While airlines often just cut corners, a startup wants to once again stylize flying business class as a luxury. And Switzerland is in on the action.
Everything is of the highest quality: Luggage is checked in at home before the flight. With your private chauffeur it goes to the airport. Guests spend their waiting period up until takeoff in a premium lounge until they are ushered to their separate personal boarding.
Then, on the plane there are exclusive business-class seats made of fine materials with cutting-edge technology. Michelin-star menus are served during the flight. It sounds tempting what the three founders of luxury airline Beond have set out to do.
“We’ll take you to heaven on earth,” is the advertising slogan of this new premium airline Beond, which grew out of the better-known Arabesque project.
Using new 321-series Airbus aircraft with just 68 passengers enjoying complete flat beds in a 2-2 configuration, it plans to fly directly to around 60 destinations from its hub in the Maldives, starting next year.
Among them is Zurich. According to Beond, other destinations include Munich, Vienna, Paris and Milan. These metropolises will then be directly connected to Male. These destinations will be added at the end of the 2023 summer schedule, it said.
Arabs and Asians targeted
Initially, however, shorter distances are planned as destinations from the Maldives. Dubai and the capital of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh. Cities in India, China and also Hong Kong, Singapore and Taipei are all on the program.
The inclusion of the destinations would depend on the delivery of the A321 series aircraft with different ranges. By the end of 2023 at the latest, the United Kingdom and Spain should also be directly connected to the Maldives from Beond.
Although there are three booking classes, they differ only in terms of services offered on the ground and ticket flexibility. The whole concept is strongly reminiscent of the airline La Compagnie which, interestingly, squeezes even more business class seats into its Airbus 321 aircraft.
Money and know-how
The three people behind the Beond project are no strangers to the airline industry. They all bring decades of business experience to the table. Tero Taskila, the CEO, was formerly chief executive at Estonian Air. The head of strategy, Max Nilov, previously worked in sales at Boeing.
And Sascha Feuerherd, who is responsible for marketing, previously worked at IATA, the umbrella organization for airlines.
The new Beond airline is all about luxury and gourmet dining. (Image: media service)
Of course, such a project requires not only a lot of know-how but also good finances, as Switzerland knows only too well from its own experience with Swissair and Swiss during the coronavirus pandemic, as muula.ch also reported recently.
In addition to donors from the United Arab Emirates, which had already supported the Arabesque project, the finances for Beond come from the Maldives conglomerate the Simdi Group.
Currently, the management is working with authorities in Male and at all the destinations to get all of the permits, with crews also being recruited in Dubai and Male.
The Minister of Economic Development of the Maldives, Fayyaz Ismail, is already very enthusiastic about the new luxury airline. The Maldives will be much easier to reach in the future, he rejoiced. Switzerland should be pleased with the connection to the popular luxury destination.