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Joined: Tue Oct 10, 2000 4:34 am

Freedom Airways

Mon Feb 05, 2001 2:58 am

I only heard about this start-up today, and I think it's really interesting. The following was typed up by Brissie_Lions on a different topic, but I thought it deserved a topic of its own:
London: The world's first "gay-friendly" airline is being launched by a former British Caledonian steward.

Freedom Airways will fly out of Luton and Manchester Airports, offering a service to capitalise on the growing strength of the "pink pound".

The venture is the brainchild of former cabin crewman Martin Langham, who has convinced financial backers to provide tens of millions of pounds.

The 34-year-old founder hit on the idea of a gay-friendly airline only four months ago, but quickly won the support of the authorities.

It was a personal experience of anti-gay policies by a major airline that inspired Mr Langham to launch Freedom, which uses a gay rainbow flag for its insignia.

On a flight out of Bali on holiday, he fell asleep on his partner's shoulder only to be woken by a member of the cabin crew and asked not to be so intimate.

"It is standard policy with same-sex couples on all airlines as far as I'm aware, and I believe there is room for an alternative approach," he told reporters.

His venture follows attempts by the British Tourist Authority and British Airways to cash in on the gay travel market by portraying the UK as a gay-friendly destination.

Freedom Airways will not prevent many of the open displays of affection between gay couples which are frowned upon by other airlines.

Cabin crew will also be encouraged to interact and be friendly to travellers rather than adopting the more formal manner favoured by many airlines.

Mr Langham is hoping to run flights on four leased Boeing 757s and a 767 for long-haul flights, staffed by dozens of experienced crew and backroom staff.

Experienced operators, such as Virgin, were reported to have been generous with advice.

Twenty-three tour operators which sell holidays targeted at gays have already indicated their backing for the venture. Destinations will include North Africa, Thailand, Gran Canaria, Florida and Los Angeles.

Some 220 cabin crew will be based in Luton and another 80 in Manchester. The operation could be expanded if early flights prove to be a success.

The first flight is scheduled to fly from Luton in late March or early April.

I think it's a great idea, and the destinations are interesting concidering some of them are quite unusual because after doing my research i've descovered that Indonesia, Burma, Australia and New Zealand are also being rumored.

However I can never know enough, so If you know anything more, please tell us.

-I'm guessing that this is to be a charter airline, right?

-Considering the help from VS, will they be able to serve all of the planned destinations?

-Website address?

-Will it work?!

Good luck to em, and I hope they'll be making the skies a more colourfull place soon!

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Joined: Tue Oct 10, 2000 4:34 am

RE: Freedom Airways

Mon Feb 05, 2001 3:12 am

Could a B767 easily make it to Oz/New Z, only stopping once?
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RE: Freedom Airways

Mon Feb 05, 2001 3:47 am

The story is over a year old, from January 2000. It never got off the ground, or even close. The airline was never taken seriously by the industry, and the bloke behind the operation was regarded as something of a joke by those who had worked with him.

To my knowledge, no management team was ever assembled, no staff recruited and no operating licence ever applied for.

I have my doubts whether there would have been a large enough market to support the size of the planned operation (5 B757/1 B767) with gay-oriented Tour Operators. And should that have been the case, would the other Tour Operators catering to a family-oriented market have bought capacity on the airline to make it viable.

I could never really see the point of the operation, the only thing they appeared to want to do different was not prevent male passengers falling asleep on each others' shoulders!

I believe that in general airlines would be open-minded, but I'm sure there will be some people who will tell me that's not the case!

X-Wind  Smile

RE: Freedom Airways

Mon Feb 05, 2001 4:24 am

If they did get airborned, they'll fly to Ibiza for sure.
(Ibiza is the most popular destination for gays)