was a British
airline operating mainly from London Luton Airport
offering flights to and from Spain
. It ceased operations in October 1999
Debonair was founded in 1996 by Franco Mancassola
and on its first day of operations offered all passengers free flights. Initial destinations from Luton were Newcastle
. The latter two destinations were in direct competition with EasyJet
. The Newcastle and Copenhagen flights were dropped, with new destinations of Rome
added. From the beginning, Debonair tried to be a more upmarket version of the traditional budget airlines and in 1998
introduced ABC (short for "Affordable Business Class") on some of its routes.
It floated shares on the Easdaq stock exchange
in July 1997 and raised £25m. The Debonair business concept of offering budget airline travel, whilst keeping the frills (free drinks and snacks) associated with national carriers, was not a financial success. On 1 October 1999 the airline ceased operations due to financial problems.
Debonair operated a fleet of used BAe 146
aircraft, later supplemented by three Boeing 737-300
and a leased BAC One-Eleven
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