Tuesday, April 16, 2024

New ‘premium’ airline promises flights with all lie-flat seats to the Maldives

Beond – pronounced “beyond”, the newly launched airline that offers every passenger a lie-flat seat, will launch scheduled flights from November 2023.

The operator has labeled itself “the world’s first premium leisure airline” and doesn’t use the term business class, stating its service is aimed at holidaying travelers – it’s based in the Maldives, which saw 1.6 million visitors in 2022, and where tourism is the single largest industry.

Tero Taskila, founder and chief executive of Beond, was previously boss of Estonian Air, and said while the airline is offering a “niche product” it is “targeting people who are seeking luxury experiences in travel.”

The plane, an Airbus A319, has been configured to fit just 44 passengers – far fewer than the maximum capacity of 156. Additional planes, with the lie-flat seating and capacity under the usual level, are expected to join the fleet in late 2023 and early 2024.

“Our aim is simple: to fly our customers to the most unique and unspoiled destinations where they can release their inner explorer on the most memorable vacation of their lives,” added Taskila.

There will initially be three routes connecting with Male, the Maldives’ capital. Riyadh, in Saudi Arabia, launches on 9 November, flights to and from the German city of Munich start on November 15, and a route between Zurich, Switzerland, and Male will see its inaugural flight on November 17.

New routes from Dubai and Milan, northern Italy, will begin in late March 2024, Beond has announced – and the chief executive wants to grow to 60 destinations in the next five years.

The launch of Beond comes after a new airline that promised all-business class cabins has shelved its plans just weeks after the first flight.

BermudAir, which describes itself as being created for “business and premium leisure travelers”, had planned to configure its aircraft so that there would have been 30 seats across 15 rows, but has now said there will be an economy option for passengers, switching to a “dual-class” cabin model.

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