Start-up airline bids to raise up to US$1.29 million in capital via Dubai-based Eureeca.com as it eyes 2018 launch
Â Fledgling UK-based airlineÂ Firnas AirwaysÂ has launched anÂ equity crowd-funding campaignÂ targeting Gulf-based investors.
The airline, which plans to introduce short-haul services between the UK and select European destinations in 2018, is seeking up to $1.29 million in capital raised via Eureeca.com, the global equity crowd-funding platform headquartered in Dubai.
The investment target represents the largest capital round raised to date on the platform.
The airlineâ€™s founder and CEO, British entrepreneur Kazi Shafiqur Rahman, is confident GCC investors will recognise the potential of the airlineâ€™s unique growth strategy, which aims to tap currently unserved and underserved routes that present strong commercial opportunities.
â€śWe have identified several short-haul routes with strong, currently unmet demand that we feel offer huge potential for growth,â€ť he said.
â€śWe will offer passengers unique services on the ground and in the air, which will position our offering between the austere budget operators and the expensive full-service carriers that charge for extras many passengers don’t require.
â€śOur vision is to offer an alternative that is affordable, flexible, comfortable and innovative.”
Rahman said Firnas Airways will launch with a fleet of 19-seater aircraft, which will enable the airline to â€śbuild the required infrastructure to successfully operate with minimal capital outlayâ€ť.
The airline is currently assessing a number of routes in Northern Europe that promise high load factors and strong returns.
The launch fleet will be replaced by larger aircraft as demand increases. High-volume routes up to six hoursâ€™ flying time from the UK will spearhead the airlineâ€™s second phase international expansion strategy.
â€śWe are confident these routes will provide a strong platform for long-term growth,â€ť said Rahman. â€śWe have a credible business plan focusing on unmet demand with a target of 300-500 percent ROIÂ within five years.â€ť
Long term, Firnas Airways intends to launch long-haul operations to key destinations in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, with a view to competing with the UKâ€™s established long-haul, full-service carriers, Virgin Atlantic and British Airways.
Rahman said the Eureeca.com equity crowd-funding initiative provided savvy Gulf investors with the rare opportunity to gain a lucrative foothold in the UKâ€™s booming commercial aviation sector on the eve of the countryâ€™s withdrawal from the European Union.
â€śWe, like many within the UK business community, view Brexit as a chance to rethink our approach to international trade and investment, and to pursue new business opportunities unshackled by the restrictions imposed by the EU,â€ť he said.
â€śWith sterling trading at historic lows, the equity funding scheme offers GCC investors a unique opportunity to claim a stake in the UKâ€™s newest airline while gaining unprecedented value on their investment.â€ť