Airline Startup of the Week: Italian Celestial Alps
Now ready for launch at the end of 2Q21 after a series of postponements, Italian regional leisure airline Sky Alps will soon take off with its first two DHC-8-Q400s. The airline will offer service from Bolzano (Italy) to destinations in Germany, Spain and other parts of Italy.
The airline is promoting its “small operations” as a benefit for its future passengers, as can be seen in the posts on its website:
“It gives us the greatest joy to see friendships develop after welcoming guests with a genuine smile. We want to be as close as possible to our passengers and our employees. This is why we consider the small operations of our regional airline to be our greatest strength. This allows us to act quickly and pragmatically and to live according to our philosophy.
Based in Bolzano
This small airline of two planes will be based in Bolzano, in the region of Trentino Alto Adige in the north of Italy, in the province of South Tyrol. Bolzano Airport, otherwise marketed as Flughafen Bozen or Aeroporto di Bolzano, is located 5.1 km south of downtown Bolzano, itself located in a valley amidst rolling vineyards.
It is from this picturesque backdrop in the Italian part of the Alps that the aptly named Celestial Alps will soar, in the hope of making the region more accessible to leisure travelers and tourists from neighboring European cities.
The airport is so small that it only has four check-in counters, two doors and a baggage conveyor belt. Considering the small airport and a fleet of two planes, this “smallness” is what Sky Alps markets as a force – which will allow swift and pragmatic operations.
Where will Sky Alps connect to?
From Bolzano, Sky Alps will fly to the following destinations.
For Germans living in Düsseldorf and Berlin, Bolzano is made accessible for a quick getaway. With direct, non-stop service, a flight south will take less than two hours, compared to more than eight or nine hours of driving.
Two rented DHC-8-Q400s
Sky Alps will begin operations with two DHC-8-Q400 aircraft leased from Chorus Aviation Capital. The aircraft rental company reports having 82 of these planes in its portfolio.
Although Sky Alps has yet to disclose the configuration of these planes, it points out on its website that the Q400s can carry until 78 passengers. Other sources note that the maximum capacity is 80 passengers. Of course, this will depend on the comfort of the passengers (or lack of it). For reference, Alaska Airlines configures its Q400s with 76 all-economy seats.
“Sky Alps are very pleased to have chosen Chorus Aviation Capital as their aircraft supplier for the initial launch of services from our South Tyrol base in Bolzano with two Dash 8-Q400s on long-term operating leases”. -Josef Gostner, funder and president of Sky Alps via ch-aviation
The first two aircraft will be those registered G-ECOK (MSN 4230) and G-ECOO (MSN 4237). Their ages are respectively 12.6 and 12.4 years. Both planes were previously operated by UK regional carrier Flybe.
What do you think Sky Alps will do with its leisure-based business model? Let us know in the comments.