Former United Airlines executive to launch new budget carrier

The plan is to fly to underserved US markets in late 2019 or early 2020

Andrew Levy, former United’s CFO and president of Allegiant Travel, has announced plans to start a new low-cost airline that would compete with other carriers on the US market.

However, the airline veteran is not starting from scratch. Recently he has purchased XTRA Airways, a Florida-based charter airline nowadays operating a single Boeing 737-400 aircraft. XTRA operated the aircraft Hillary Clinton used during her 2016 campaign.

 

XTRA Airways currently operates only one aircraft — Carlos Yudica / Shutterstock Former United Airlines executive to launch new budget carrier
XTRA Airways currently operates only one aircraft — Carlos Yudica / Shutterstock

Having purchased an established airline will simplify the entire process for Levy. The reason is that the airline has already obtained a Part 121 commercial airline certification, which can generally be a lengthy process.

The name of Levy’s new airline is still unknown. 

The new airline will provide “a better product and experience but still offer really low prices”

Compared to other budget carriers already operating on the local market, the new airline will have to be recognisably different. Levy hopes to innovate parts of the experience and introduce a simplified fee structure to differentiate it from other airlines. Furthermore, it aims to provide a reliable service to secondary markets.

“We think the opportunity exists for a real high-quality, highly reliable, extremely low fare, basic transportation service,” said Levy.

“You have to do something different. The idea that you can come in and just do what others do but just do it better, I don’t buy that,” he added.

Levy hopes to secure a $100 million funding by June or July this year.

The Houston-based airline could start service with five Boeing 737-800 aircraft by late 2019. 

Moxy — yet another new airline on the horizon

The schedule of Levy’s new airline could compete with the planned launch of another US airline known as Moxy. The carrier is expected to start operation in 2021.

Moxy also plans to operate flights to secondary markets, serving such destinations as Providence, Rhode Island, Fort Worth Texas, and Burbank in California. It further plans to add free Wi-Fi and offer spacious seats.

The originator of the new airline is David Neeleman, an entrepreneur who established JetBlue Airways Corp. and Azul SA in Brazil, and also holds a large stake in TAP Air Portugal.