Ask the Captain: Can a plane make an emergency landing without its ‘tail wings?’

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start an airline company? And how much would it cost?

– hala.alsuwaiket, Al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia

Starting an airline is very, very, very expensive. The barriers to entry are many including FAA certification, training, acquisition of equipment, obtaining gates, and the largest one obtaining financing. 

Finding the right experienced leadership is a challenge, but is essential. Airline operations are very complex so the leaders need experience to be effective. 

While, there is a lot of cash revenue, the final profit margins are lower than many other businesses.

The likelihood of success is small. Most startup airlines fail. Some regional airlines have succeeded because they were able to secure contract to fly for legacy airlines very early in their life. 

There is no way I can provide an estimated cost. There are too many variables, but whatever the business plan estimates the cost will be, I would add at least 50% to it as padding. 

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