Meet Airbahn, Yet Another New Airline Launching in the US

It hopes to take off in California early next year

Airbahn first aircraft

Courtesy of Airbahn

If it seems like budget airlines are popping up all over the country, well, it's because they are. Joining the likes of Avelo, Breeze, and Aha! is Airbahn, an up-and-comer hoping to launch in California as soon as next year.

The airline was founded in 2018 by businessman Tariq M. Chaudhary and his family, who are majority owners in Airblue, Pakistan's second-largest airline. Based in Irvine for the last 40 years, Chaudhary envisions Airbahn to become California's hometown airline.

"We believe there's a lot of opportunities in the L.A. basin, in the Southern California area, to offer our services," Scott Hall, Airbahn's executive vice president and director of operations, tells TripSavvy.

For its home base, Hall says the airline is looking to hub in Ontario (ONT), Long Beach (LGB), or John Wayne (SNA) in Orange County, three smaller airports that service the region, with a fleet of Airbus A320 jets. Airbahn received its first aircraft, purchased from Airblue, last month, and it's looking into acquiring more pending the airline's official certification with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Like most other low-cost carriers in the U.S., Airbahn plans to eliminate the hub-and-spoke models of the major airlines, which requires passengers in smaller cities to fly into a hub airport before continuing on a second or even a third flight to their final destination. Instead, it'll connect mid-tier cities directly. So from its Southern California home, it expects to fly nonstop to smaller airports across the West Coast and Nevada—and potentially to Canada—at affordable (but as of yet to be determined) prices.

As for its first passenger flights, Hall notes that Airbahn is in the third of five phases of FAA certification; for a launch date, "we're hoping in the first quarter of next year, probably toward the tail end of that," he says.