The CEO of Really Cool Airlines (LUV) has provided some more detail on his start-up, telling the Latest Finance News outlet that he hopes to secure the air operator's certificate (AOC) in late 2023 or early 2024 and soon after start operations with four A330-300s.

CEO Patee Sarasin wants the AOC and the first aircraft in time to fly into the Singapore Air Show in February 2024. The airline has already obtained its Thailand-issued air operator's licence (AOL), a precursor to the AOC, the application for which is in and, according to Sarasin, underway.

When Sarasin first publicly floated the idea for Really Cool Airlines, he said he was looking at either B787 or A350s to start operations. He later dropped plans for Boeing aircraft in favour of the Airbus offerings. "We're probably going, for now, with Airbus," Sarasin told ch-aviation earlier this year, saying that decision was largely contingent on price.

This week, he says he's settled on A330-300s to launch the airline, although he did not provide details on the supplier or say if the leases are locked in. Sarasin told ch-aviation that he is aiming for four of the type by the end of calendar 2024, with all operating under dry leases "The aircraft aren't locked in yet at this stage," he said. "We're in discussions with several lessors." Sarasin also told Latest Financial News that says he hopes to introduce A350s by 2025, but did not specify the type or number, merely saying that they would complement A330 services.

"Our focus in the first year would be on the Asia Pacific region - Japan, Hong Kong, China, South Korea and even Israel," Sarasin said. "We are ambitious. It's hard with four planes, but it's okay; we can do it." He added that he had recently refined the start-up plan to reduce the daily aircraft utilization rate from around 16 to 13 hours.

Really Cool Airlines is targeting inbound international travellers and will take on Thai Airways International (TG, Bangkok Suvarnabhumi), which, along with its soon-to-be subsumed low-cost subsidiary, Thai Smile, handles around 28% of all passengers passing through Thailand's busiest airport - Bangkok Suvarnabhumi. Sarasin says he hopes to pass inbound travellers on his airline onto local carriers for domestic connections and also hopes those carriers will reciprocate. "We will help them fill their planes domestically, and likewise, they would help us fill our planes internationally," he said.