Global airlines: what is the new UK airline, planned route, who is founder James Asquith - will A380 planes be used?
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A British-made self entrepreneur has launched a new UK airline that will make passengers “feel like a million dollars”, offering the “best” food and drink services.
Founder and chief executive James Asquith, who created travel company Holiday Swap, said he has received “thousands of emails and messages” from people keen to fly on his airline.
He told PA news agency that people are “sick and tired” of the service they currently get on airlines but “we will be better”.
He said: “People have had enough with how they are treated. Consistently there are devaluations in loyalty platforms. There are people in management and shareholders that will over-reward themselves.
“I want to primarily build a legacy. I’d rather walk away with zero (money) and have something that people genuinely love.”
The airline will be based at Gatwick, and the 34-year-old said the quality of food and drinks on its aircrafts will be “the best” across all transatlantic services with Laurent-Perrier champagne served on its flights. It hopes to even offer passengers in economy cabins a free glass depending on costs.
Asquith said first-class ticket holders will benefit from being chauffeur driven to airports and having a “proper social space” and this “should filter down to economy” to “make people in economy feel like a million dollars.”
He added that Global Airlines will be able to offer fares which are “in line with, if not cheaper” than those set by other carriers because of how it is obtaining its aircraft.
The entrepreneur has agreed to buy four previously-used Airbus A380s at reduced prices which means that the company does not have lease agreements and bonds “hanging over our heads”, he said.
The airline plans to have 15-20 planes over the next two years, aiming to expand its destinations and routes that it serves.
Asquith insisted he is not concerned by having to compete with a number of other airlines operating flights between London and New York, such as British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and several US-based carriers.
He said: “I don’t think more flights and more carriers equals more competition. I actually just see that as more demand and supply on the route, which makes it easier to stand out if you have a better product.”
However, aviation consultant John Strickland, who has worked in the industry for 40 years, has warned that Global Airlines will face significant challenges.
He said the market has “the potential to be a goldmine or a graveyard” and “relying primarily on price sensitive traffic inevitably means high risk” as “winter months” will be “particularly challenging.”
He added that the decision to use A380s also raises “a number of questions” as the planes have “a lot of capacity to fill” and high operating costs.
Who is James Asquith?
Asquith is a prominent social media personality with 1.1 million Instagram followers and in 2013 became the youngest person to travel to every country in the world at age 24.
He was born in Sussex in 1988 with his mum working as a solicitor’s PA and his dad a pilot for British Midland.
He went to university, the London School of Economics, where he studied a BSc in Economics and set up an events business.
In 2017 he told the Independent: "Initially I was living with my parents, so I saved money on rent there. I worked three jobs at one point, and I started up a student events business in my second year which turned out to be lucrative — that’s what made it happen."
After graduation, Asquith acquired a position at HSBC and simultaneously worked on his lifelong dream of visiting every country in the world.
By 24, he had achieved his goal and went to Deutsche Bank as a vice president. During his travels, the idea for Holiday Swap struck him, ending his banking career to focus on travel full-time in 2018.
His first entrepreneurial company, Holiday Swap, allows you to book, host, or swap homes anywhere for $1 a night - where you spend on flights and not accommodation.
He then went on to found Global Airlines in 2021. Asquith said Global Airlines is being funded by a combination of Holiday Swap Group and external investors, who he did not name.
He said launching an airline has been his “ultimate dream” since he was eight years old and “got told by everyone that “it would never happen.”
He added: “I’ve been told that throughout my entire life, for everything I’ve done. There is not a single part of me that thinks Global Airlines won’t get off the ground.
“It would be letting down the tens of thousands of people that have reached out and are desperate to fly with us.”