Start-up Swiss company, flyBAIR, has formed a co-operation agreement with regional carrier Helvetic Airways ahead of its summer launch.

A subsidiary of Bern Airport, flyBAIR plans to launch in May 2020, offering flights from Bern to holiday destinations; Jerez, Crete, Kos, Mallorca, Menorca, Olbia, Preveza and Rhodes – as well as from Sion to Mallorca.

flybairHelvetic Airways will carry out flyBAIR’s planned flight connections from Bern and Sion using an Embraer E190 aircraft, with Urs Ryf, delegate of the flyBAIR board of directors, commenting, “With Helvetic Airways we have found a partner that represents the Swiss values that also identify flyBAIR.”

Originally German Airways and Lions Air were set to operate the flights but could not keep the existing contract. Ryf explained that in Helvetic Airways flyBAIR has found a partner “Who knows regional airports very well,” and knows the Swiss market.

Tobias Pogorevc, CEO of Helvetic Airways, added: “As a regional airline of European importance, Helvetic Airways contributes to and supports the sustainable development of Bern Airport regional project flyBAIR.”

The airline has been partially crowdfunded, attracting a total of 1,398 shareholders to support the “virtual airline”. Flughafen Bern AG holds 15.3% of the share capital as the largest shareholder of the regional company. Through its operating model, flyBAIR will be responsible for marketing services, working with partners operating the flights.

Bern Airport has faced a challenging few years following the bankruptcy of SkyWork Airlines and the subsequent loss of scheduled flights.

On the reveal of the flyBAIR project in 2019, André Lüthi, Board of Directors of the new airline called it a “Berner project for Berners” adding, “Now we all have a unique chance to show that we have sensible and ecologically justifiable public traffic in Bern: as a tourist region, as a federal capital with a hub connection to the world.”

Since entering the market in December 2019, the airline has seen solid interest from the Swiss population, with José González, CEO of flyBAIR commenting: “The number of bookings that we have received since the Bern Holiday Fair is over expectations. We were very well received by the regional market.”