Flypop, a startup low-cost airline looking to operate direct non-stop flights from its base at London Stansted to Tier 2 cities in India and South Asia, has secured “significant investment” from the UK Government’s Future Fund (opened in May 2020 to support innovative and high-growth British businesses impacted by Covid-19) and other private investors.
This funding takes Flypop a step closer to applying to the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for its Air Operator Certificate, and the airline hopes to launch its first scheduled flights in the second half of 2021 using wet-leased A330s.
With the effects of COVID-19 resonating around the globe, the UK economy and aviation industry will benefit greatly from closer travel links with India, the world’s sixth-largest economy.
Flypop was founded in 2014 by Nino Singh Judge, a former aeronautical engineer who went on to work with Tony Fernandes, CEO of Air Asia, on a Lotus Formula 1 project.
Flypop‘s core target markets are the five million-plus members of the numerous diasporas from Commonwealth communities living in the UK. These communities, and their visiting friends and relatives, are substantial in size and Singh Judge believes they are underserved by a global aviation industry primarily focused on the hub & spoke air travel model rather than direct flights. India is the world’s sixth-largest economy.
Flypop also has environmental and social ambitions and has pledged that for every 400 meals it sells on its flights, it will feed 200 poverty-stricken individuals in the UK and 1,000 in India. Moreover, the airline intends to purchase carbon credits without passing the cost on to its passengers, in a quest to offset emissions generated by its flights, becoming a carbon-neutral airline.
The investment was secured with the help of London law firm, McCarthy Denning, who worked over a period of several months to bring the deal to fruition.
Flypop CEO, Nino Singh Judge, commented, “When combined with additional funding raised from private investors, the funding from the UK Government’s Future Fund has played a key role in putting Flypop in a position to start flights, initially between the UK and India, something which will contribute significantly to the economic growth and closer cultural links between these two Commonwealth partners and eventually with all of South Asia.”
The UK Government’s £250 million Future Fund, developed in partnership with the British Business Bank, was launched on 20 May 2020 to support innovative and high-growth British businesses impacted by Covid-19. UK-based companies can apply for a convertible loan of between £125,000 and £5 million, to support continued growth and innovation in sectors as diverse as technology, life sciences and the creative industries. Private investors, which could include venture capital funds, angel investors and those backed by regional funds, are required to at least match the government investment in these companies.