UK-India Startup Hans Airways Signs LOI For Its First A330-200

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UK-based startup Hans Airways has taken a step closer to realizing its ambitions with a letter of intent (LOI) for its first aircraft. The airline has today announced the agreement for an A330-200, and has applied to the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for its Air Operators Certificate. It hopes to launch services as soon as this summer.

First A330 for Hans

Hans Airways, a brand new UK airline, has today revealed that it has signed a letter of intent (LOI) for its first aircraft. The airline is looking forward to receiving an A330-200 later this year, with high hopes to begin operations before the summer is out.

The A330 in question carries MSN 950, and is a 13.5-year-old A330-200 that has been in service with Air Europa since its construction. It was delivered new to Air Europa as EC-KTG in September 2008, and is on lease from  Carlyle Aviation Partners. According to data from RadarBox.com, the aircraft left Spain at the end of December, and is currently in maintenance at Abu Dhabi.

Hans Airways shares that the A330 will be re-registered G-KJAS – a nod to one of the airline’s principal early investors, Kirpal Singh Jass. It will retain its current Air Europa cabin layout, which features 275 economy and 24 premium economy seats. In a statement, the airline’s CEO Satnam Saini commented,

“We are delighted to have achieved this very important milestone in our two-year journey. Our scheduled operations centre on the Airbus A330, a popular and spacious long-haul widebody, excellent for cargo too, and we are grateful to everyone who has helped us to ratify this agreement at the start of the new year.”

Air Europa A330
EC-KTG in its current livery for Air Europa. Photo: Victor via Flickr

The airline applied for its AOC in March 2020 and is hopeful of approval in the coming weeks. Dependent on the timescales for this, and the situation with global travel restrictions, it hopes to launch services before the end of the summer.

Moving ahead

Hans Airways began recruiting crew back in August last year. The airline says that the first set of flight crew, comprised of four pilots and cabin crew, began training on January 3rd with its training partner IAGO Flight Training.

Looking to connect the UK to secondary cities in India, the airline is working to set up a base in Birmingham (BHX). Although it hasn’t named any Indian cities specifically yet, its website showcases Amritsar, which could be a lucrative destination for a direct Birmingham flight.

Hans Airways
The A330s will be in two classes – premium economy and economy. Photo: Hans Airways

While this market is going to be relatively price sensitive, Hans Airways isn’t going all out to be a low-cost airline for these routes. It states that it intends to operate a hybrid model, combining great value for money with some of the more in-demand frills such as inflight entertainment and catering.

The airline has put together a board of directors with some pretty impressive CVs. Non-executive director Dr Barry Humphreys is a former regulator with the UK CAA and a former director of Virgin Atlantic. Fellow non-executive director Dr Peter Malanik is the former CEO of Austrian Airlines. And the Chairman, Ruchir Verma, has worked with Microsoft, Zurich Insurance and various other corporate projects. Similarly, the leadership team has officers formerly employed by the likes of easyJet, BA CityFlyer, TUI, Virgin, and more.

While the jury is still out on whether the UK to India market needs another player, Hans Airways clearly believes in its strategy. It has already planned a frequent flyer program and is keenly eyeing the start of operations later in the year.