Fly BeOnd: New Maldives Luxury Airline Startup

Fly BeOnd: New Maldives Luxury Airline Startup

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“I want to make a lot of money, I should probably start an airline”… said no one ever. Nonetheless, that doesn’t stop people from trying to launch new airline concepts — after all, this is an industry of passion. So here’s the latest (questionable?) airline startup idea.

New Maldives premium leisure airline concept

BeOnd is an airline startup that claims to be launching in early 2023. The airline has a pretty website, so here’s what the company is promoting as of now:

  • The airline will fly nonstop from the Maldives to up to 60 destinations around the globe, including in Europe, Asia, Africa, and even Australia; initial destinations will include Dubai, Hong Kong, Milan, Munich, Paris, Riyadh, Singapore, Taipei, Vienna, and Zurich
  • The airline will fly Airbus A321neos with just 68 fully flat business class seats, in a 2-2 configuration; this sounds similar to La Compagnie’s A321neos
  • The airline will offer baggage check-in at home, premium transfers to the airport, a special lounge, and great inflight cuisine
  • The parties behind the airline are SIMDI Group (a Maldivian company that provides products to the hospitality industry) and ARABESQUE (a UAE-based investment firm)

Here’s what Tero Taskila, the company’s CEO, had to say about the concept:

“We are proud to launch the world’s first luxury leisure airline here in the Maldives. We are working closely with the authorities to launch the airline the soonest and to many new destinations. The management of the airlines would like to convey the deepest gratitude and thanks to the government of Maldives and the relevant authorities for the support we have received so far.”

Here’s what Fayyaz Ismail, the Maldives’ Minister of Economic Development, had to say about the concept:

“We are very excited that BEOND, as a new airline, chose to be based in the Maldives. As a Maldives based carrier, the airline will provide more direct flights to and from Maldives, making travel to the Maldives even easier and more accessible.”

Below are some images from BeOnd’s website.

BeOnd Maldives website
BeOnd A321neo livery
BeOnd A321neo potential seats
BeOnd A321neo potential layout
BeOnd potential routemap
BeOnd potential airport transfers
BeOnd potential airport lounge
BeOnd potential dining

What a cool concept, but…

We see a lot of airline “startups,” though they’re not all created equal. I’m going to assume that the people behind this airline are serious. That’s to say that I don’t think this is a scam, or that it’s just a middle schooler who is good with web design. The government of the Maldives seems onboard with the concept, and there are some reputable firms that seem willing to invest.

That being said, as sexy as this concept is, sadly I just don’t see how this is a sustainable business model:

  • There’s only so much that airlines can grow in the Maldives, since ultimately the destination is constrained by how many hotel rooms there are, and how much inter-island capacity there is
  • There are some details here that make me question how serious this concept is, like the claim that service will launch in early 2023 (really, even without an aircraft order?), and it’s also hard to think the company is serious about making money if so much of the focus is on expensive and unnecessary perks, like at home check-in, airport transfers, etc.
  • The Maldives is a seasonal market, and is generally quiet over the summer months; when you have assets as expensive as aircraft, it’s really hard to make service work if the demand isn’t there year-round
  • This airline would face a lot of competition, given how much air service the Maldives sees, and the fact that BeOnd likely wouldn’t have connecting traffic

Historically the concept of all-business class airlines hasn’t worked. We’ve seen failure after failure. I will say that broadly speaking, I think the all-business class airline concept now has the potential to be more successful than in the past, given how aircraft technology has improved. With planes like the Airbus A220 and Airbus A321LR, you have fairly low capacity jets with incredible range and economics, and that’s what’s needed for something like this to work.

Heck, I’m absolutely not qualified and have no interest in starting an airline, but I have a premium airline concept that I think would actually work, unlike anything we’ve seen before. But that’s for another post…

Bottom line

There’s a new premium airline startup in the Maldives that plans to fly all-business class jets to dozens of destinations around the world. While this concept sounds glamorous, I just don’t see how the economics of this are supposed to work.

Personally I think it’s unlikely that this actually launches, but who knows, I could be wrong. It’s at least more serious than some of the other concepts we’ve seen lately.

What do you make of BeOnd?

(Tip of the hat to Klaus)

Conversations (24)
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  1. Abdul Guest

    Sounds fancy & the artworks are fancy too! SIMDI (Maldivian company) has had questionable business relations & far fetched “business ventures” lately! Olialia Maldives says it all. Digg & find, you’ll get an idea what I mean here.

  2. Aggie Guest

    Trying to cash in on a market that is only popular from October to March. The rich will still charter their own plane.

  3. Azamaraal Diamond

    MLE airport is a disaster. Stranded there in April because Qatar changed my ticket number when they changed aircraft but did not update my PNR (wife on same PNR was ok). Qatar checkin is an "outpost" and could/would NOT DO ANYTHING to fix the problem so I eventually had to purchase another last minute fare to get back to SEA. Swore never to return to Maldives as nothing has been done to correct the problem.

    ...

    MLE airport is a disaster. Stranded there in April because Qatar changed my ticket number when they changed aircraft but did not update my PNR (wife on same PNR was ok). Qatar checkin is an "outpost" and could/would NOT DO ANYTHING to fix the problem so I eventually had to purchase another last minute fare to get back to SEA. Swore never to return to Maldives as nothing has been done to correct the problem.

    This airline concept would work for me as there would be someone to talk to if the flight was screwed up at their end. Hopefully it becomes a reality as I will not ever expose myself to the MLE Airport without a backup plan. BOO BOO to QATAR.

  4. Dn10 Guest

    Wouldn’t be these planes or this airline, but would love to see a US to MLE flight. As much as I love connecting with Qatar or Emirates the optionality for a direct flight would be nice.

    1. JWags Guest

      No chance. Its too far. EWR to BOM is stretching the limits. Its another 2.5 hours south to MLE.

  5. Flyer Guest

    During winter the A321 will not make it to Europe because of tank capacity limit.

    1. Aggie Guest

      Actually it does ... but not as a full commercial flight. BBJ does it with fuel to spare
      .

  6. KB Guest

    Anyone notice how Munich is somewhere near Cologne in their map?

  7. Sel, D. Guest

    Ben’s concept: same but with barista made coffees.

    1. red_robbo Guest

      ....and individual air nozzles above every seat.

    2. AM Guest

      And not forgetting ‘kind’ staff.

  8. JB Guest

    For a premium airline concept, I think an airline based in Europe would be very successful. Perhaps in London. That way the airline can get local and destination traffic as well as offer connections to other points in Europe, Asia, and Africa from North and South America. Frankly I'm surprised we haven't seen such a concept.

    If I would start this concept, I would start service from JFK, LAX, BOS, ORD, JNB, DXB, DEL,...

    For a premium airline concept, I think an airline based in Europe would be very successful. Perhaps in London. That way the airline can get local and destination traffic as well as offer connections to other points in Europe, Asia, and Africa from North and South America. Frankly I'm surprised we haven't seen such a concept.

    If I would start this concept, I would start service from JFK, LAX, BOS, ORD, JNB, DXB, DEL, SIN, HKG, in addition to many destinations in Europe (starting with CDG, MAD, AMS, MXP, FUC, FRA, MUC, and ATH as starting destinations) from a hub at LHR or maybe another London area airport.

    A premium airline flying A220s from London City would also be a really great idea and likely profitable.

  9. 305 Guest

    Add another to the list of folks dying to hear about your airline concept! I’ll have my capital standing by

  10. mjonis Guest

    Doesn't look like the seats are direct-aisle access, so you have to step over someone if they're in lie-flat config?

    1. Ryan Member

      I imagine most people going to Maldives are not traveling solo so probably not an issue for most.

  11. John Guest

    Very curious, please don't wait long on this: "Heck, I’m absolutely not qualified and have no interest in starting an airline, but I have a premium airline concept that I think would actually work, unlike anything we’ve seen before. But that’s for another post…"j

  12. Will Guest

    Can we talk about the location of Munich on the map above? Not sure the dot even still is in Germany….not sure I would trust them to operate aircraft…

  13. Charles Guest

    They will NEVER get A320neo's in time with the current backlog. They should rather try Ilyushin.

  14. John Guest

    Wild guess: airline will never take off or will cease operations after a few flights, stranding a few dozen jetsetters in the over the water bungalows.

    It might work as a charter operation to/from the Gulf (and assuming they are taking over a plane with that existing configuration and seating), but there is no way they can fill those planes from East Asia unless frequency is greater than the likely 1x per 6-10 days.

  15. dundj Guest

    Very possible for this to work dependent on the number of frequencies per airport, can also be used for some cargo which will be beneficial for the hotels. I would expect that the additional premium elements will add to the cost of the flights so make it on a par with Emirates, compared to say Lufthansa/Swiss.

    Seasonality can be overcome by using spare aircraft for sporting charters in Europe and the Middle East/Asia for the...

    Very possible for this to work dependent on the number of frequencies per airport, can also be used for some cargo which will be beneficial for the hotels. I would expect that the additional premium elements will add to the cost of the flights so make it on a par with Emirates, compared to say Lufthansa/Swiss.

    Seasonality can be overcome by using spare aircraft for sporting charters in Europe and the Middle East/Asia for the like of football (soccer), cricket and even F1 teams going to Intercontinental tournament or International/Pre-Season matches and races in additional comfort for the teams involved which is more often than you would expect in the summer months. These would be minus the at home check-in and airport transfers of course.

    Overall, the concept to me makes sense even for the Maldives, and is a more upmarket La Compagnie which has potential as most people travelling to the Maldives are looking for that luxury element all the way through from start to finish of the holiday. Whether costs can be managed, and overall seat occupancy is at a level that will make it a success financially is something to be seen going forwards. Launching in what I would expect to be a time of financial difficulty and a reduction in luxury spending over the next 24-36 months will mean they would require high cash reserves to survive in the short to medium term.

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      Looks like you spent a lot of time writing that nonsense.

  16. LP Guest

    I'm more interested in hearing Ben's premium airline concept...

  17. tuotuo Member

    Can't wait to hear your concept.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Ryan Member

I imagine most people going to Maldives are not traveling solo so probably not an issue for most.

2
red_robbo Guest

....and individual air nozzles above every seat.

1
Edward Jules Guest

Fabulous indeed

1
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