charter airline is trying to persuade low-cost carriers to give
long-haul, scheduled service a try, proposing that outsourcing
flights would reduce their costs and risk.
Richard Ziskind, Omni
Air International's senior director of marketing, has been meeting
with low-cost carriers over the past year, proposing to lease
aircraft and crews, which he said would allow them to get airborne
with far less time, money and effort than if they tried long-haul
service on their own.
Ziskind said the
aircraft, likely one of the 757s or DC-10s in Omni's fleet, would
fly under the low-cost carrier's brand and with the livery, seating
configuration and product it wanted.
Ziskind said the
wet-lease concept (leasing an aircraft with crew) also would allow
carriers more flexibility to try international service on a
seasonal basis when the market is strongest and to stop the service
if it isn't working. He's also pitching wet leases to test the
viability of a service that would link a low-cost carrier's flights
in Europe to an LCC's flights in the U.S.
Omni International provides service to U.S. tour operators,
worldwide cruise lines and some scheduled-service airlines. So far,
Ziskind said he was finding the most interest among Asian and
European carriers, whose customers are more accustomed to flying
charters than air passengers in North America.
His efforts come as
the low-cost, long-haul idea has started to take hold, although the
long-term success of the various models still remains open to
The effort getting
the most media attention these days, particularly overseas, is
AirAsia X, an AirAsia offshoot that will operate from a base in
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Initially, AirAsia X will fly to Australia
and China, then to Europe, India, Korea, Japan and the Middle
Other efforts are
moving forward, too, including some with service to the
Oasis Hong Kong flies its two-class service on 747 aircraft from
Hong Kong to London Gatwick and Vancouver. Having just secured a
$30 million investment from a fund management firm, it is planning
an expansion that would include service to San Francisco and
" Zoom began service a few years ago
in Canada, from which it still offers all-coach service to Paris
and five U.K. destinations. This year, a U.K.-based sister company
began Zoom service between London Gatwick and New York, with some
of the flights stopping in Bermuda. Zoom recently applied for U.S.
rights to serve New York from regional airports throughout the
" FlyGlobespan added service from
Boston to Glasgow, Scotland, and Ireland's West Airport Knock in
late May. The airline also flies from Glasgow to Orlando
" Qantas' low-cost subsidiary,
Jetstar, started long-haul flights last November and flies from
Melbourne and Sydney to Asia cities and Honolulu.
In September, CFO
Peter Gregg said Jetstar made a small profit on its international
service in the first seven months, when excluding start-up costs.
He mentioned 20% lower costs than competitors and Jetstar's ability
to benefit from Qantas' brand and purchasing power as key
" LTU, a charter and scheduled
carrier that is about to be rebranded as Air Berlin for its U.S.
services, has a mix of individual bookings and seats reserved by
tour operators. In the U.S. market, it offers service from New
York; Los Angeles; Miami; Fort Myers, Fla.; and Las Vegas to
" Eurofly offers service from New
York to four Italian cities: Rome, Naples, Bologna and
" Maxjet, Eos and Silverjet offer
lower-cost, all-premium-class service between London and the U.S.
Maxjet and Eos use London Stansted, and Silverjet uses London
Luton. L'Avion offers all-premium service between Newark and Orly
Airport in Paris.
Eos is planning to
add service from Newark to Stansted next spring and from New York
to Paris next fall and said it also might add two other routes in
contact reporter Andrew Compart, send e-mail to [email protected].