September 12, 2018 / 12:00 PM / 2 months ago

Low-cost Swiss airline launches fund raising to get airborne

ZURICH, Sept 12 (Reuters) - Swiss Skies, a low-cost airline that aims to launch in the second half of 2019, said on Wednesday it was seeking to raise more than $100 million in start-up funding this week.

The company, which will focus on North American destinations from Basel before expanding to other European bases, expects to have $1.5 billion in revenue within five years and to be profitable in its third year.

It said it aimed to have a fleet of 38 aircraft with 1,900 employees serving 45 destinations across five continents eventually, without giving a timeline.

“We aim to be a true disruptor of the airline industry,” said co-founder Alvaro Oliveira, a Swiss pilot and former director of flight operations at Brazil’s Azul Airlines.

The low-fare model has come under pressure, with companies like Air Berlin and Monarch collapsing last year. But Oliveira said there were gaps in the market that Swiss Skies could fill.

“Many transfer passengers are tired of needing to connect via big hubs in Europe or USA. These travelers will be delighted by direct international flights from their nearest uncongested airports, cutting travel time by 30 percent at substantially reduced cost, and with greater comfort,” he said.

Swiss media has said one of carrier’s routes could be between Basel and Cincinnati, linking chemicals and pharmaceuticals companies in both cities.

The airline said it planned to use 190-seat Airbus A321neo long-range aircraft. (Reporting by John Revill Editing by Edmund Blair)

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