There’s a new airline in the South Pacific that claims to be just months from launching. I’m not sure whether to be suspicious, or just think that the founders are a wee bit optimistic.
What is FLY CORALway?
FLY CORALway hopes to be an airline connecting islands in the South Pacific. On the surface it sure seems like there’s a market for this.
For example, in Tahiti you have Air Tahiti Nui, offering long haul flights to destinations like the US and Japan with Boeing 787s, and you have Air Tahiti, primarily offering inter-island flights in French Polynesia with turboprops.
But there’s not much in between, which is where FLY CORALway comes into play. Let’s talk about what we know about the airline so far.
FLY CORALway’s fleet plans
FLY CORALway hasn’t yet finalized its fleet plans, but the airline intends to fly either Airbus A220-100s or Embraer 190 E-2 jets. While there are tons of planes on the secondhand market right now, that’s not the case with A220s or E190-E2s, both of which are new aircraft.
Rendering of FLY CORALway Airbus A220-100
It’s one thing if the airline were looking for “standard” E190s, in which case there would be lots of options. But how exactly does FLY CORALway plan on sourcing these new aircraft types with just months notice?
FLY CORALway’s cabin configuration plans
FLY CORALway plans to offer two classes of service, and even has renderings of what a FLY CORALway A220-100 cabin would look like.
Rendering of FLY CORALway A220 cabin
The airline notes that planes would feature anywhere from 98 to 130 seats:
- In business class you could expect around 38″ of pitch
- In economy you could expect 31-32″ of pitch
The airline has even published potential seatmaps for the planes:
FLY CORALway’s planned route network
FLY CORALway would initially offer service between five airports, including:
- Faleolo International Airport (APW) in Apia, Samoa
- Nadi Airport (NAN) in Nadi, Fiji
- La Tontouta International Airport (NOU) in Noumea, New Caledonia
- Fa’a’ā International Airport (PPT) in Tahiti, French Polynesia
- Hihifo Airport (WLS) in Wallis and Futuna
FLY CORALway’s potential routemap
If I’m understanding the routemap correctly, the airline would potentially operate the following routes:
- PPT-APW 2x weekly
- PPT-NAN 2x weekly
- WLS-APW 2x weekly
- WLS-NOU 3x weekly
- WLS-NAN 3x weekly
Suspicious: FLY CORALway already selling tickets
FLY CORALway is already selling tickets for its flights as of June 14, 2021. That seems extremely shady, when you consider that the airline hasn’t yet secured a plane, and hasn’t even started hiring employees.
If this is a legitimate operation, it’s incredibly bad form to start selling tickets if an airline is nowhere close to reliably launching operations, and rather it seems rather Global Ghana Airlines-esque. That’s especially true when you consider that vaccines may not be widespread on some of these islands in the coming months.
Now, a few things to note:
- The two guys behind the airline claim to have airline experience, including one guy claiming he was involved in the launch of French Bee, but I’m having a hard time verifying that
- The people behind the airline claim they will start hiring employees in the first quarter of 2021, with the goal of having 95 employees
- The founders have “private financing commitments” and are working on public financing to supplement that, as they are also looking for government support
- The founders claim they need around 12 million EUR to launch operations
FLY CORALway is a startup in the South Pacific that plans to launch flights in June 2021. The airline intends to use A220s or E190s to connect islands in the South Pacific that don’t currently have much service.
Unfortunately I’m rather suspicious of how the founders are going about launching this airline. Tickets are already on sale, despite the fact that there are no planes or employees yet.
That being said, I’d love to see this airline become a reality. This is a market that fills a niche that currently isn’t served. In the past when I’ve tried to plan a South Pacific trip, I’ve been amazed by the lack of connectivity between some islands. This airline would be perfect for something like that.
What do you make of FLY CORALway, both in terms of the concept, and in terms of the viability?
This sounds like a really great airline that serves a good purpose. But as you said it's shady and shouldn't be taken seriously which is a real shame. A concept as good as this should not be wasted by some scammers looking to make a cheap buck out of some gullibal tourists. Still I hope this is a real plan and will eventually yield results as it is an incredible concept.
Take a closer look at the destination map, then count the numerous spelling errors. It's almost as if they're subtly mocking potential customers: if you're so dumb you can't pick up our blatant spelling errors, then you deserve to lose your money.
AirNZ abandoned the Coral route(AKL-NAN-RAR-PPT-LAX) in the late Aughts/early teens for a reason. Not even heavy Raro subsidies could save it and I’m not sure the French government is going to throw money behind this enterprise just because it’s a pseudo French airbus product (CSeries/A220) and New Caledonia and Wallis which are becoming further independent from France in the next few years
Thanks for rekindling an old memory, Ben. A very long time ago, UTA (Union de Transports Aériens) used to fly Fokker Friendships and Boeing 737 out of La Tontouta Airport, New Caledonia . They were used on local Pacific services. UTA's then subsidiary company Air Polynésie,based at Faa'a International Airport, Tahiti, had a fleet of three Fairchild F-27A Friendships, one Britten-Norman Islander, one de Havilland Canada Twin Otter series 200, and one de Havilland Twin...
Thanks for rekindling an old memory, Ben. A very long time ago, UTA (Union de Transports Aériens) used to fly Fokker Friendships and Boeing 737 out of La Tontouta Airport, New Caledonia . They were used on local Pacific services. UTA's then subsidiary company Air Polynésie,based at Faa'a International Airport, Tahiti, had a fleet of three Fairchild F-27A Friendships, one Britten-Norman Islander, one de Havilland Canada Twin Otter series 200, and one de Havilland Twin Otter series 300 for local Pacific services. There used to be a mileage airfare where you could fly up from Australia to Nouméa, then to what used to be the British/French Condominium of New Hebrides, and on to Nadi, then return a different way through Tonga and New Zealand.
I imagine a new airline would depend on fairly hefty subsidies from the French government as a means of support for the DOM/TOMs.
I would LOVE to see this venture become a reality! We are taking a repositioning cruise form the SJO area to PPT in September. We hoped to travel back to the States from NAN to SFO/DFW but I am not finding flights form PPT to NAN which make any sense (like less than 27 hrs and a ton of money).
Best of luck to these guys!!!
My understanding it is a project of the Wallis Goverment.
@Icarus Precisely what I thought! UA154 was one of the most memorable flights I've ever taken. The fact that I sat next to UA legend Sherman Thompson the whole way put it over the top.
I am very intrigued by the possibilities here.
Is the airline complete BS? Probably. Does that render of a CS100 in the Fly Coralway livery excite me? Certainly.
People on Wallis Island would probably welcome some competition for AirCalin which is currently the only airline that serves WLS-NOU and WLS-NAN. It would be great to have flights connecting Fiji and Tahiti as well as Samoa and Tahiti. Currently you have to fly via Auckland.
Strange choice of routes - it's all inter-island flights with no service to larger international hubs in Australia or New Zealand.
Rather like United island hopper from
Honolulu to Guam. It makes sense for connectivity and cargo. However you can’t sell tickets without aircraft , crew , licenses etc but sadly people are gullible enough
Nothing about the validity, but the name sounds like it was formed by committee. Should we call it Coralway, or Fly Coral? Let's just do all of it. LOL