US-based Maxjet Airways is to float on London's Alternative Investment Market (AIM) in order to fund new routes from London to destinations including the Middle East.
Maxjet is an all-business class airline that currently operates routes from London Stanstead to New York, Washington and Las Vegas.
The carrier uses a similar business model to no frills carriers such as EasyJet and Air Arabia, but all seats on board its fleet of Boeing 767s are business class.
Much like budget airlines, Maxjet offers heavily discounted tickets on its website, allowing it to charge as little as US$1400 for a business class return trip from London to the US.
Similar pricing on flights from the UK to the Middle East would make it cheaper than economy class tickets on some routes. Maxjet's AIM listing is expected to value the company at around US$200m. It will fund expansion into Asia and Africa, as well as the Middle East.
No specific routes have been announced, but smaller Middle East airports such as Sharjah and Oman are likely to accept Maxjet. Major national airlines in the Middle East, however, could face significant commercial pressure from an all-business class service. Large airlines often lose money on economy passengers but make up profits on business class fares. Emirates Airline typically charges over US$4000 for a business class return from London to Dubai. Maxjet will aim to charge less than half that price.
"We have demonstrated that an all-business class product focused on affordability can increase our presence in both large and small long-haul markets," CEO Bill Stockbridge said.
Originally called Skylink Airways, and founded in 2003, the airline was conceived as a transatlantic low-cost carrier that would code share with domestic low-cost carriers at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. It changed its name to avoid a potential conflict with a similarly-named Canadian travel services company.For all the latest travel news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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