The old adage about the airline business is that the way to make a small fortune in the airline business is to start with a large one.
Espen Hennig-Olsen, an heir to the Norwegian Hennig-Olsen ice cream company invested his money in a full service airline start-up carrier called Fly Nonstop.
The airline started flying on April 25th, 2013. The airline leased a 100-passenger Embraer 190 which was flown by a Dutch charter company. The aircraft had two-class seating.
Fly Nonstop had 17 weekly flights serving eight European destinations: Berlin, Dubrovnik, London City, Manchester, Nice, Parma, Paris and Stockholm served from its hub at Kristiansand’s Kjevik airport. In addition, the airline announced a flight from Bodø to London. Hennig-Olsen thought demand would appear on these new non-stop routes to European destinations from Kristiansand.
Bodø, located just north of the Arctic Circle has a population of less than 49,400. Kristiansand has a population of only 90,476 in the city and 154,346 in the wider urban area. Not a huge population base for an international carrier. Nor are they well known tourist destinations for Europeans.
While Fly Non Stop had a great website, and an attractive looking plane, they had no code share relationships, no alliance links and no market research.
Unsurprisingly, the Embrær 190 was rarely filled and most of the airline’s routes were closed. The airline filed for bankruptcy on October 29th. Its offices were closed to the public and the airline’s lone aircraft returned to the lessor.
“This is a sad day for the region and for Fly Nonstop,” Espen Hennig-Olsen told state broadcaster NRK.
Lesson: before launching a new airline, do your research.
Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) announced special fares to help stranded Fly Nonstop passengers.