AlphaOne Airways, an airline started by eighteen year old Oxfordshire resident Martin Halstead, has delayed all flight activity until further notice, failing to make even its first scheduled flight because of financial difficulties.
The first flight was set for takeoff at 7.30am on Monday, but AlphaOne cancelled that and all subsequent flights. Ticket fees were returned to customers and new sources of funding were announced just days before the charter flight was supposed to take place.
At the time of the cancellation, the company’s website proclaimed that they were “delighted to announce a major injection of funds from a new investor” and would announce a new launch date “in the next few weeks”.
One week before the flight, AlphaOne “appeared to run out of funds” said James Dillon Godfray, head of marketing and development for Oxford City Airport. “[Halstead] is currently taking a break, repackaging the whole operation, making it slightly more cost-effective,” Dillon Godfray said. Halstead was unavailable for comment.
The company now has four available planes, all eight-seat Piper Navajo Chieftains. They will eventually increase the fleet to eight, including a few nineteen-seat turbo props. AlphaOne uses planes with the permission of operator AirMed, who also crew flights.
The flight between Oxford and Cambridge would, if it gets off the ground, take approximately twenty minutes. There would be a check-in time of ten minutes, and the total transportation would take seventy minutes if a passenger used the free shuttle service to and from each city centre.
It currently takes approximately two hours to drive between the cities because of a circuitous road and traffic on the A34, and even longer by train because of its route via London.
The AlphaOne website said the company “look forward to welcoming you onboard in the coming months”. One version of the home page said flights could begin as early as late May, but Dillon Godfray predicted that AlphaOne will not commence flights until “later in the summer”.
If the proposed schedule is kept, there will be two daily flights in each direction. Fares are £49 for a one-way trip, £44 for students.ARCHIVE: 0th week TT 2005