Flycana hopes to get up in the air by end of 2020

Business

Flycana hopes to get up in the air by end of 2020

BY KELLARAY MILES
Business reporter
milesk@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, March 06, 2020

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Dominican Republic based airline, Flycana has expressed its intention to launch operations before the end of this year, and is also aiming to grow its network and encompass numerous destinations in America and the Caribbean.


The start-up venture which is seeking to be established as the first ultra low-cost carrier (LCC) in the country, said that they are working to secure the necessary start-up funding in the coming weeks, in order to accomplish the targeted year-end launch.


“The airline which acquired the operator's certificate of Dominican Wings two years ago after a CEO change early in 2019, has emerged with a network strategy and seems to be close to securing the necessary funding needed to achieve this,” a release informed.


Speaking to attendees at the recent Routes Americas 2020 conference held in Indianapolis, Flycana's Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Fred Jacobsen explained that the company was in the process of securing US$80 million in funding from both local and international investors by April.


“Flycana would aim to launch as a low-cost operator within six to eight months, once its funding is finalised,” he said.


According to details from the Centre for Aviation (CAPA)—Flycana has an initial investment of US $60 million and a fleet of five A320s, formerly operated by Dominican Wings.


“The airline plans to inaugurate operations with seven aircraft, either current Airbus A320 models or Boeing 737 next generation jets, with the fleet growing to up to 32 aircraft by its fifth year of operations,” the CEO also disclosed.


The company which is expected to be based in Santa Domingo has targeted the visiting friends and relatives (VFR) passenger segment as they believe that there is a real opportunity to stimulate business in this segment.


“The airline had calculated that there are 2.5 million Dominicans living in the US, but only 900,000 are travelling by air,” Jacobsen said.


Based on statistics North America is the Dominican Republic's largest international region measured by departing seats, followed by western Europe and upper South America.


Jacobsen also said that the Dominican Republic welcomes approximately eight million visitors per year, and with affordable travel options, these travellers can visit other places in the Caribbean.


“There is increasing service between upper South America and the Dominican Republic,” he stated.


Jacobsen who has some experience working with the establishment of low-cost airlines [serving as CEO with Viva Air Columbia in 2012, which was the first LLC for that country at the time] believes that there is an opportunity for passenger stimulation in the Caribbean and that the country can benefit from an expansion of air travel in the region. Understanding the challenges of start-up airlines in the Caribbean, he is however cognisant of the fact that it could take some time and patience for long-needed reforms in the region to materialise.


Just recently, a Jamaican airline — Oriole Limited, launched a similar venture through which the operators are aiming to provide domestic low-cost carriers to transform and revive the domestic and Caribbean airspace.


Aloun Ndombet-Assamba, chairman of the company, while speaking at the time said that “the set up will be an integrated aviation business based on a bold strategic vision”.


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