Airline start-ups: Why make the same mistakes others have already made?

Airline start-ups

According to my personal experience, a lot of conceptual work is necessary before the first flight takes off. This is the reason why I would like to give new players on the market an initial support by providing a very high-level checklist for each step required to start an airline.

All beginnings are difficult

The real challenge of setting up an airline is to make it a successful business. In any business, success requires entrepreneurship, passion, dedication and a bit of luck. But airlines are not like any other business. It is a technology-driven, high-cost business that requires high qualifications and operates with tight margins. To make an airline a successful business, it requires many years of experience in the industry and knowledge that can only come from being part of an airline business every day. For a new airline, a reliable partner with deep knowledge about airline processes as well as IT and business proven methods to support with a helping and pragmatic hand might therefore be a good approach. Especially if you want to prevent making all (costly) mistakes that others have already gone through.

According to my personal experience, a lot of conceptual work is necessary before the first flight takes off. This is the reason why I would like to give new players on the market an initial support by providing a very high-level checklist for each step required to start an airline:

 

High-level checklist for airline startups

Step 1: Create a business plan

First of all, you need to create a master plan for:

  • Business model
  • Commercial plan
  • Operational plan
  • Corporate functions
  • Financial planning

 

Step 2: Plan the implementation

Then plan steps to:

  • Get AOC
  • Finalize route network
  • Set up MRO
  • Staff recruiting and training

 

Step 3: Implement

Next, set the following project streams:

  • Commercial
  • Flight Ops
  • Ground Ops
  • Maintenance
  • Enablers (IT, HR, etc.)
     

Step 4: Take off

Bring your airline into the air:

  • Launch airline operation
  • Intervene if problems occur


Step 5: Monitor and adjust

Finally, and unfortunately often forgotten, you need to monitor and adjust your settings:

  • Monitor commercial and operational performance
  • Adjust the original operating model
  • Perform final project controlling


Of course, this checklist needs to be more detailed in each aspect for getting airborne as planned, all backed up by strict project management in accordance with. One thing many startups forget: Not only operational and commercial knowledge is necessary for a successful launch, but also a certain expertise about proven methods, such as:

  • Business model design (business model canvas, SWOT, strategy canvas)
  • Business process design (BPMN, process reference models)
  • Project management (scrum methodology, systemic management)

I hope this high-level checklist might help some airline startups to facilitate their first steps into operations. If you have any questions or are insecure about certain steps, please write me. I am also happy about any feedback.

 

 

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