A new all-business class service between London Luton Airport and New York’s Newark Airport will launch this spring.
La Compagnie will operate the flights four times a week from 24 April, moving up to six times a week from 3 June.
On its Boeing 757-200 the flights will all have 74 lie-flat seats with in-flight entertainment provided on Samsung tablets.
The service’s price point also aims to stand out, with its regular fares starting from GBP1, 539. Introductory fares start from GBP1, 007 for two or GBP649 for a single person.
Speaking at the launch in London today, La Compagnie’s founder and CEO Frantz Yvelin said the launch had come from demand for premium traffic on the London to New York route, and the success of its services between Paris and the US city.
“It’s an honour to operate on one of the busiest routes in the skies and with the premium demand on this route we have an overall target of 1.6 million passengers,” he said. “I think we will continue to drive this demand and also drive prices to go down.”
There have been several previous ventures into offering a business class-only service between the two cities which have resulted in failure, which Yvelin believes is down to the wrong airport, aircraft and business model. Yvelin himself previously ran a business class-only service between Paris and New York under his airline L’Avion, which was later sold to British Airways and merged with OpenSkies.
So why Luton, and what makes him sure La Compagnie will work?
“We didn’t like Stansted as it’s too low-cost for us, and at Heathrow it was difficult to get what we wanted. At London City our aircraft was too large to operate from there. So we had the choice of Gatwick or Luton. Luton is the largest private jet airbase in the UK so we believe our passengers will enjoy flying from there – a boutique airline flying from a boutique airport. It has a 50-minute train connection into central London, a quick passenger journey and good on-ground facilities,” Yvelin said.
“[In my and other airlines’ experiences] I’ve learnt that if you want to sell cheaper you need a low-cost base and structure,” he added. “There is no compromise on security but we are cost conscious so, for example, our offices are in suburbs of Paris. If we keep costs internally cheaper than we can pass the benefit onto our passengers.”
With a third and fourth aircraft hoping to be in the fleet by the end of 2016, La Compagnie could add more connections in the future where there is a demand for premium traffic. His dream is point-to-point connections into Asia, South America and/or west coast USA.