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New Startup Targets the Maldives with Ultra-Premium Model
The new airline will connect several regions to the popular tourism destination.
Beond, a new all-premium leisure airline based out of the Maldives, has launched with an Airbus A319, featuring 44 lie-flat seats in a 2×2 configuration. The carrier revealed its brand and livery at a press conference in Dubai on Wednesday.
The airline’s approach to operations focuses on the simplicity of its business model. Beond will focus on one customer segment: the leisure premium traveler, with a single in-flight product across a single aircraft type with the same configuration. Of course, this simplifies operations quite a bit therefore reducing operational costs that often come with running highly complex airline operations.
In a press conference, the company’s CEO Tero Taskila emphasized that Beond is not a so-called ‘all-business’ airline, but instead a premium leisure operator.
Asset-light is the other key part of the startup’s plan. The airline expects to utilize maximum outsourcing for maintenance, catering, staff, etc. This will come alongside leasing aircraft instead of ownership. Beond says it will use a leased fleet of 68-seat A321LR/XLR aircraft to reduce costs. Deliveries of the newer jets are expected in 2024, the airline says.
Additionally, turnaround times are much faster for narrowbody aircraft. Beond expects to have turnaround times be less than an hour to maximize aircraft utilization across the eventual fleet.
Every new airline needs a hub or focus city. For Beond, it is Male Airport in the Maldives. Given the brand’s position as a premium leisure airline, it chose the Maldives, which generally has strong demand for premium leisure travel to the famed vacation destination. It’s also located within range of several key markets that can be readily served by the expected fleet.
The airline also expects that there is significant pent-up demand that will endure. Furthermore, the Maldivian government has expressed significant support for the airline with Beond being able to secure more slots than any other carrier at the Male airport. As part of the airline’s experience offerings, it plans to partner with resorts in the Maldives. “The resorts [in the Maldives] have welcomed us with open arms,” Taskila shared.
In November, Beond will begin service from Munich, Zurich, and Riyadh. Later, in March 2024, Milan and Dubai will begin. The carrier will serve Dubai’s Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC). Flights from Europe will be forced to make a technical stop in Dubai as the airline awaits its longer-range aircraft.
Beond is looking toward massive growth over the next five years out of Male. It expects to acquire 32 aircraft and serve 52 non-stop destinations across four continents and 26 countries. The startup airline is slated to serve many primary markets within Europe, Asia, Oceania, and Africa such as London, Paris, Shanghai, Taipei, Johannesburg, and Sydney. However, given the relatively small aircraft size and lower costs to scale, Beond expects to be able to fly to a large number of secondary markets that may not have enough demand for non-stop widebody service. This will include markets such as Warsaw, Basel, and Almaty.
“We are purely point-to-point,” the airline’s CEO added during a press conference in Dubai.
While the overall idea of a long haul all-premium airline is not unique, none so far have set such ambitious goals as Beond. La Compagnie, another all-premium airline, has been around since 2013, however, it only has a fleet of two aircraft and serves four destinations, Newark, N.J., Milan, Nice, and Paris. It also took the airline nine years to finally make a profit.
Editor’s Note: AirlineGeeks’ Hemal Gosai and Ryan Ewing contributed to this story.
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