Powdair cancels launch but gets new investor on board

Start-up winter sports airline Powdair, which was due to launch this month with services from eight European airports to Sion in Switzerland, has cancelled all planned flights but says it has a new investor on board and expects to relaunch in 2018.

Ski specialist airline Powdair has confirmed that all flights this winter have been cancelled but has vowed to relaunch in 2018, operating its own aircraft. The start-up planned to operate eight routes to Sion in Switzerland between 14 December 2017 and 16 April 2018.

However, in late November it revealed that its main backer had walked away, putting the launch into doubt. The airline then issued a funding plea in an attempt to secure at least £3m this season “in order to operate a reduced but efficient flight schedule”.

A new statement released by Powdair said it has received a “significant investment offer from a professional and experienced aviation industry investor” which will “secure the financial future” of the business.

But it added: “However, the due diligence required to finalise this investment will take at least 30 days and we have therefore made the difficult, but what we feel is correct decision, not to launch Powdair this winter.

“Our new investor wishes to ensure that all necessary steps are taken to launch a strong, well-funded airline focused on long-term success.”

The cancellations affect about 5,000 customers who had booked seats with the airline.

Powdair said its previous main investor withdrew support after witnessing the financial struggles of Monarch and Air Berlin, followed by Darwin Airline, one of its preferred aircraft operators.

“Powdair is not going into administration. The company will continue to exist, albeit with a longer timeline for getting planes in the air,” the start-up said.

“We expect to relaunch during 2018 as an airline, operating our own aircraft, which gives us a much stronger basis on which to plan route schedules.”

Powdair’s planned flight schedule in winter 2017/18 was:

Sion – Antwerp eff 14DEC17 4 weekly (Day x267)
Sion – Bristol eff 14DEC17 3 weekly (Day 467)
Sion – Edinburgh eff 17DEC17 2 weekly (Day 37)
Sion – Hamburg eff 15DEC17 2 weekly (Day 15)
Sion – London Luton eff 15DEC17 5 weekly (Day x24)
Sion – London Southend eff 14DEC17 2 weekly (Day 46)
Sion – Manchester eff 14DEC17 2 weekly (Day 46)
Sion – Southampton eff 15DEC17 4 weekly (Day x246)

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