Lots of financial backing , a very precise business plan to help get the backing and last but not least planes and passengers.
I would say the obvious first start is to save up money. You will need a lot of money to get an airline off the ground. The next step is to find out what niche market you want to get into. After that, acquire all permits, agreements with airports, aircraft, maintenance, employees, infrastructure, etc.
Finally, go fly!
It seems like a tall order, but if I were you, what I would seriously consider first is running a part 135 charter operation. That way you will gain experience dealing with customers and running a fleet of aircraft. You will not be competing against American Airlines and the aircraft, maintenance, and general cost of business is cheaper on a piston twin versus a Boeing 737.
I would also suggest you work towards a college degree in business. Aviation is a *tough* business to make money in but it is possible. You want to learn by other people's mistakes whenever possible!
You can make a small fortune. Unfortunately, you'll need to start with a LARGE fortune.
political connections first
BUY A PLANE
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You need amazing amounts of capital to start a successful airline... it can be done but for every one airline that makes it, 10 more fail... its an extremely risky market but you can hit it big... that is very unlikely however... you would need to charge alot for tickets due to current fuel costs and then you need alot of advertising... then you need some people to trust you enough to put their lives in your company's hands, and then you need to get lucky and not have any problem with your first year or so of flights... then maybe you have a chance...
Omar unless you have lots and lots of money you cant start an airline. Unless you find someone who will give you lots and lots of money. Airlines are not a great business to get into. Most airlines dont even make much money.
It takes at least 10 million dollars if you buy an old used plane to start an airline. Really you need ALOT of money. One new 737 cost over 50 million dollars alone. It cost over 45,000 to fill up a large airliner with gas. Starting an airline is a very hard thing to do that not many have been able to succeed in there have been alot more airlines that started up and went out of business than ones that stayed in business.
Even Pan Am and Eastern went down.
well you need alot of money $$$$$$$$$
but if you really really want it and you think you can make it, i would suggest work in a small airline and work you way up..
Talk about a tough way to go..probably the best way to start your own business is to work for someone else already in the business and see what's involved. See if you can find a small airline, cargo line or whatever that might be looking for some help. Of course being a pilot might help or else you could work ground crew, ticketing, office help etc.
Its a hard way to make a living.
I like John B's answer the best. Airlines are good at it too, losing money that is.
You can make a small fortune with an airline. All that's needed is to start out with a large fortune.
having a fourtune 500 anyway
Lots of money and a good pilot. If you you have licenses and money for a plane, then start sightseeing business.
You need to become friends with Richard Branson- creator of Virgin Atlantic and the new start up Virgin America.