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steamchicken
14th Nov 2002, 13:58
This ugly little story sounds familiar...

The no frills flights to America that may not be all they seem

No planes, no licence and the sole director is a convicted paedophile

Andrew Clark, transport correspondent
Thursday November 14, 2002
The Guardian

Aviation chiefs have urged passengers to be cautious about a new low-cost airline, Sky-Bus, which claims it will offer Ryanair-style no-frills flights to America from as little as 62.
The carrier has begun advertising on the internet, claiming it will take off in July with yellow and black livery similar to a US school bus.

The venture has received widespread coverage in the Daily Mail, Evening Standard and travel trade publications, which compared the project this week to Freddie Laker's ground-breaking Skytrain.

Sky-Bus is run by a Manchester software entrepreneur, Jonathan Aslett, who claims he is in talks with airports and regulators about launching services from Luton to Orlando and New Hampshire.

However, the civil aviation authority says it has received no approach or inquiry from him about securing an operating licence.

Roger Wiltshire, secretary-general of the British Air Transport Association, said: "My advice would be for people to wait for something a bit more real to emerge before considering the situation. We need to know what their backing is and they need to prove they can operate properly."

According to Companies House, Mr Aslett incorporated Sky-Bus in August, with himself as the sole director and owner of the only share.

Mr Aslett is known to Manchester police. He was fined 3,250 last year after pleading guilty to 13 charges of making indecent photographs. Firefighters tackling a blaze at his office had found 27 pornographic pictures of children on his desk. Detectives found another 399 images on his computer hard drive.

In interviews with Travel Trade Gazette and the Daily Mail this week, Mr Aslett said: "By picking no-frills hubs we can link EasyJet passengers from Luton with transatlantic services and, at the other end, link them with JetBlue, Pan Am and South West."

He told reporters that the airline had "started its CAA licence, operator's certificate and route authority application".

In an email to The Guardian, he said: "The airline operating certificate is in work with the CAA Safety Branch in Crawley", adding that he expected approval before the authority shuts down for Christmas.

A spokesman for the CAA said: "We've rung all our people who handle licence applications and we've nothing on this at all. We've had no formal approach and no informal inquiry."

In the US, Orlando Sanford airport denied Mr Aslett's claim that he was in discussions about landing rights. Luton airport declined to comment.

In media interviews this week, Mr Aslett said he planned to expand services to Dublin, Shannon, Stansted and the US west coast. He said he planned to use a Boeing 767-300, leased from US backers.

Mr Aslett claimed he had financial backing of $12m. But he declined to comment on its sources, saying: "The investors do not wish to be identified at this time."

He said the airline was processing certain applications under the name of a software company, Noah Systems, which according to official filings is co-owned by Mr Aslett and Jose Wood, who shares the same address.

The CAA said it had never heard of Noah Systems. It said that Mr Aslett would also need clearance from the US authorities to enter American airspace.

Sky-Bus's website claims that within three years, the airline will have $250m of sales, with links to Virgin Atlantic, China National, EasyJet, JetBlue and Pan Am. The site invites potential entrepreneurs to invest in the "financing opportunity", saying the airline needs $115m over three years.



Here's the link. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/story/0,3604,839453,00.html)

There surely can't be two separate fictional-airline scamsters obsessed with kiddie porn in the UK at the same time?