December 8, 2023  ·  Richard Libby

Start-up and stay flying: Insight from three decades supporting airlines taking off

At Jetcraft Commercial, we have decades of experience in commercial aircraft transactions. Over the years, we’ve worked with every type of customer across the globe and have seen airlines succeed and fail.

The current landscape provides ample opportunity for this combination of success and failure. On the one hand, commercial aviation has been forced to contend with significant headwinds over the last few years and the post-Covid recovery remains underway. On the other, in adversity there is opportunity, which is why we’ve seen many new carriers enter the market, including Norse Atlantic Airlines, Canada Jetlines, and Bonza in the past year alone, as well as existing smaller operators such as Provincial Airlines in Canada rapidly expanding to replace legacy carriers who have exited markets.

While the prospects for start-up airlines can be exciting, our experience indicates there are several key considerations that will prove key to success.

Consider the mission

Deciding whether you have the right aircraft for your mission is fundamental to succeeding. An airline’s key routes will determine the aircraft type you should invest in. While regional jet flights saw a big decline during 2022, at Jetcraft Commercial, we were able to support airlines that had identified opportunities and were looking for available aircraft to launch their services.

For example, we worked closely with start-up airline SilkAvia – which was recently launched by Uzbekistan Airports in response to growing demand for domestic travel and to enhance Uzbekistan’s booming tourism sector – to source and place three ATR72-600 turboprops to meet their needs. By acquiring these aircraft from Bangkok Airways, we supported one airline in renewing its fleet and another with its launch.

The power of expertise

While aiding clients through turbulent times is one strength of Jetcraft Commercial’s, another is finding aircraft when demand for particular types is high. Start-up airlines can boost their chances of success by partnering with companies that have insight into the entire market globally, and can identify the aircraft most suitable for their mission.

With the market picking up, now is the perfect time to benefit from this expert advice. The 2023 Dubai Airshow has demonstrated a resurgence, with the Middle East and Southeast Asia showing the highest growth, according to a Boeing forecast. This was underlined by Irish lessor Abelo increasing its ATR order to support demand from Southeast Asia, while airlines are also driving activity in the narrowbody market, with a significant investment by AirBaltic in the A220 regional jet.

As requirements for new aircraft increase, opportunities in the pre-owned market abound. This is where working with a specialist company to source your next turboprop, regional or narrowbody jet is key. Our team can often find aircraft others can’t, drawing on expertise that ensures customers develop a fleet that meets their current and future requirements.

No deal is impossible

Some transactions might appear too difficult for a start-up airline to navigate. At Jetcraft Commercial, we’re uniquely qualified to close even the most complex transactions to support fleet planning – including buying multiple aircraft ahead of selling these to other parties – ensuring buyers gain access to the broadest range of makes and models to best meet their needs.

Our credit lines and financial strength mean we can also support our customers in their aircraft purchases, ensuring cash flow challenges don’t stifle their ambitions.

Ultimately, while launching a successful start-up airline is certainly challenging, it’s possible to soar to new heights with the right expertise and support.

Toronto, CA


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