Blue Fox Close To Raising Start-up Money Of GBP65m

Sun Jun 03, 2001 9:26 am

Extracted from yesterday's Guardian newspaper;

"Blue Fox, the first new transatlantic airline for almost two decades, chaired by former pilot and Tory cabinet minister Lord Tebbit, is close to raising £65m to begin its services next year.
Mike Lord-Castle, the airline's founder, said that he is finalising talks with up to five potential backers, including one important player in the US aviation industry.

He plans to take the North Atlantic business market by storm by flying up to 138 passengers in a luxury service twice daily from a dedicated terminal at Stansted to New York. The return fare will be £1,200, with services planned to begin in March.

Lord Tebbit says he has become chairman because "our selling proposition is designed to deliver what a significant sector of the travel market wants but does not get from other airlines." Mr Lord-Castle plans to lease five wide-bodied Boeing 767s and configure them to carry half the usual number of seats.

The idea may be something of a gamble, but his intention is to break the mould of transatlantic travel dominated by the large carriers.

He said: "I believe there is a strong business market for people wanting to travel between Britain and America at reasonable prices. The fare we will offer is less than half that charged by some carriers."

A self-styled corporate troubleshooter, he has already ploughed £1.5m into Blue Fox. He said that with planes flying with a load factor of 62%, it would start to make profits.

Mr Lord-Castle tried the same idea at Gatwick some years ago but had to abandon the project. But with Stansted closer to the City, he thinks he can save US-based institutions thousands of pounds a year."


Obviously I'll support any British airline wishing to start-up (creation of jobs, contribution to economy etc.), but the fact that the Gatwick ops had to be abandoned, plus the fact that Stansted is not exactly in "London" is a cause for doubt.

If the transport infrastructure between the city & Stansted were upgraded (v.high speed rail links might do the trick) do you think Stansted ops in general might be able to expand?



RE: Blue Fox Close To Raising Start-up Money Of GBP65m

Sun Jun 03, 2001 9:45 am

I think it will be tough, what business travellers really need is reliability will Blue Fox be able to provide that? Business travellers like the service, and the extra room so they can work, but I think getting to the distination in time for meetings is the most important thing. If Bluefox has planes going tech it will be very tough for them to solve this problem.
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RE: Blue Fox Close To Raising Start-up Money Of GBP65m

Sun Jun 03, 2001 9:57 am

It will be very hard to get all of those business men and women to give up their frequent flyer mileage on the major airlines. Also look for BA, UA, AA, etc to introduce more flexible and affordable business class fares to make sure that this experiment does not work.

This experiment reminds of the MGM Grand Air service between JFK and LAX in the late 80s/early 90s. I flew it once, on an offer from Amex, and was most disappointed, but I did enjoy my last ride on a DC8. It was very strange being in "First Class", but at the back of the plane. I did not care for it, and, from chatting with other pax, they did not like it either.

MGM did not make it, and, sorry to say, I do not think that this experiment will be much of a success.

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