. The airline also plans to launch to represent the acquisition of a Nigerian entity that will evolve as Smile Air Nigeria.
  4. Philippines Civil Aeronautics Board reported Pilipinas Asian Pearl Airways applied for a certificate to operate domestic non-scheduled air tax services.
  5. Zambia’s Government and Ethiopian Airlines are in the final stages of discussions for a shareholder agreement to establish a new carrier based in Lusaka.
  6. Air Sial chairman Fazal Jillani will commence domestic operations in Jan-2018.
  7. Aerodesierto is reportedly seeking to make a comeback as a low cost charter carrier. The carrier will reportedly operate with a Boeing 737-200 aircraft (tail CC-CVI) registered by Chilean Airways.
  8. UK’s Companies House issued a certificate of incorporation for Wizz Air UK Limited. Scheduled passenger air transport is specified as the company’s nature of business. Jozsef Varadi was named the director of Wizz Air UK Limited.
  9. South Korea’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MOLIT) stated it did not take a negative stance on the issuance of new international carrier licenses at a meeting on the issuance of new airline licenses.
  10. Tahiti Seaplanes cofounder Arthur Cottrel confirmed its intention to launch operates in French Polynesia, subject to regulatory approval. To be based at Papeete Airport, the carrier will initially operate on the Society Islands archipelago, with the carrier already acquiring one five seat Cessna 206 Amphibious aircraft, currently leased in Canada.
  11. Malaysia Airlines CEO Peter Bellew said the airline expects to receive final approval for the launch of a new charter carrier from Khazanah Nasional by the end of 2017.
  12. Flybondi announced plans to commence operations in Dec-2017, launching Cordoba-Mendoza service.
  13. Gorkha Airlines, which ceased operation on 21-Feb-2011, is still awaiting renewal of its AOC, according to MD Prajol Shrestha. The carrier had been planning to launch service by the end of 2017 with two Embraer 145s, with the first Embraer delivery expected within four months.
  14. Cambodia’s State Secretariat of Civil Aviation spokesman Sinn Chanserey Vutha confirmed Small Planet Airlines Cambodia received an air operator’s certificates (AOC) and AOC applications are in progress for Air Siem Reap, Cambodia Airways, KC International Airlines and Prince International Airlines.
  15. Small Planet Airlines Cambodia CEO Erikas Zubrus said the airline plans to initially serve China, Hong Kong and South Korea and is seeking approval to operate to Japan, Thailand and Pacific islands. The carrier intends to expand its fleet to three aircraft in winter 2017/18 and to six aircraft in the next two years.
  16. Buryatia Republic’s Government announced plans to support the establishment of a regional carrier for the operation of services within the region and to neighbouring areas. Buryatia Republic will acquire Yakovlev Yak-40 aircraft for Baikalaviacom under a leasing agreement.
  17. Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico reportedly proposed the operation of Bratislava-Poprad-Kosice service by a new national carrier.
  18. Lakestar Express received an air service license from Malawi’s Ministry of Transport and Public Works and plans to commence operations by Jan-2018. The airline intends to initially operate between Lilongwe and Blantyre with Beechcraft 1900D equipment.
  19. Adria Airways Switzerland CCO Christian Schneider confirmed the carrier is no longer planning to work with PowdAir.
  20. Perugia San Francesco d’Assisi Airport management company SASE SpA terminated its contract with FlyVolare.
  21. Ghana’s President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo stated Asamoah Gyan, captain of Ghana’s national soccer team, obtained an air carrier license and is working to establish an airline name Baby Jet Airlines.
  22. Azul Uruguay acquired its first three new ATR 72-600 aircraft.
  23. AirAsia Japan announced it commenced operations with inaugural twice daily Nagoya Chubu-Sapporo Chitose service on 29-Oct-2017.
  24. Air Belgium received investment from Belgium’s Federal Holding and Investment Company (SFPI-FPIM) and the Walloon investment company (SRIW), with the companies now holding a 25% stake in the start-up.
  25. VLM Airlines recommenced operations with the launch of Antwerp-London City service with Fokker 50 aircraft.
  26. NeuquenProvince Government announced Lineas Aereas SA (LASA) is working on obtaining an AOC to commence operations by the end of 2017. Air Nostrum is estimated to invest USD73 million in LASA. LASA’s plans to commence operations with two Bombardier CRJ200 aircraft, and plans on expanding in 2018 by incorporating three CRJ200 aircraft and one ATR 42-300 Combi.
  27. London Stansted Airportconfirmed Air Mediterranean completed inaugural Athens-London Stansted service on 02-Nov-2017.


Shut-down Section

Monarch Airlines (ceased operations on 02-Oct-2017)

Monarch Airlines and UK CAA confirmed that the following companies have ceased trading and now entered administration:

  • Monarch Airlines Ltd;
  • Monarch Holidays Ltd (ATOL Number 2275);
  • First Aviation Ltd (ATOL Number 4888) previously trading as Monarch Airlines;
  • Avro Ltd (ATOL Number 1939);
  • Somewhere2stay Ltd.

Its AOC was suspended by the UK Civil Aviation Administrations on 01-Oct-2017, with flights effectively suspended from 02-Oct-2017. Monarch operated a fleet primarily of Airbus A320-family aircraft.


Air Berlin PLC (ceased operations on 27-Oct-2017)

airberlin filed to commence insolvency proceedings on 15-Aug-2017, due to Etihad Airways intending to no longer airberlin with financial support. The carrier’s creditors committee announced Deutsche Lufthansa AG and easyJet as selected bidders for airberlin’s aviation business. Deutsche Lufthansa AG will acquire regional carrier Luftfahrtgesellschaft Walter mbH (LGW) and NIKI from Air Berlin Group for a combined purchase price of EUR210 million, following negotiations between the two German airline holding companies. The acquisition is subject to European Commission approval, with Lufthansa confirming it plans to dissolve the NIKI brand and integrate the carrier into Eurowings. airberlin reached an EUR40 million agreement for easyJet to takeover 25 A320 leases, along with slots and bookings at Berlin Tegel Airport. Furthermore, German logistics holding company, Berliner Zeitfracht, acquired its freight subsidiary, Leisure Cargo. airberlin ceased all scheduled services on 27-Oct-2017, and subsequently decommissioned Belair on 28-Oct-2017. A consortium comprising Nayak and Berliner Zeitfracht Gruppe acquired MRO unit, airberlin technik.


Thomas Cook Airlines Belgium (ceased operations on 27-Oct-2017)

On 12-Sep-2017, the Belgian Competition Authority approved the integration of Thomas Cook Airline Belgium (TCAB) assets into Brussels Airlines. Under a partnership agreement announced in Mar-2017, Thomas Cook transferred 160 crew members, airport slots and two A320 aircraft of TCAB into Brussels Airlines – establishing Brussels Airlines as a leading airline partner for the Thomas Cook Group. The remaining three A320s in the TCAB fleet were absorbed by Thomas Cook Group. Brussels Airlines and TCAB executed the integration on 28-Oct-2017, as Thomas Cook Airline Belgium routes began to display Brussels Airlines’ SN flight number. Congruent to the Brussels Airlines-TCAB partnership plans, SHS Antwerp Aviation acquired Thomas Cook Airlines Belgium’s air operator certificate and operating licence, following the acquisition of all TCAB shares in May-2017. SHS commenced joint scheduled flights later this year under the common trading name ‘VLM Airlines’, the Belgian carrier which ceased in Jun-2016. Thomas Cook Airlines Belgium operated its final service on 27-Oct-2017.