Start-Ups Interview with SundAir’s CEO Marcos Rossello
The German Start-Up airline SundAir has started charter operations from Kassel Airport. AVIPEO had the chance to chat with Sundair’s CEO Marcos Rossello.
SundAir is a start-up airline based in Stralsund. Could you explain our readers the concept of your airline in two or three sentences?
We are a leisure carrier, serving the package holiday market for tour operators, as well as individual seat-only flights on these routes. In addition, we offer specialised air charter for various purposes.
The first flights of SundAir were operated by external aircraft. What was the reason for this and when did your own aircraft start operations?
Setting up a new carrier is a complex project, and we were facing a slight delay in delivery of the leased aircraft. Therefore we had to cover our strong flying programme with other aircraft. We did commence operations with our aircraft two months ago, so, one way or the other, we carried all passengers booked.
What are your further plans for your fleet?
We are aiming at a mid-size fleet of 3-5 aircraft of the A-320 family within four years from now.
What service do you offer your passengers on board your aircraft?
We offer a wide selection of snacks and drinks, as well as cosmetics, toys and other products.
Kassel Airport is highly controversial in public as the expected traffic could so far not be reached. Your competitor Germania stopped operations last year and you will be the only airline operating scheduled flights from Kassel Airport. Why did you decide to offer flights from Kassel?
Kassel and the region of Northern Hessen represent a strong catchment area with a distinct demand, and we are convinced that we can offer the right product to meet the demand. The airport is ideally located, very central, with a huge catchment area, and excellent airport operations. Experience during 2017 so far shows healthy load factors, and we are adamant to further develop the market.
In September 2016 the German tour operator Schauinsland-Reisen acquired a 50% stake in your airline. What are the advantages of this partnership? And will your airline exclusively operate flights for the company?
Schauinsland is one of the leading and fastest growing tour operators. We are a leisure carrier, thus, a link to a tour operator creates obvious synergies. However, we are not operating for Schauinsland exclusively, rather serve the entire leisure market.
The head office of SundAir is in Stralsund and your aircraft will be based in Berlin-Tegel. Why did you decide to open your head office in Stralsund?
Stralsund offers a distinct advantage for setting up the new business, with its unique environment of skilled staff, and a scenic location everyone loves to live and work at. It is our intention to develop Stralsund for the aviation industry in the long run.
The Stralsund based SundAir was founded in Spring 2016. In September 2016 the German tour operator Schauinsland acquired 50% of the start-up carrier. A first planned commence of operations in April 2017 was postponed after a delay of the delivery of the first A320 aircraft. The first aircraft with the German registration D-ASEF is leased from Brazil LATAM Airlines Group. After receiving a German AOC, SundAir commenced operations on September 27, 2017. A second leased aircraft with the registration D-ASEE arrived in November 2017.
Your airline has to compete with other new German airlines like Small Planet Airlines and Azur Air which started operations in 2017. What differentiates your business model from your competitors?
We prefer to co-operate with other existing carriers, including other European carriers and long-haul carriers, existing or new. We believe that the leisure market is diverse and strong enough to support a number of new carriers in this ever changing environment, and we are supporters of the free European aviation market.
In addition to flights from your bases in Kassel and Berlin-Tegel, you offered flights from Leipzig/Halle and Cologne/Bonn to Greek Islands. Will you open further bases at these two airports?
We are considering further bases and are studying the market. However, no decisions have been made yet, beyond Kassel and Tegel.
Where do you see the biggest problems and challenges in the process of launching a new airline?
Setting up an airline is a process with requires regulatory and economic know-how, the right personnel, and available resources. We do not call this a problem, but a constant challenge indeed – and a truly exciting one.
From a long-term perspective: Where do you see SundAir in five years?
We prefer a modest growth in the leisure market, with the A320 family, for the German and European market.
Source © AVIPEO.COM