Several months ago, in a related article, I made mention of two start up air carriers for the US market. Since then, both EOS Airlines and Maxjet Airways have taken flight and are successfully serving their passengers and making plans for future expansion. Beyond these two carriers, additional carriers are waiting to take their first flights. Let's take a look at some leading contenders.
Fly First Class -- This Florida based air carrier is planning to use Wilmington, NC as its base. With flights to Bermuda and London planned, the airline -- true to its name -- will offer only one level of service, first class. Expected first flight is sometime during the second quarter of 2006.
Primaris Airlines -- Already FAA approved and the owner of a single Boeing 757 aircraft which they currently are leasing to another carrier, Primaris placed an order in January 2005 for Boeing's new Dreamliner aircraft, also known as the 787. Before the first of these particular aircraft arrive in 2008, Primaris reportedly will be leasing three additional 757 aircraft and begin scheduled service between New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco by the middle of 2006.
Virgin America -- Pending government approval, Virgin America will fly upwards of 105 Airbus aircraft. Based in San Francisco, the Richard Branson inspired airline must overcome some hurdles first including convincing the US government that the airline is, indeed, mostly US owned.
Other start up carriers which are also being watched include: Blackstar Airlines, USA Jet Airlines, and Baltia Air Lines. All start ups must secure key funding, receive various federal and local governmental approvals, organize a management team, and commence hiring well before the first flight is made. It is this particular process that shakes out all the pretenders leaving behind carriers committed to making a go of it.