Another foreign airline has just requested permission to start flying to the US…
Italy’s Neos intends to fly to the US
Last Friday Neos filed with the US Department of Transportation (DOT) to request permission to start flying to the United States. The airline is seeking permission to operate foreign scheduled air transportation of persons, property, and mail, under the full extent of the US & EU Air Transport Agreement.
The airline is asking for expedited approval, and claims it will start marketing these flights as soon as the DOT approves the application.
The airline hasn’t explicitly stated in which markets it plans to operate, so we’ll have to wait to learn more about Neos’ US flight plans.
Neos Boeing 787-9
What is Neos, anyway?
Neos is an Italian leisure airline that was founded nearly two decades ago, in 2002. The airline operates out of several airports in Italy, with its largest operations out of Milan.
Neos currently has a fleet of 12 aircraft, including six Boeing 737-800s, and six Boeing 787-9s (the airline used to also operate 767s, but these were retired and replaced by 787s). As far as the 787-9s go:
- Four of them were delivered directly to Neos, and are between two and four years old
- Two of them were recently taken over from Norwegian, which has chosen to end all long haul operations
Neos Boeing 787-9 premium economy
Neos Boeing 787-9 economy
Neos has historically operated its 737s primarily within Europe and to Africa, while 787s have been used for flights to Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and Mexico. The airline is extremely leisure oriented, operating to destinations like Freeport, Havana, Male, Montego Bay, Sharm El Sheikh, etc.
With that in mind, I’m curious to see what Neos’ US strategy will be:
- Perhaps there is a gap in the market here in the near future, with Norwegian no longer operating long haul flights, Air Italy having liquidated, and Alitalia being… well, Alitalia
- Will the airline just do the predictable, and operate flights from Milan and/or Rome to places like Los Angeles and/or New York, or is there another strategy here?
Italian low cost carrier Neos intends to start operating transatlantic flights to the United States. A vast majority of the time when airlines intend to start US flights I point out that the flights will almost certainly lose money, though perhaps there is some potential for Neos here?
Neos has fuel efficient 787s, and benefits from Air Italy being out of business, Norwegian having stopped long haul flights, and Alitalia reorganizing. Once borders reopen, I could definitely see there being demand for nonstop, affordable flights between the US and Italy. And arguably this is even a decent time for the airline to be considering the US market, given that it’s expected most Americans will have access to vaccines by May.
What do you make of Neos launching flights to the US? What routes do you think the airline will operate?