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Fly First EIS plans take off

Fly First is an enterprise investment scheme aiming to raise up to 25m to establish a new airline for business travellers flying between Luton airport and New Yorks Newark airport.

The service will target a small number of passengers who are willing to pay a higher price for higher quality of service. Two Boeing 757-200 aircraft will depart at 6.45pm from a private terminal at Luton airport, arriving in New York at 9am local time. Return journeys will depart at 7am local time, arriving at Luton the following morning.

Currently there are no earlier arrivals into New York from the UK or the rest of Europe, which should help speed up check-in procedures at New York. Although larger airlines could introduce earlier flights to compete, this may be unlikely due to limited takeoff and landing slots at the larger airports such as Heathrow and Gatwick. In theory competition could also come from another airline using Luton, but Fly Firsts proposed exclusive contract to use one of the two private terminals at Luton should help protect Fly First from this.

A second service may be introduced in the second year and the management says Fly First should break even once it sells an average of 16 seats per flight, which it expects to do after 10 months of trading.

Although there may be a market for a small airline with private terminal and quick check in procedures, Luton could be a drawback as it is 35 miles from London. However, runway and airspace congestion is less of a problem in Luton compared to the bigger airports.

According to Allenbridges Tax Shelter Report, aside from the obvious risks such as competition and high fuel costs, a concern is that this EIS needs 22m to proceed. While this is a small amount for an airline, is a lot for an EIS, and it is doubtful that this will be raised within target date..


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