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Meet the new airline buying up super jumbo jets for cheap to offer flights across the Atlantic

Meet the new airline buying up super jumbo jets for cheap to offer flights across the Atlantic

A new start-up, Global Airlines, will succeed because passengers, pilots and airports love the Airbus A380: that is the claim from James Asquith, the travel entrepreneur who is creating the new long-haul carrier.

“Everyone says that something can’t be done until it’s done,” he told The Independent.

Mr Asquith, 34, believes that the world’s biggest airliner will attract passengers and staff even in a highly competitive market. His business plan relies on buying up secondhand A380s at very low prices.

The double-deck jet has not been a commercial success, with far fewer sales than the Boeing 747. By far the biggest operator is Emirates, with more than half the European-built “SuperJumbos” in service. But Air France has retired its fleet of the plane, some of which are being stored at Lourdes airport in southwest France. Other A380s at the end of their initial 10-year leases have been handed back. As a result, the pre-owned jets are going cheap.

Global Airlines bought its first aircraft – of an initial fleet of four – from a German aircraft finance company, Doric Aviation. The price has not been revealed, but is believed to be in the low tens of millions of dollars.

Mr Asquith said: “By not paying $275m plus for an A380, our break-even point is much, much lower.

“Interest and depreciation on a ticket is around 40 per cent of the cost to pay that aircraft back over 15 to 20 years.

“It’s a significant chunk of the fee that we’ve taken out. No lessors, no guns against our head, no debt.

“That allows us to be able to add more in terms of the product and there’s more headroom in terms of pricing as well.”

Global Airlines has yet to announce a launch date or confirm destinations, but the founder says the airline could be flying “sooner than you think”. It has teamed up with a Portugal charter carrier, HiFly, which has experience of operating the A380 – and the required licences.

“We’re where we need to be,” Mr Asquith said. “The ‘return to service’ work on our first aircraft is almost complete – in the 90 per cent range.”

The main focus will be on transatlantic flying, but the founder promises “some other things – we’ll be revealing all of that pretty shortly”.

Many aviation industry insiders have questioned Global Airlines’ chances of a start-up successfully filling seats on the world’s…

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