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Last Updated: Sunday, 25 January, 2004, 16:44 GMT
New budget airline for Britain
Check-in generic
Hop is aiming for 20-minute check-ins and frequent flights
The launch of a new British airline, tagged the world's first new generation domestic service, has been announced.

Hop, which will have a head office at Cambridge, aims to Americanise air travel in Britain.

The airline plans to fly frequent Greyhound-style services on a network of routes from up to 20 UK airports by the summer with 20-minute check-ins.

Its founders predict fares on 30% of the routes will be less than 10.

Hop's chairman, Kit Malthouse, announcing the launch on Sunday, said he believed domestic flights were the answer to the UK's traffic problems.

Fed-up with waiting

He said Hop would offer commuters a real alternative and could provide a solution to Britain's transport problems.

Mr Malthouse added that as a frequent traveller, he had become fed-up with waiting in traffic jams, on platforms and at airports.

He said cross-country journeys were particularly frustrating because London was at the hub of Britain's radial transport network.

"At the end of a week when the Transport Secretary has announced a major review of the rail services and a month after the government admitted it hadn't beaten traffic jam targets, British business and leisure travellers are more than ready for domestic travel to move in to the 21st century.

"The budget airlines have demonstrated how cost-effective air travel can be and Hop is heralding a new generation."

First services

Hop's founders believe it can run up 20% more efficiently than existing budget airlines by making maximum use of the county's smaller airports.

The airline also plans to lease smaller planes and fly them regularly.

Mr Malthouse said the company hoped to begin operating on seven routes by July with the first services being announced in May.

The company's chief executive officer is Tony Camacho, former chief commercial officer of budget no-frills Dutch airline Buzz.

Hop chairman Kit Malthouse
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