Q: How many unemployed people does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: We have no idea because we would never make a joke about what can be a very stressful and dehumanizing experience in life.
Nevertheless – if you do happen to find yourself no longer having to purchase a monthly travelcard to get to work every day, it’s important that you look at your options to ascertain what your next career move will be.
On that basis – have you ever considered setting up your own budget airline?
You’ll get to own a huge fleet of Airbus A319-100 aircraft if you do.
If charging customers extra for ‘speedy boarding’ and sitting in an overwing seat that has a bit of extra legroom sounds like it could be a laugh – here’s what you’ll need to do to set up your own budget airline:
1. Study at the London School of Economics
Well – you want to set up a business don’t you? Then business knowledge is what you’ll need! If you manage to attend all your lectures and somehow obtain a BSc despite spending the majority of your first year getting drunk and carting your equally drunk fellow students about in shopping trolleys with a traffic cone on your head, we recommend you add to your knowledge by doing an MSc in Shipping, Trade & Finance from Cass Business School. Don’t worry about the four honorary doctorates from Liverpool John Moores University, Cass Business School, Newcastle Business School and Cranfield University as they will come later on in life!
2. Have wealthy parents
It’s not an absolute, but if your dad is a successful Cypriot shipping magnate who is able to provide you with £30 million to set up your own shipping business, this might go some way to helping you get the idea moving quickly because you’ll be able to establish your own successful shipping firm that provides you with the business know how and resources to get your budget airline off the ground.
3. Create a no-frills brand strategy
Your budget airline’s brand will need to encompass the following values:
- Great value.
- Taking on the big boys.
- For the many and not the few.
- Relentless innovation.
- Keeping things simple.
- Making a difference in people’s lives.
- Honest, open, caring and fun.
Try to think of a word that sums up all of the above and then bolt on another word that refers to air travel at the end of that to come up with your new business’s name. What about Effortless Aviation? No – that doesn’t sound quite right does it? Idiot-proof propeller? Still not there………what about EasyJet? That’s it – you should call your new budget airline EasyJet!
4. Wet lease two Boeing 737-200 aircraft
A wet lease is a leasing arrangement whereby one airline (the lessor) provides an aircraft, complete with crew, maintenance team etc. to another airline who act as a broker of air travel (the lessee) and which pays for the lease by the hours operated. The lessee provides fuel and covers airport fees, and any other duties, taxes, etc. It’s a bit like ordering a really expensive Zipcar with wings!
5. Get your Air Operator’s Certificate
This is the approval granted by a national aviation authority (NAA) to allow an aircraft operator to use aircraft for commercial purposes. When you first start out, you’ll only be able to operate flights between Luton Airport and Glasgow or Edinburgh. Then when you are able to acquire your first fully owned aircraft of your own after receiving an AOC, it will then be possible for you to fly to more exotic destinations like Amsterdam because weed smokers will appreciate not having to do ferry crossings anymore!
6. Develop your no-frills business model
You’re a budget airline goddammit! So start acting like one! You’ll therefore need to focus on cost-cutting measures to be able to charge the market-busting fares that will make everybody want to fly with you. We suggest you abandon all the usual airline bells and whistles like selling connecting flights or providing complimentary snacks on board and instead focus on high aircraft utilisation, quick turnaround times, charging for extras (such as priority boarding, hold baggage, and food) and keeping operating costs low.
7. Engage in unconventional marketing tactics
There are many ways a budget airline can get it’s name out there, but if you’re looking to make savings that you can pass on to your customers, you’ll need to think outside the box a little bit. One of the simplest things you can do in the early days of the business is paint your booking number on the side of every one of your aircraft – on a clear day without cloud it’ll be one of the best ways to market to anyone that happens to be looking upwards through a pair of binoculars!
8. Create your own TV Show
Everybody knows that once you appear on a reality TV show, you instantly become a household name – just ask Amber Dowding from TOWIE (what do you mean who’s Amber Dowding FFS!). The point is, if any of that lot can become household names after being on a reality TV show, there’s no reason why your budget airline can’t either, so maybe consider doing a fly-on-the-wall documentary about your business and give it a simple name like Airline.
9. Expand rapidly
The high demand that your no-frills, budget airline will enjoy will enable you to expand at a rapid rate. The purchase of several rivals will enable you to expand the destinations that you fly to and from, so hopefully within a few years you’ll not just be offering flights from Luton Airport, but also Bristol Airport, East Midlands Airport, London Stansted Airport, London Gatwick Airport, Manchester Airport and Southend Airport – that’s right, Southend actually has an airport and no, the main runway isn’t the pier!
10. Roll out the brand
The success you enjoy as a budget airline will give you the capacity to roll out your no-frills concept into a whole host of other industries. All you’ll need to do is stick the word ‘Easy,’ in front of whatever word it is that describes the industry you’re entering (alongside various other things of course) and it should be doddle. Just think, you could have: EasyCar, EasyBus, EasyPizza, EasyHotel, EasyOffice, EasyProperty, EasyGym, EasyFoodstore, EasyInternetcafé, EasyValue, EasyMoney, EasyCinema, Easy4Men, EasyMusic, EasyCruise, EasyMobile – Easy Peasy!
If Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou can do it – why can’t you?