LONDON, UKUK-based airline startup recently posted photos of the airline’s first Airbus A330-300, in its livery.

The pandemic poses challenges that aviation has never seen before. But in an odd twist of these odd times, perhaps it’s the pandemic that might have made low-cost, long-haul a practical proposition. Flypop is positioning itself to explore this opportunity, and the delivery of its first aircraft will be another key milestone.

Flypop leased their first Airbus A330 from Avolon, the world’s third-biggest aircraft lessor. Earlier this year, the airline and Avolon announced their agreement, for an as-yet-unspecified number of jets. But all of them will be Airbus A330-300s. This is a popular aircraft, particularly among high-density medium/long-haul operators in Asia.

But a lot of these operators are now upgrading their fleets, to newer types. And this appears to be the story behind the first A330 that Flypop is getting. The aircraft will have tail number G-FPOP when it joins its new operator. And the plane is barely over 8 years old!

Flypop is getting an A330 whose first owner already set up with a low-cost interior and this aircraft already has 436 seats. Flypop wanted A330s with 400 seats with a 29” seat pitch in a 3-3-3 seating configuration.

Flypop aims to link the UK with secondary cities in India and South Asia. The airline’s founders believe that this is more than just a niche, with large communities of Britons today having family and friends in these cities and regions. And crucially, flights from the UK to India don’t have to last more than 10 hours each way. This means that each aircraft can perform two legs per day. This takes care of one concern with low-cost, long haul: underutilization. With good lease prices and planes that don’t sit idle, the airline could be onto something.

Flypop expects to get its first Airbus A330 at its Stansted base in the UK, by the end of August. The airline won’t start operations until October. But the exact timing of their launch will necessarily depend on the evolution of international travel restrictions. However, the company says that its preparations are still on schedule.

The second aircraft of the carrier was spied in China by spotters. The aircraft with registration RP-C3342 is an 8-years-old Airbus A330 previously operated by Cebu Pacific Airlines.