Could Australia’s Next Airline Be Called ‘brad’?

It has been a while since Australia last saw a new airline started from scratch. OzJet rose and…

Could Australia’s Next Airline Be Called ‘brad’?

It has been a while since Australia last saw a new airline started from scratch. OzJet rose and fell over the 2005/06 summer. Tigerair had a better run, flying from 2007 until 2020. Starting an airline is a tricky and costly business but the smell of aviation fuel keeps pulling the would-be airline moguls in.

Is Australia about to get another domestic airline? Photo: Getty Images

And recent memories of 2020 and an almost ruined airline industry haven’t stopped another airline industry insider from deciding he’d like to have a crack at Australia’s competitive domestic aviation market.

Choose from brad basic, brad plus, or brad class on brad

The story of Australia’s newest startup airline was first reported by The Australian newspaper’s Robyn Ironside on Monday. According to the report, a Perth-based former pilot named Brad Coombe is behind the would-be airline. Mr. Coombe wants to fund the launch via crowdfunding and keeping things simple, he plans to name the airline after himself – brad.

Brad Coombe told The Australian he’s eyeing a fleet of narrowbody twin-engine jets to scoot around Australia, saying Australians are over the status quo.

“We think it is time for a change,” Mr. Coombe said. “brad will be the answer to easy and affordable three-class travel in Australia.”

Mr Coombe also intends to name the three cabin classes after himself – brad basic, brad plus, and brad class – cabin class names that should disturb every girl who has ever had a vaguely unsatisfactory relationship with a man named Brad.

The challenge for Brad Coombe and his new airline is to stand out from the pack. Photo: Getty Images

brad crowdfunding its way to an air operator’s certificate and its first plane

Many aviation experts query whether Australia can support the existing carriers offering narrowbody twin-engine domestic jet services, let alone another player. But Brad Coombe argues now is a good time to start an airline. His timeline to be in the air is 12 to 18 months.

Between now and then, there are a few issues to sort – such as regulatory approval, licenses, aircraft, employees, funding, and so forth. Initially, Mr Coombe aims to raise funds via crowdfunding, imitating airlines elsewhere they have ventured down that path. He needs to raise around US$2.25 million to secure the all-important air operator’s certificate and lease one plane. So far, crowdfunding has raised around US$1940. But this week’s burst of publicity may help things along.

While Mr Coombe is setting himself an ambitious timeline and has several hurdles to overcome before anyone buckles up in brad basic, his crowdfunding strategy isn’t a new one in the industry.

brad still has a few issues to sort out before it gets in the air. Photo: Getty Images

Crowdfunding an airline a tall order

One of the best-known previous crowdfunding cases is Switzerland’s FlyBair. In 2019, the would-be virtual airline based in Bern targeted raising US$one million via crowdfunding. A few years earlier, UK startup flypop turned to crowdfunding to raise around $7 million with a view to flying between the UK and India. Airports have also targeted crowdfunding in order to lure airlines back.

Cashed up and sophisticated airline investors do not usually take a punt on would-be airlines via the crowdfunding route. They prefer more tried and true methods, like buying convertible bonds or taking equity stakes.

But if the startup airline fills a market niche rather than just replicates what other airlines are doing, and targets its marketing well, crowdfunding can have a half-decent chance of working. FlyBair was put together by Bern Airport as a way of restoring air services to the Swiss town. The crowdfunding campaign was supported by local accommodation houses, tourist operators, and private individuals because FlyBair would reopen transport links and bring people to the town. There was a clearly discernable benefit and dollar value for Bern locals in FlyBair getting up and running.

But if Mr Coombes want to replicate that success with brad, he’s going to have to pitch a pretty unique product offering. Offering low fares and decent service isn’t new. Local carriers Rex, Jetstar, Qantas, and Virgin Australia can all manage that when they try. Running a few leased Boeings or Airbus aircraft between Australia’s capital cities isn’t going to revolutionize the airline industry or excite the traveling public much.

To get his money and then his namesake airline into the air, Brad Coombes will need to think outside the box. Good start with the name.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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Virgin Australia CEO Calls For Borders To Reopen This Year

Virgin Australia’s CEO Jayne Hrdlicka has joined a chorus of airline and business leaders calling on the Australian…

Virgin Australia CEO Calls For Borders To Reopen This Year

Virgin Australia’s CEO Jayne Hrdlicka has joined a chorus of airline and business leaders calling on the Australian Government to re-open the country’s borders sometime this year. Speaking at a business function in Brisbane on Monday, the Virgin Australia boss took aim at the Australian Government’s mid-2022 timeline to re-open borders.

Virgin Australia’s boss is calling for Australia’s borders to reopen before mid-2022. Photo: Getty Images

Australia needs to learn to live with COVID says Virgin Australia boss

As Australia’s vaccination program continues, Ms Hrdlicka said Australia needs to learn to live with COVID-19 and accept the challenges it might bring.

“We need to get the borders open for our own health and for the economy,” the Virgin Australia CEO said. “We forget the fact we have learnt to live with lots of viruses and challenges over the years, and the government has to learn to live with this and sooner than June 2022.”

“We’re all going to be sicker than we ever have been in the past because we’re not exposed to the viruses and challenges that the rest of the world is dealing with.”

Ms Hrdlicka said as a consequence, people might die. But the CEO said those numbers will be smaller than the numbers who die each year from influenza. Jayne Hrdlicka argues the Australian Government lives with that yearly outcome.

Calling Jayne Hrdlicka’s comments “insensitive,” Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Tuesday, “I’m not going to take risks with Australians’ lives.

Jayne Hrdlicka at Monday’s Queensland University of Technology business event. Photo: Roger Phillips/QUT

Australian Government hardens stance on border reopening

Jayne Hrdlicka’s contribution to the increasingly polarised border debate comes in the wake of the Australian Government recently indicating it was comfortable keeping Australia’s international borders closed until mid-2002. That is despite growing indications the vast bulk of the Australian population will be vaccinated by the end of 2021.

A recent poll reveals 73% of Australians are content to see the country’s borders stay shut until mid-2022. 21% of the poll respondents said the border re-opening should tie in with the vaccination rollout. But the Government has its eye on winning the next election. It doesn’t give a toss about a small percentage of the population upset because their annual trip to Aspen is off the cards.

Qantas boss Alan Joyce is reluctant to openly criticize the Australian Government. But he has long said he’s keen to see Australia’s borders reopen as soon as safely possible. He argues a combination of vaccinations, digital health passports, and the judicious use of quarantine can facilitate that.

Qantas is keen to restart its normally extensive international operations. These days, Virgin Australia is solely a domestic airline. However, the airline is planning to resume some flights to New Zealand later this year. To date, Virgin Australia has refrained from joining the debate surrounding the border closures. As a purely domestic airline, with Australian’s kept onshore and redirecting money normally spent on international travel over to domestic travel, Virgin Australia’s bottom line arguably gets a bounce from the international border closure.

But as Jayne Hrdlicka said at the Queensland University of Technology business event, keeping Australia’s borders shut unnecessarily has significant broader economic consequences that will come back to bite her airline over the longer term.

Even as a solely domestic airline, Virgin Australia wants to see international borders open. Photo: Getty Images

Australian Government says the priority is keeping Australians safe

The Virgin Australia CEO’s comments align with what a growing number of medicos, business leaders, and dissenting politicians say. But the Australian Government seems happy to choose its own path.

“Our primary responsibility as a government is to keep our people safe,” said Australian Government Minister David Littleproud on ABC radio on Tuesday morning. “We are in no hurry to open up borders until we can get that surety.

Referring to Jayne Hrdlicka’s comments, Mr Littleproud said, “The Federal Government will take its advice from the Chief Medical Officer, not from CEOs of corporate companies.

“If you look at us (Australia) in comparison to the rest of the world, I would not want to be anywhere else at the moment.”

Airline bosses like Jayne Hrdlicka and Alan Joyce are playing to one audience. The Australian Government figures it is playing to another, much bigger audience. The government figures it has the numbers.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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