“Charitable” new LCC to launch UK-India flights

TD Guest Writer

Guest Writers are not employed, compensated or governed by TD, opinions and statements are from the specific writer directly

A new low-cost carrier is planning to launch in the UK with a rather unusual business model.

POP, which stands for ‘People over Profit’, calls itself an “airline with a social conscience” and has pledged to donate a minimum of 51% of its profits to social projects in the UK and India.

Operating under a budget model, POP will initially fly direct between London Stansted Airport and two Indian cities, Amritsar and Ahmedabad, and says it plans to cater to the leisure tourism and visiting friends and relatives (VFR) markets.

But it is the airline’s charitable focus that makes it stand out. When booking their POP flights, passengers will be asked which social projects they wish POP to support, and charitable donations will be made through Charities Aid Foundation (CAF).

The airline also said that it plans to neutralise its carbon footprint, “in ways that can be aligned with the enhancement of its community projects”.

“My vision is to create an airline that, unlike any other before it, serves not just the passengers travelling between the UK and the developing world but, just as importantly, delivers tangible benefits to the communities they are visiting. POP will provide… enhanced value in the air and in the community,” said Navdip Singh Judge, chairman & principal of POP.

POP is planning to launch its first flights to Amritsar and Ahmedabad in the fourth quarter of 2016. Both routes will be served three times a week using a 378-seat, all-economy Airbus A330-300 aircraft.

The airline said it could later expand its network to other Indian destinations, as per the Air Service Agreement between the UK and India that permits seven scheduled services per week on any route, other than those to India’s primary cities.

In terms of service, POP said it plans to offer “highly competitive fares, self-selected onboard and ground services, excellent customer service and convenient point-to-point flights”.

The airline is planning to raise GBP5 million (US$7.3m) through a crowd-funding campaign which will start this month.

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