Business-only airline launches to UK market – with Ryanair as its ‘role model’

By April Hutchinson.

Start-up French airline La Compagnie has launched to the UK market with a promise to provide the “cheapest business class service in the world”.

La Compagnie aircraft

La Compagnie will operate an all business-class service three times a week initially from London Luton to New York’s Newark airport, launching April 24, with flights departing 5.30pm and arriving at around 10pm.

It will then move to four flights a week and eventually to six weekly flights from June.

Parent company Dreamjet was set up in 2013 and launched a Paris-New York service in July last year, which has achieved average 60% load factors to date.

Speaking at the launch today, chief executive Frantz Yvelin, said legacy carriers with transatlantic routes were charging “insane, ridiculous” fares.

“We may not be the most luxurious business class flight on the Atlantic but we are the cheapest”

Frantz Yvelin, La Compagnie

“Wake up! There is no competition on this route – their margins are incredible. We may not be the most luxurious business class flight on the Atlantic but we are the cheapest.

“My role model is Ryanair for this. Strip out costs, but offer a good business class at realistic prices,” he said.

Adding that you “could buy a car for the cost of a business class fare at the moment,” he highlighted his fares as being around £1,539 return from London to New York compared to £4,695 with British Airways (based on a search on January 27 for travel February 5-9).

Seating on La Compagnie's business-only aircraft

The flights will be on Boeing 757-200s with 74 seats with 180 degree recline and 62” pitch. Passengers have Caudalie amenities, a Samsung Galaxy Pro tablet for IFE and food by chef Christophe Langree.

The company has raised €340 million in funding and has two aircraft. Yvelin said he is looking at getting two more aircraft “very soon” and said they would be looking for other routes in due course.

The company sells its flights via GDS and currently gets 30% of its business via the trade, but Yvelin said this could be higher.

A UK sales manager is due to start “within weeks”.

Sourced by TTG Digital

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