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Upgraded Points Interviews James Asquith, Founder and CEO of Global Airlines [2023 Dubai Airshow]

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Daniel Ross

Daniel Ross

Senior Content Contributor

Countries Visited: 56U.S. States Visited: 17

Daniel has loved aviation and travel his entire life. He earned a Master of Science in Air Transport Management and has written about travel and aviation in publications like Simple Flying, The Points...
Edited by: Stella Shon

Stella Shon

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With a degree in media and journalism, Stella has been in the points and miles game for more than 6 years. She most recently worked as a Corporate Communications Analyst for JetBlue. Find her work in ...

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Global Airlines announced its entrance into the world of aviation back in 2021. Since then, the yet-to-fly airline has received constant scrutiny about its viability and ability to carry any paying passengers.

“The name says it all, [and] we’ve got big ambitions,” said James Asquith, founder and CEO of Global Airlines.

As a lover of all things airlines and aviation, I’ve been intrigued about Global and everything it hopes to achieve. That said, I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t had my own moments of skepticism.

However, bucking the trend, I wanted to give Global the benefit of the doubt and catch up with Asquith himself before writing a piece on the start-up airline everyone talks about. As luck would have it, the opportunity to do that presented itself at the 2023 Dubai Airshow.

While everyone is umming and ahhing over possible initial launch dates and which routes the airline plans to fly, I thought I’d take a slightly different flight path with my questioning.

One of which was whether Global Airlines will definitely fly in 2024. James responded almost instantaneously with “earlier than you might think,” followed promptly by hinting at a possible tour showcasing the aircraft before it made its debut revenue flight.

“We’ll be taking our A380 around the world,” teased Asquith.

The Airbus A380 Was the Only Aircraft Asquith Considered

First things first, I wanted to address the elephant in the room — the behemoth Airbus A380.

Naysayers and critics will say the airline would never succeed given the operational issues and costs associated with the Airbus A380, which is set to be the only aircraft in the airline’s fleet.

“I considered other aircraft for about 10 minutes and decided against it,” affirmed Asquith.

I wanted to find out why, even with the well-known complications that come with the A380, Global has ordered for its fleet and plans to solely operate the behemoth jet.

A computer-generated image of the livery that will adorn Global’s 4 Airbus A380s. Image Credit: Global Airlines

“It’s a very complex beast to operate, but if you put something on that benefits the passenger like a social space, double beds in first, and closing doors on the seats, it makes you want to fly it,” said Asquith.

It’s not just the premium cabins onboard the Airbus A380 that Asquith and the Global team hope will lure in passengers.

“What we’re doing for economy as well is fantastic,” says Asquith.

Global Airlines Will Not Join Any Airline Alliance

Given the fiercely competitive transatlantic market that Global is hoping to take a piece of, I wondered what James and the team’s plan would be to entice even the most loyal of Oneworld, Sky Team, or Star Alliance passengers to fly with an airline where they’d have no status whatsoever.

Surely it would be to join one of the alliances?

“Categorically not,” said Asquith. “Our very own loyalty program is ready to launch and we’ve got some really good things in the works.”

Global’s website runs the tagline, “The best way to fly.” Image Credit: Global Airlines

“My advisors around me are without a doubt some of the most frequent flyers in the world, this is where our competitive advantage wins.”

I knew he’d be tight-lipped about exactly what the loyalty program might look. In a world where so many people have airline status that has started to lose meaning, how would Global plan to ensure that its top status would actually mean top status?

“I can’t give too much away, but it might have something to do with access to our social space and bar onboard the aircraft,” replied Asquith.

Global Airlines Plans To Be at the Forefront of Aviation Sustainability

“We’re very much ahead with some of the ideas,” said Asquith when asked about Global’s stance on sustainability

Even with aviation accounting for just 2% of global CO2 emissions, the industry still needs to hold itself accountable for its part in damaging our planet and make drastic and immediate changes before it’s too late.

In James’ eyes, Global is starting out ahead of the game by having bought previously owned and loved aircraft rather than having new ones manufactured.

“There are 2 things that the industry is not talking about,” said Asquith. “First and foremost, the environmental footprint of building new aircraft is astounding. We’re giving an aircraft a further lease of life for another 15 years.”

He acknowledged that key manufacturers are making tangible changes in this space, such as the example of Airbus we saw earlier in the week at the Dubai Airshow with its futuristic parts shipping vessel. Asquith also stands by the efficiency of his beloved Airbus A380.

“Per seat kilometer, if you use it [the A380] on the right routes, the A380 is one of the most efficient aircraft to use.”

And he used the example of the type of routes that Global is planning to fly:

“Demand-heavy, 8-hours, sweet-spot type flights, can make a massive difference when it comes to efficiency.”

Being greener as an airline doesn’t just come down to increasing efficiency and reducing emissions are perhaps considered the key areas to making an airline greener. It’s also important to consider the sustainability of the onboard product, amenities, and catering.

“It’s a case of what’s going in and out. Jet’s that do like 8 rotations a day, plastic on, plastic off, rubbish on, rubbish off,” said Asquith.

It’s a well-known saying in the airline world that if an aircraft is not in the air, it’s not making money. According to Asquith, Global won’t have this problem because the airline owns its jet and has no debt owed to lessors.

“We can have longer on the ground and longer turnaround times thanks to not owing money back to our lessors,” said Asquith. “Would I be able to commit to plastic-free at this stage? Not yet. But, is it something that we can think we can make a serious dent in and impact on positively, yes.” 

Final Thoughts

After speaking AvGeek to AvGeek with James, it was clear that Global does not lack passion or motivation to get off the ground.

Obviously, it will need a lot more than passion and motivation, but Asquith talks a convincingly good game and appears to know his stuff. However, to an extent, I can understand why there is so much speculation, given that so many questions are left unanswered.

That being said, the fact that the Global team is playing its cards close to its chest not to overpromise and underdeliver does not give reason to assume that Global will fail. Until such a time arises when Global should start failing on its promises, I think it’s wrong to call its demise before it’s even been given a chance.

As an industry, it would be better all around if we came together and supported ambitious endeavors like this rather than casting a shadow of a doubt. The team at Upgraded Points wish James and everyone at Global the best of luck for the future.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who owns Global Airlines?

Global Airlines was founded in 2021 by entrepreneur and frequent traveler, James Asquith.

Where does Global Airlines fly?

Global Airlines is yet to confirm the exact routes it will fly officially but has suggested that the U.S. to Europe transatlantic market will be its focus to begin with.

Which aircraft will Global Airlines fly?

Global Airlines’ fleet is to be made up entirely of Airbus A380 superjumbos, of which it already owns 1 and has 3 more on order.

About Daniel Ross

Daniel has loved aviation and travel his entire life. He earned a Master of Science in Air Transport Management and has written about travel and aviation in publications like Simple Flying, The Points Guy, and more.


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