Air Transport World - UK startup Odyssey Airlines widens search for funds

29 May 2014

by Alan Dron

UK-based Odyssey Airlines, which plans to start all-business class services from London City Airport to New York in 2016, has widened its efforts to attract investor funding.

The startup, which announced earlier this month it would use UK crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to attract funding, said Thursday it is expanding this approach to the US market via Crowdfunder.

Odyssey said in a statement the joint funding initiative aims to raise £5 million ($8.4 million) to support its next phase of development in the first half of 2015, which will use a more conventional approach of financial institutions to raise £60 million to launch the airline in mid-2016.

The carrier plans to use Bombardier CSeries CS100s to fly nonstop from London City to a currently unspecified airport in the New York area. It then plans to open services to Europe and the Middle East

Odyssey CEO Adam Scott described launching the crowdfunding exercise in the US as “an obvious step.”

He said, “The US crowdfunding market is the most mature for this type of financing, and is complemented by a massive appetite for innovative startup investment. We are making good progress with our Crowdcube raise in the UK, but have received significant interest in our business from the United States and have launched this platform to give US investors an accessible means to invest.”     

The company also announced Thursday it is appointing two industry veterans to its executive team—Dragonair founder Stephen Miller, who will become executive director, and Virgin Atlantic founder David Tait.

Miller more recently ran Hong Kong’s Oasis Airlines and is developing Sunrise Airlines in Sarasota, Florida. He previously acted in an advisory capacity to Odyssey. Tait is a specialist in airline development and brand building.