A380 Startup Global Airlines Appoints Chief Commercial Officer

A380 Startup Global Airlines Appoints Chief Commercial Officer

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Global Airlines is a new UK-based airline startup that intends to fly Airbus A380s on transatlantic routes. The whole concept seemed kind of fake, except for the fact that the airline has now purchased an A380. Well, there’s now a noteworthy development for the airline…

Richard Stephenson appointed as Global Airlines executive

Richard Stephenson has been appointed as Global Airlines’ Board Director and Chief Commercial Officer. Stephenson has reportedly been advising Global Airlines Founder and CEO James Asquith since last summer. Stephenson has now taken on a full-time role with the airline, with more senior appointments expected in the near future.

In the press release, Global Airlines states that Stephenson is the “Former UK CAA Director.” For context, the CAA is the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority, so it’s the UK’s version of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States.

Maybe I’m just clueless, but when I saw he was the “Former UK CAA Director,” I assumed that meant he was the head of the CAA for that period. As it turns out, he actually spent six years as “a” director at the CAA, in charge of strategic communications functions.

So I can appreciate how Global Airlines probably feels it gives the company some legitimacy to have a former CAA employee working at the airline. However, if you ask me, it seems a bit odd to appoint a communications professional as the Chief Commercial Officer of an airline.

Here’s how Global Airlines CEO and Founder James Asquith describes this appointment:

“I could not be more delighted to welcome Richard to our team. His leadership and vast aviation experience, not to mention his communications, political and consumer background, makes him an invaluable addition to the Global team as we prepare to launch our transatlantic services next spring. We’ve now acquired our first aircraft, with more to follow soon, and Richard will be instrumental in leading the team responsible for getting us ready to take to the skies.”

Meanwhile here’s what Richard Stephenson has to say about his new role:

“James’ vision for Global Airlines is compelling and this is the most exciting role; indeed a dream come true. As the aviation industry continues to thrive, our ambition is to offer passengers the very best service and experience. As aviation lovers, we are committed to bringing the very best to the sky and working with our amazing partners, we will do just that. We have built an excellent team and we are on the cusp of making a number of exciting appointments and announcing some game changing partnerships that will really demonstrate our ambition and determination.”

Richard Stephenson has joined the Global Airlines team

My take on Global Airlines’ executive appointment

I mean, I don’t even know what to say about this whole operation. I can appreciate why Global Airlines would want to promote how it hired the “Former UK CAA Director,” since it lends some legitimacy to the airline. But it also seems odd to appoint a communications professional as Chief Commercial Officer. Perhaps that’s actually not a bad idea, since I think this airline will be doing a lot more communicating than flying.

To be clear, I don’t think Global Airlines is a scam looking to defraud investors, though I do think it’s highly unlikely to actually get off the ground. Yes, the company successfully managed to get investors to pitch in to buy an Airbus A380 that would have otherwise been scrapped (and that’s a skill, because I’d sure love to know who these investors are).

It will likely cost more than the plane’s purchase price to configure the jet the way Global Airlines wants. Never mind that the spring 2024 launch date for the airline seems highly unrealistic, to put it mildly.

Speaking of scam airlines, in the US we used to have Baltia Airlines, which owned a Boeing 747 for over 20 years, but never operated a flight. That was in fact a scam to defraud investors, and the SEC eventually shut down the airline.

I won’t name any names, but shortly before being shut down, Baltia Airlines had hired an experienced airline industry communications executive to handle PR for the airline. He once called me up based on the things I had written about the airline, and I felt like I was in the twilight zone. The guy really didn’t seem to get that he was involved in a scam. Of course it’s possible he was just bluffing, but he really seemed to buy into the concept, and seemed genuine…

Anyway, I’m not suggesting Baltia Airlines and Global Airlines are the same thing. Baltia was a legitimate scam, while Global Airlines is just an overly optimistic startup, in my opinion.

Global Airlines plans to fly A380s on transatlantic routes

Bottom line

Global Airlines has appointed Richard Stephenson as Board Director and Chief Commercial Officer. Stephenson has been in the airline industry for around 25 years, working mostly in communications roles. He was also head of strategic communications at the UK CAA for six years. It seems weird to appoint a communications executive as Chief Financial Officer of an airline, but, well, what do I know…

This is all just very strange, and I am excited to keep watching this unfold.

What do you make of this Global Airlines executive appointment?

Conversations (22)
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  1. Knight Fund Guest

    Well, apparently, according to company records, Global Airlines was already established in 2021, with 1 employee, resumed to be James Asquith.
    The company held assets worth £100 ($123.47) at that time. Apparently, the majority of shares were transferred/allocated to holiday swap, which now, it appears, is the holding company with James Asquith holding only a few percent of the stock. One would suppose that move to help purchase the aircrafts by leveraging the apparent...

    Well, apparently, according to company records, Global Airlines was already established in 2021, with 1 employee, resumed to be James Asquith.
    The company held assets worth £100 ($123.47) at that time. Apparently, the majority of shares were transferred/allocated to holiday swap, which now, it appears, is the holding company with James Asquith holding only a few percent of the stock. One would suppose that move to help purchase the aircrafts by leveraging the apparent holiday swap evaluation at 400m USD.

    A380s Global Airlines seems to go for are 15 years old and older and could possibly be picked up for 30-40m USD a pop, such as their current, 2008 delivered former Singapore Airlines, then Hi Fly Malta leased, A380-800. At that price tag it seems to be great value, but be assured, with most of them out of Annual (Global Airlines first hd been retired in 2020 and parked since) and probably loads of ADs on backlog, add the costs for modifications, upgrades to Global Airline specifications etc. The add on post purchase costs will be way higher that the original purchase prices. I'd estimate the costs to get those 4 aircraft to lunch next spring and be operational at about 750m USD minimum.

    On my personal and humble opinion, unless James Asquith has a massive joker up his sleeve, there is no business case here, but a lot of publicity to be gained at the cost of the A380 purchase and it Global paint job. The aircraft is still parked at it's last base in Malta. As of 5th July 2023, Global airlines apparently bought another 3 A380-800.
    I'd skip the possible early bird risk bonus on this one and may be would join at the C-Round, if there ever is any coming the public way.
    (Information given here is all available PD if one looks a little closer)

  2. John Githinji Guest

    The passenger aviation marvel that is A380 is already being retired by Airlines before life expectancy for the simple reason of high operating cost whose biggest component is fuel consumption. But i see a salvation in an undiscovered game changer in possession of RollsRoyce who ironically could have manufactured some of A380's jet engines. It is a 2.5 M.W. rated generator for future hybrid aircrafts designed to be coupled to AE2100 turbo shaft engine. Since...

    The passenger aviation marvel that is A380 is already being retired by Airlines before life expectancy for the simple reason of high operating cost whose biggest component is fuel consumption. But i see a salvation in an undiscovered game changer in possession of RollsRoyce who ironically could have manufactured some of A380's jet engines. It is a 2.5 M.W. rated generator for future hybrid aircrafts designed to be coupled to AE2100 turbo shaft engine. Since it's debuted in July 2021 to the best of my knowledge no one has tried to figure out if it can power A380 jet engine by retrofit since the latter's 70k pound thrust rating/for each of the 4 engines, after my rudimentary calculations is only 1/25 that of PGS1 power rating. Challenge is how to renewably power PGS1. The answer is for another correspondence due space constraints here.

  3. Dave J Guest

    Communications needed to keep the scam going, when's the netflix out?

    What qualifications does James Asquith have to run and airline? He is always "slamming" champagne so I doubt he knows what his name is most of the time.

    Fair play on the scam.

  4. Anthony Guest

    The idea is obvious.
    It was promoted for long time on Linkedin by well known top Russian aviation expert Oleg E.
    The only challenge is investors.
    Most of them are dumb and not able to understand even simple math.
    With the price less than M70$ economy of A380 is perfect.
    And 2nd hand A380's are much cheaper now..

  5. Chris Guest

    Reads like a lot of opinion based on a small bit of fact. Still early days, to be continued...

  6. Frankfurt Cowboy Guest

    I'm amazed that a Paul Stoddart or Tony Fernandes type hasn't taken a chance on a few A380's to run from the UK to MCO in the summer, Hajj charters in the autumn and maintenance over the winter. With the current US push to relaunch foreign tourism I'm sure there would be deals to be done.

  7. Bagoly Guest

    Well, all these A380s that nobody wants are apparently currently going cheap.
    At some stage (E.g. major drop in oil prices after Ukraine war ends) it is conceivable that an existing airline will work out that it makes sense to use them, or an experienced CEO to set up a new airline doing so.
    I am somewhat surprised that BA has not bought more to relieve capacity constraints (especially if the third runway...

    Well, all these A380s that nobody wants are apparently currently going cheap.
    At some stage (E.g. major drop in oil prices after Ukraine war ends) it is conceivable that an existing airline will work out that it makes sense to use them, or an experienced CEO to set up a new airline doing so.
    I am somewhat surprised that BA has not bought more to relieve capacity constraints (especially if the third runway at Heathrow is cancelled)
    Then owning an A380 or a few might offer an opportunity to sell them to the operator who decides to beef up their fleet?

    1. XPL Diamond

      I too would have expected A380s to be the ideal solution to the slot restrictions, ATC shortages, and politicians putting flight caps on airports. After all, this is the very use case that Airbus foresaw when they designed the A380. Granted, the A380 isn't the most efficient bird in the sky so this wouldn't be a long term solution, but it would be a quick way to overcome today's challenges at LHR, JFK, AMS, etc....

      I too would have expected A380s to be the ideal solution to the slot restrictions, ATC shortages, and politicians putting flight caps on airports. After all, this is the very use case that Airbus foresaw when they designed the A380. Granted, the A380 isn't the most efficient bird in the sky so this wouldn't be a long term solution, but it would be a quick way to overcome today's challenges at LHR, JFK, AMS, etc.

      That said, airlines know what they're doing. If my idea were valid they would already be doing it. What am I missing?

  8. XPL Diamond

    Instagram bro hires an Instagram bro. Which is what "in charge of strategic communications" translates to. Should be interesting; I'll make popcorn.

    1. Max Guest

      the airline already got 447k followers on IG. So at least that job is well done so far.

  9. Steve Diamond

    If people are dumb enough to "invest" in jpegs and lines of code they dont actually own or control (cryptos lol) then they are dumb enough to invest in this.

    1. Chris W Guest

      I didn't realise it was James Asquith behind all of this. That gives it even less legitimacy. If you've ever followed along with his Instagram, you wouldn't want to get on one of his planes. His daily reliance on alcohol is frightening.

      Brian Kelly would make a better airline CEO.

    2. Jon Guest

      The Global Airlines Instagram account already has 447k followers. That's enough to convince me to invest all my savings.

    3. Joe Guest

      It used to be the account oof a Turkish plane spotter they seems to have bought his account for the follower counter and aviation theme and changed the name

  10. George Romey Guest

    Starting an airline with an a/c very few airlines have found profitable to fly sounds like a scam to me in the fact it's an almost 100% failure. There's a reason why ULLCs don't buy huge jumbo jets and jam them with 800 seats and $59 fares.

  11. Jack Guest

    Appointing a communications person makes perfect sense when you consider they're a marketing company (marketing themselves to investors) not yet (or ever) an airline.

  12. Jon Guest

    This is clearly a complete nonsense. Somebody needs to ask James Asquith how much capital he is committing to this, um, airline.

    1. Max Guest

      Apparently fly he has recently managed to raise 60 million $ from investors for this airline. And before the at many more millions for his other venture, HolidaySwap.

    2. Jon Guest

      Sure, but the question remains, how much of his own money is he putting into this (share capital, not loans). Skin-in-the-game and all that.

  13. Julia Guest

    "in the US we used to have Baltia Airlines"

    And you're quoted on their wiki page lol

    Well, the wiki page with the new name USGlobal Airways...

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USGlobal_Airways

  14. John G Guest

    Can't wait for the Netflix special on this...

    1. XPL Diamond

      Netflix fauxumentaries have been taking the grifters' side lately. So I would expect it to present James Asquith as a gentle visionary whose dream of a more equitable, inclusive, and [other buzzwords] air industry was cravenly thwarted by shadowy institutional [buzzwords]. Or something.

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Chris W Guest

I didn't realise it was James Asquith behind all of this. That gives it even less legitimacy. If you've ever followed along with his Instagram, you wouldn't want to get on one of his planes. His daily reliance on alcohol is frightening. Brian Kelly would make a better airline CEO.

2
Steve Diamond

If people are dumb enough to "invest" in jpegs and lines of code they dont actually own or control (cryptos lol) then they are dumb enough to invest in this.

2
Jack Guest

Appointing a communications person makes perfect sense when you consider they're a marketing company (marketing themselves to investors) not yet (or ever) an airline.

2
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