An uphill slope for powdair, the skiers airline

One the less glamorous sides of the half term ski holiday is the transfer from the airport to the slopes and back again. Laden with equipment, thick coats and perhaps unhappy children, it has always been the part that most people dread.

Enter powdair, a new airline which is seeking to disrupt that concept.

Flying into Sion in the heart of the Alps from London City, Luton, Southend, Bristol, Manchester, Southampton, Antwerp and Zurich, the aim is to connect skiers to the slopes without the lengthy transfer.

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As you can see from the map, it is a 47 minute drive from the airport to Verbier as opposed to the 160km drive from Geneva.

The cost, at the first glance, is high.

Screen Shot 2017-11-27 at 22.42.46For three people travelling for a few days skiing over Easter, the price comes in at almost £1400, but this does include ski carriage and a generous 23kg luggage allowance.

It is over £500 more than the cost of flying at similar times from London City to Geneva on British Airways.

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However, add in the cost of transfers or car hire, plus the additional time it takes and it is not necessarily. a bad deal to fly into Sion, and definitely one that I would like to try on a short break to maximise my time on the snow.

However – and it is a big one – there is uncertainty about the future of this exciting new airline.

In an email sent to today, the company has said that their main financial backer has pulled out which has put the launch of the airline scheduled for a couple of weeks time in jeopardy.

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I really like the idea of a community airline and crowdfunding, but know nothing about the economics of such things. Given the spate of bankruptcies in aviation recently, including Monarch and AirBerlin, it is perhaps not the best time to be getting involved. Saying that, I can see a market and if it is a success, it could see Sion and other Alpine airports getting more point to point traffic.

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£1 million by the end of the week is a tall order, but it is only £200 per person who have already bought a flight. If there was some kind of reward scheme for investors at some point down the line, then a £200 punt might not seem like a bad idea.

Hopefully there will be more details soon and I will share them when I get them. All my dealings with the powdair team so far have been great and I was really hoping to try them out later on in the season. Fingers crossed they will be able to overcome this setback and launch on time.



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