Formed in 2006 and started operations in 2007. Scheduled, international, passenger & cargo, jet airplane operations.
72/104 Frank Lester Way
London Luton Airport
Luton, Bedfordshire LU2 9NQ, UK
April 2006: Silverjet (SVJ), a new airline based in the UK, is planning to begin operations in early 2007 with a fleet of 2 767s operating service from London Luton to Newark Liberty International Airport. All seats on the airplanes, around 100, will be equipped with flat beds. Within 3 to 5 years, the airline plans on operating 10 airplanes to a variety of destinations.
May 2006: Listed on the London Stock Exchange Alternative Investment Market.
August 2006: Thomsonfly (TFY) said it will sell two 767-200s to Silverjet (SVJ), an all-business-class start up scheduled to commence operations at London Luton in December. (SVJ) will take the airplanes in March and October 2007.
September 2006: Silverjet (SVJ), a proposed UK startup that plans to offer transatlantic low-fare, all-business-class service, named Katherine Gershon, Launch & International Development Director, George Henderson, Information Technology (IT) Director, and Tamarah Khatib, UK Marketing Manager. (SVJ) is planning for a winter 2006 start.
October 2006: Silverjet (SVJ), a UK startup that will offer business-class service between London Luton and Newark, announced the acquisition of charter carrier Flyjet (FJT) and airplane lessor Skylease, for which it will pay a combined £4 - £5.5 million/$7.5 - $10.4 million over three years depending on its performance. (FJT) provides an Air Operator's Certificate (AOC) and an operating license, while Skylease offers immediate use of a 767-200ER (23624, G-SJET) - see photo. It also leases two 757-200s to tour operators through (FJT). (SVJ) said it will be ready to fly "within three to four months." It reached a 10-year, $37 million deal with Novus Aviation in September to sell and lease back two 767-200s acquired from Thomsonfly (TFY) for delivery by March 31 and October 31, 2007. It will launch with the Skylease airplanes.
(SVJ) confirmed its first flight from Luton airport to New York will take place on January 25, 2007.
(SVJ) said it has paid a deposit of $2.82 million, and will pay two installments of $12.69 million in March and October, upon delivery of the planes.
(SVJ) previously announced it has entered into a letter of intent (LOI) with Novus Capital Limited to sell and lease back, and to fund the refurbishment and fit out of the two airplanes. (SVJ) said it will now proceed to negotiating an agreement with Novus in this regard.
(SVJ) intends to offer an average London - New York return fare of 999 stg and service more long haul routes, once existing routes become established and profitable.
December 2006: Silverjet (SVJ), a UK start-up that will offer all-business-class (C) flights between London Luton and Newark beginning next month, said it reached agreement with Luton Airport to build a separate terminal that will be modeled after a private jet facility and enable it to check in and board passengers in just 30 minutes. The airline said there will be "no check-in desks" in the new terminal. It explained in a statement, that passengers will "drop their luggage with a concierge on arrival" and then go to the "Silver Lounge," where check-in will take place "if customers have not already checked in via Internet or telephone." CEO, Lawrence Hunt said the "truly fast" check-in process will be "calming, relaxing and purges all the stress boarding the airplane." He added that major airports like London Heathrow and New York (JFK) "have become too big and too congested to cope with passenger volumes."
January 2007: Silverjet (SVJ), the London Luton (LTN)-based all-business-class (C) carrier, launched operations with its maiden flight to Newark (EWR). (SVJ) said sales "are comfortably ahead of management's expectations." (SVJ) will start a second daily (LTN) - (EWR) flight in July and is "investigating further long-haul route opportunities."
March 2007: Silverjet (SVJ) flew 2,911 passengers in February, its first full month of operations. Load factor was 45% LF, excluding passengers on promotional or discounted fares. CEO, Lawrence Hunt said the all-business-class (C) airline's forward bookings and cash flow "are substantially ahead of our initial expectations."
Silverjet (SVJ) will outsource ULD control and pooling services to Unitpool.
April 2007: Silverjet (SVJ) announced an underwritten placing, subject to shareholder approval, designed to raise £27 million/$53.1 million gross. Shares are being placed at £1.80 each, a discount of -3.49% from the closing market price, the start-up carrier said. The money will be used for "general working capital purposes."
The all-business-class airline sold 3,293 revenue seats in March, representing a 59% LF load factor. In addition, last month it began offering cargo services on its daily London Luton - Newark 767 flight. Silverjet Cargo will manage 10 tonnes of available payload outbound and 15 tonnes back to Luton. CargoOne is the General Sales Agent (GSA) in the UK, and Platinum Air Cargo (PCM) in the USA. The carrier signed trucking contracts to transfer freight from London Heathrow and New York (JFK). "Silverjet (SVJ)'s immediate plans include the delivery of a second airplane in June and a third in November 2007. The entire fleet will offer the same potential for cargo and we plan to exploit it fully," Cargo Managing Director, Michael Meagher said.
May 2007: SilverJet (SVJ) is an all-business class (C) start-up carrier, that operates a daily link between Luton and New York Newark, which is eventually to be increased to four a day.
(IATA) (ITA) Code: Y7. (ICAO) Code: FJE.
Parent organization/shareholders: Publicly listed company.
Subsidiaries/shareholdings: FlyJet (FJT) (100%).
Main Base: London Luton airport (LTN).
June 2007: Virgin Atlantic Airways (VAA) revealed that it intends to launch a business class (C)-only carrier within the next 12 to 18 months. In a first stage, the new airline will fly transatlantic routes to the USA from London, and other European cities, including Paris, Frankfurt, Milan and Zurich. Direct flights from points throughout the (EU) to the USA will be possible under the new "open skies" regime, that will take effect March 30, 2008. Virgin (VAA) did not say which airplanes it would use to operate the flights. British Airways (BAB) indicated last month, that it was considering an all-business-class (C) product, to compete with Eos (EOS), MAXjet (MXJ), and Silverjet (SVJ), which offer business class (C)-only service linking London to the USA.
Citing "huge demand," Silverjet (SVJ) CEO, Lawrence Hunt said that the all-business-class (C) carrier is preparing to announce new USA destinations just six months after launching service between London Luton and Newark. "We had a 61% LF load factor in our second month," he said. He specifically mentioned Chicago and Los Angeles as potential new markets. Silverjet (SVJ) features lie-flat beds, in-seat entertainment systems and reduced check-in times from a private terminal at Luton. Some 70% of tickets are purchased online, while travel agents book the remainder, Hunt said.
Two competitors operating out of Stansted, MAXjet (MXJ) and Eos (EOS), also offer an all-business-class (C) transatlantic service. In recent weeks, both Virgin Atlantic Airways (VAA) and British Airways (BAB) have expressed interest in developing a similar product.
But Hunt said he is not bothered by the competition: "There's plenty of room in the market with 4.2 million passengers a year between London and New York." He said Silverjet (SVJ) is on target to have 10 airplanes operating by March 2010. "We have the first five in the bank," he said of the five 767-200s under contract. Currently, the carrier flies one 767-200 with a second scheduled to enter service in July and a third by year end. Two 767-200ERs will be delivered in March 2008, enabling it to serve a wider range of markets.
Silverjet (SVJ) signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) to acquire two 767-200ERs from Thomsonfly (TFY) for delivery next March. The airplanes are powered by (CF6-80C2B4F)s. The all-business-class (C) carrier now has five of the type either in use or on the way. It currently operates one airplane on a daily London Luton - Newark service, but said it is considering an additional 30 routes. Its second airplane is undergoing cabin reconfiguration. A second daily frequency will start in late July. Silverjet (SVJ) flew 3,628 revenue seats in May at 62.6% LF load factor.
July 2007: Silverjet (SVJ) will commence its second daily London Luton - Newark flight on July 31 and said it said it will announce the route for its third airplane at the end of the month.
September 2007: Silverjet (SVJ) will launch its second daily Newark - London Luton flight on September 23. In August, the all-business-class (C) carrier flew 4,654 revenue seats with an 80% LF load factor. "We continue to see strong forward bookings at increasing yields," CEO, Lawrence Hunt said, adding that the airline is "seeing a good mix of business (C) and leisure (Y) customers, which allows us to spread our risk."
Silverjet (SVJ) will launch daily London Luton - Dubai flights from November 19 aboard 100-seat 767s.
Silverjet (SVJ) named former British Airways (BAB) Commercial Communications Manager, Anna Martin, Head of Communications.
November 2007: Silverjet (SVJ) transported 6,782 revenue passengers in October, with a load factor of 58.5% LF. It said passenger numbers have risen +86% since May.
Lufthansa (DLH) Systems said Silverjet (SVJ) chose its Lido Operations Center flight planning application. Silverjet (SVJ) operates three 767s in an all-business-class (C) configuration from London Luton to New York.
December 2007: Silverjet (SVJ) flew 7,459 revenue seats in November; load factor was 55.3% LF. Figures include the new London Luton - Dubai service launched November 18.
Silverjet (SVJ) reported £11.8 million/$24.4 million in passenger revenue in the six months ended September 30, its first full fiscal semester since launching operations in January. The all-business-class (C) carrier launched a second daily London Luton (LTN)- Newark service during the period. It also announced a proposed placing of £12 million and a proposed convertible loan of £10 million from TFB Ltd. It said it will use the proceeds to expand its arrival facilities at (LTN), conclude the purchase of two 767s from Thomsonfly (TFY) and "further strengthen its balance sheet for the development of new routes."
January 2008: When all-business-class (C) carrier MAXJet Airways (MXJ) announced it was filing for bankruptcy and shutting down service on Christmas Eve, two other all-business (C) airlines quickly stepped forward to offer services to displaced passengers and reaffirm their commitment to the service model.
MAXJet (MXJ), which operated five leased 767-200s between the USA and London Stansted, launched operations in November 2005. Last October, it cancelled flights from Washington Dulles, but continued service out of New York (JFK). On December 10, it suspended trading of its stock and said it would be "operating all flights and has no plans to change its schedule." Two weeks later, it filed for bankruptcy and ceased operations. "With today's fuel prices and the resulting impact on the credit climate for airlines, we are forced to take this drastic measure," (MXJ) President & CEO, William Stockbridge said. "We are extremely saddened to discontinue a service that we so passionately believe in." He informed customers that MAXJet (MXJ) had contracted with Eos Airlines (EOS) to re-accommodate its passengers.
Eos (EOS) President & CEO, Jack Williams released a statement touting his airline's passenger numbers and load factors, which ranged from 73% LF to 76% LF over the summer. Eos (EOS) operates six 757s configured with 48 (C) business class seats between (JFK) and (STN). "We are confident our business model works and this sets us apart from other early stage companies," Williams said.
Silverjet (SVJ) CEO, Lawrence Hunt issued a statement Christmas Eve extending an invitation to MAXJet (MXJ) customers. "The airline industry is hugely competitive, which is starkly illustrated by today's announcement. Indeed, Silverjet (SVJ) has already seen a 20% increase in bookings since MAXJet (MXJ)'s shares were suspended." The company operates three all-business-class (C) 767s from London Luton to Newark and Dubai, and expects to take delivery of two 767-200ERs by April.
British Airways (BAB) and Virgin Atlantic Airways (VAA) both have expressed interest in establishing their own transatlantic all-premium operations. A (BAB) spokesperson said that the carrier intends to reveal its plans soon and to launch service in the middle of this year.
British Airways (BAB) will launch its new transatlantic subsidiary, "OpenSkies," in June with daily flights from New York (JFK) to Brussels and Paris Charles de Gaulle using 757s carrying up to 82 passengers in business (C), premium economy and economy (Y) sections. The name of the new carrier reflects the pending liberalization of the USA/(EC) aviation market, effective March 31, that allows carriers from either side of the Atlantic access to any destination within the USA or (EC) provided slots are available. "It also signals our determination to lobby for further liberalization in this market, when talks between the (EU) and the USA take place later this year," (BAB) CEO, Willie Walsh said in a statement. Initially, "OpenSkies" service will be launched with a single airplanes with plans to add a second later this year, and increase the fleet to six by the end of 2009. All will come from the (BAB) fleet and will be retrofitted with Aviation Partners Boeing (APB) blended winglets. Dale Moss, a former Director Worldwide Sales for (BAB), will become the "OpenSkies" Managing Director.
"They want to start slowly," (BAB) spokesperson, John Lampl said. "We think there is a market out there for it. It gives customers more choice. We are not competing against ourselves but the other guys out there: Delta (DAL), United (UAL), Air France (AFA) and everybody else." Lampl said that "70% to 80% of the airplane is focused on business class (C), but there are still 30 seats to fill in the economy class (Y)." After initial service is launched, "OpenSkies" will look to expand to cities such as Frankfurt, Milan, Madrid, and Amsterdam, he said. The subsidiary has yet to receive its operating license and certificate from the USA Department of Transportation (DOT).
"This is an interesting development," said aviation analyst George Hamlin, who also noted that using smaller 757s would keep operating costs down. "(BAB) is a very strong brand with business (C) traffic. The bulk of service is business (B) and first class (F). They are probably looking at thrifty travelers rather than backpackers. I suspect they have done their sums and believe this is possible to do."
February 2008: Silverjet flew 8,729 revenue seats in January at a 54% LF load factor. CEO, Lawrence Hunt said he was "highly confident" that February load factors will exceed >60% LF with increased yields.
(SVJ) announced that TFB Mortgages declined to convert its £10 million convertible loan into new ordinary shares in the all-business-class (C) airline at £0.60 per share. The loan is due to be repaid on December 17, 2009. TFB said in a statement, "Because of recent market conditions, we have decided not to exercise our right to convert our loan to Silverjet (SVJ) into equity. Instead, we will continue to work with the company and monitor its performance going forward. We continue to believe the company has a sound business model and excellent prospects for the future."
Lufthansa (DLH) Systems said Silverjet (SVJ) selected its Lido Operations Center flight planning application. Contract comprises Lido eFlightBag, Lido RouteManual, Lido FMS and Lido Takeoff Performance Analysis. Resource management requirements will be met by NetLine/Ops for operations control processes and NetLine/Crew for aspects of crew management.
April 2008: SilverJet (SVJ) posted its first month of operating profit in March. The positive news followed a record February, in which the carrier boosted its load factor to 64%, very close to its well-publicised 65% break-even figure. (SVJ) carried 8,829 passengers over the month, when more than a quarter of the passengers on its New York flights were repeat travellers.
Silverjet (SVJ) announced the signing of a Memo of Understanding (MOU) with an unidentified party from the United Arab Emirates for a $25 million investment, including approximately $8 million in equity. The new ordinary shares issued to the investor will represent around 28% of the enlarged share capital, with a debt facility accounting for the remainder. The carrier said the investor intends to invest a further $75 million and "to participate in the international rollout of the Silverjet (SVJ) brand and concept into new markets within the Middle East, the Far East, and Africa."
The all-business-class (C) carrier said that "following recent material increases in fuel prices and tightening of credit conditions in the airline industry, Silverjet (SVJ)'s working capital has deteriorated and its residual reserves are limited." CEO, Lawrence Hunt said, "The combination of Silverjet (SVJ)'s already strong brand and presence in the market with the support of a long-term strategic investor will enable Silverjet (SVJ) to continue its growth and success achieved to date."
Silverjet (SVJ) said it is involved in takeover talks with unidentified parties, according to widespread press reports. In a statement cited by "Bloomberg News," the all-business-class (C) carrier said it "is currently in discussions, which may or may not lead to an offer."
Eos Airlines (EOS) became the second all-business-class (C) carrier to shut down and the fifth USA-based airline to declare bankruptcy in the past month, announcing that "some issues arose" that prevented potential investors from following through and that bankruptcy was the only option. Eos (EOS) operated its final two flights from London Stansted (STN) to New York (JFK). Previously, it announced that it had secured a term sheet for $50 million in additional financing from an unidentified current investor that would help it reach profitability next year. It did not elaborate last weekend on the reasons that the funding will not occur. "After overcoming today's extremely challenging economic and credit environment to negotiate terms for a round of financing, it is regrettable that we were forced to take this action," CEO, Jack Williams said. "We had been clear since closing on our last round of financing that we would need additional capital. As difficult as it is to raise funds in the current environment, investors believe in our business model and we were on the verge of success." But according to Williams, just prior to closing, "some issues arose that we could not overcome," and there was not sufficient cash to continue operations.
Eos (EOS) operated six 48-seat 757-200s between (JFK) and (STN) and planned to launch service to Newark (EWR) and Dubai from London, and to Paris from (JFK) this year. It shut the door on a possible return, telling passengers on its website, "We wish we could have pursued other options, but unfortunately, Eos (EOS) is going out of business."
Still in business, rival Silverjet (SVJ) offered Eos (EOS) passengers a limited number of seats on its (EWR)-London Luton service for the price of an Eos (EOS) ticket and said it "continues to grow its passenger numbers each month," with March boardings rising +23% over February to 10,885. Load factor was 65% LF. "The airline industry is hugely competitive and this has been starkly illustrated by [Eos (EOS)'s] announcement," Silverjet (SVJ) CEO, Lawrence Hunt said.
May 2008: UK all-premium carrier, Silverjet (SVJ) has now requested that trading in its shares be suspended, after warning that it has yet to receive $5 million requested under a recent loan agreement. Silverjet (SVJ) sought the drawdown on 2 May after securing the possibility of a loan and equity agreement with investment firm Viceroy Holdings. Viceroy had agreed to take a 28% share in Silverjet (SVJ) for £4.3 million/$8.5 million and provide a three-year loan of up to £8.4 million. The airline has already stated that its working capital reserves are limited and that it urgently requires the loan advance. But the carrier said that it had “yet to receive the full drawdown” of an initial $5 million.
Silverjet (SVJ), which operates 767s from London Luton to Newark and Dubai, says that it has requested an immediate suspension of trading in its shares on the London stock exchange’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM). It adds that it is continuing discussions with other prospective investors in the carrier. None has been identified by name.
June 2008: Unable to secure critical funds from (UAE)-based investment group Viceroy Holdings, all-business-class (C) carrier Silverjet (SVJ) shut down, following Eos Airlines (EOS) and MAXjet Airways (MXJ) into the history books. Silverjet (SVJ)'s last flight was a Dubai - London Luton service. "Regrettably, due to unforeseen circumstances, [our potential investors] were unable to unlock the finance that we needed," CEO, Lawrence Hunt wrote in a letter posted on the airline's website. It had been waiting for a $5 million advance on the loan facility with Viceroy and had said its working capital reserves "were limited." Its stock ceased trading on the London Stock Exchange on May 23.
The company has not given up, however, and Hunt said it is "working actively with new investors, who are prepared to inject new funds so we can recommence operations." It said it "has yet to conclude those discussions to its satisfaction." It still has not received the funds from Viceroy, which had agreed to an £8.4 million/$16.6 million loan facility and a £4.3 million subscription.
Virgin Atlantic Airways (VAA) announced a series of special fares available to stranded Silverjet (SVJ) travelers.
The airline's demise mirrors that of Eos (EOS), which also failed to collect on a promised capital injection. Silverjet (SVJ) operated three 767-200ERs. In April, it flew 10,594 revenue seats with a 67% LF load factor and an average yield of £600 in the final week of the month.
Later, however, Silverjet (SVJ) announced that it has reached "principal terms" with Kingplace, an Irish-registered investment group managed by Geneva-based Heritage, to acquire and re-launch the all-business-class (C) carrier. Silverjet (SVJ) shut down at the beginning of this month, when it failed to secure promised funds from a (UAE)-based investor. The London Luton-based airline's administrators said the transaction is expected to be completed very soon. "If these negotiations are successful, we expect to take on all of the existing staff, to honor Silverjet (SVJ)'s existing customers' tickets and see Silverjet (SVJ) return to the skies in a matter of weeks," Heritage Chairman, Ian Ilsley said.
Silverjet (SVJ) CEO, Lawrence Hunt said the carrier will work "around the clock" to re-launch flights to Newark and Dubai "as quickly as possible" and that an announcement would come "in due course."
Still later again, Silverjet (SVJ)'s recent roller coaster ride, which appeared to end happily for the all-business-class (C) carrier earlier with an acquisition and relaunch agreement with a Swiss investment firm, took a plunge for the worse as the deal suddenly collapsed.
Kingplace, an Irish company managed by Geneva's Heritage Cie, had agreed to "principal terms" to own and operate Silverjet (SVJ), which shut down at the end of May following the failure of another investment arrangement. However, according to Silverjet (SVJ) administrator Begbies Traynor (BT), "unusually complex negotiations with third parties" meant that Kingplace "is no longer in a position to acquire Silverjet (SVJ) as a going concern. As a consequence, we have now had to make the entire workforce formally redundant in line with our legal obligations as administrator." The number of job cuts numbered between -300 and -400, according to various press reports.
It appears to be the end of the line for the carrier, which had been confident of a relaunch. "We continue to negotiate the sale of Silverjet (SVJ)'s assets for the benefit of the company's creditors," (BT) said. Silverjet (SVJ) did not release a statement. "The Times" reported that the UK (CAA) was not satisfied that Kingplace could demonstrate its ability to provide more than >£25 million/$48.8 million in funding over the next six months.
Silverjet (SVJ) follows Eos Airlines (EOS) and MAXjet Airways (MXJ) into the history books. Paris Orly-based L'Avion (LVI), which operates all-business-class (C) 757-200 flights to Newark, continues to operate.