New community airline to connect Birmingham with Amritsar

New community airline to connect Birmingham with Amritsar

Hans Airways, the newest long-haul airline preparing to launch flights connecting Birmingham with Amritsar as a first-of-its-kind “community airline”, has appointed leading British Indian peer Baroness Usha Prashar to its board.

Prashar is Chair of the UK Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and also Chair of Cumberland Lodge, an educational charity initiating fresh debate on the burning questions facing society. She is known for her senior roles with several international organisations in Britain, including the National Literacy Trust, BBC World Service Trust, Royal Commonwealth Society and Deputy Chair of the British Council and has previously also served as Honorary President of the UK Community Foundations (UKCF), an umbrella organisation for all community foundations, providing philanthropic advice to clients and delivering UK-wide grant-making programmes.

Baroness Prashar said: “I am delighted to join Hans Airways’ Board and feel privileged to be part of this community airline at the start of its journey. I am very impressed with its vision and planning to date and hope to make a meaningful contribution to its success.”

Hans Airways’ CEO Satnam Saini said: “She brings considerable experience in the private sector and in public affairs and with her commitment to philanthropy work, and is a revered and vocal advocate on education and societal issues.

“Baroness Prashar shares a keen interest in aviation and connecting people. The business model Hans Airways is following as a true ‘community airline’ was a determining factor in her decision to accept our invitation to join our Board. We are delighted she shares our vision and we are very much looking forward to her valuable contribution.”

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Hans Airways pitches itself as the UK’s newest hybrid, long-haul airline venture, blending value for money fares with a quality inflight service offering. The airline, supported by funds invested by the British Indian community, plans to offer two classes of cabins: Economy class (called "Anand"), with a 31-inch seat pitch and 274 seats, and Premium Economy (called "Anand Plus"), offering a 56" pitch and 24 seats. Besides complementary inflight entertainment and catering, a loyalty programme known as FlyHAPEEI (Hans Airways Passengers Environment Education Initiative) will reward passengers with benefits akin to the frequent flyer programme and with opportunities to donate to children’s educational charities in India or conservation and water preservation projects.

“Hans Airways’ senior management has identified a high demand for regular secondary city air links between the UK and India, drawing on its CEO’s considerable experience instigating a series of charter flights for Monarch Airlines and FlyJet,” said the airline, which applied for its UK Air Operator Certificate (AOC) in March 2020 following discussions with the UK Civil Aviation Authority and Department for Transport.

Earlier this month, it celebrated the arrival of its first Airbus A330-200 in the UK (pictured above). The aircraft touched down from Palma Airport in Mallorca, Spain, at Birmingham International Airport for a formal technical handover and technical acceptance signing with the lessor.

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“Our first widebody Airbus arriving into the UK is a big and significant milestone on Hans Airways’ journey to launch. These past 12 months we are very pleased to have added a wealth of competence and experience to our leadership and management team and recruited and trained up a full complement of exceptional pilots and cabin crew who will be ready to fly as soon as the airline’s AOC is awarded,” added the airline’s CEO.

Following similar accreditation from India’s Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), Hans Airways says it is planning an initial four times weekly service from Birmingham to Amritsar.

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