Social enterprise POP, a new low cost long haul airline, needs £5 million to get first year operations off the ground
A major crowdfunding campaign has been launched today (Thursday, 2 June) to support a new low cost, long haul airline that’s being established as a social enterprise.
At least £5 million is needed to launch the airline, which is named ‘POP’ – an acronym for People Over Profit, and support its first year operation.
The airline, which is the brainchild of (Nino) Navdip Singh Judge, will become the first to operate non-stop flights between the UK and two of India’s key secondary cities – Amritsar (Punjab) and Ahmedabad (Gujarat) – as well as give back a minimum of 51% of its profits to charitable causes in the communities it serves in both countries.
Judge says POP’s vision is to create an ‘Enhanced-Value’ airline, providing non-stop flights between the UK and the second cities in the nations of the developing world. It’s been designed – based on extensive market research – to meet the demand of the growing visiting friends and relatives (VFR) market, as well as the expanding leisure-tourism and business sectors, while improving the lives of the most disadvantaged in the communities that POP will be serving.
He hopes to raise the first £5 million via the 60-day rewards-based crowdfunding campaign launched today by London’s Trillion Fund Ltd.
The campaign involves the pre-sale of POP Gold Passes – each priced at £500 – to supporters who are attracted by a different kind of rewards package.
The first 10,000 Gold Pass holders will win one free off-peak return seat to any POP destination and will, for the following five years when flying with POP, be entitled to eight VIP benefits both on the ground and in the air. These include extra luggage (a third 23kg suitcase), free and unlimited ticket name changes, priority check in/boarding, extra leg room seats (when available), complimentary meals and free Wi-Fi, and the earliest opportunity to purchase the lowest seat fares when released.
As a special ninth Gold Pass VIP benefit, each of the first 7,000 people to buy a Gold Pass will have a name of their choice printed on the underside of the aircraft, which collectively will be in the shape of the ‘POP’ logo.
POP needs to pre-sell that many passes to reach its first crowdfunding milestone of £3.5 million with Trillion, at which point POP will be on its way to becoming a reality.
Judge, who is the chairman and principal of POP and has a background as a senior manager both within the city and the world of Formula 1, said: “This is an opportunity to make an investment in a new airline business with a unique proposition. We will be the first airline to respond to the emerging demand from the expanding Indian middle class for non-stop flights between the UK and India’s key secondary cities. But more than that, supporters will be funding social change through POP’s philanthropic-giving to community causes, breaking new ground in terms of corporate social responsibility.
“We are also giving the first seven thousand supporters the option to have their names on the aircraft belly of POP’s fleet. The POP belly logo will be designed out of supporters’ names. This is another example of how our community will be a part of POP from the very beginning.”
It’s anticipated that the first POP flight will depart from Stansted Airport this year in Q4 (2016) to Amritsar using a 378-seat all-economy Airbus A330-300 aircraft in POP livery. POP initially plans to operate three services weekly to each of Amritsar and Ahmedabad.