Smokers-only airline founded in Germany
27 June 2006
DUSSELDORF, GERMANY – A smokers-only airline said Tuesday it hopes to be airborne next year, flying a route between Tokyo and the German city of Dusseldorf where there are connections onward to European destinations.
Alexander Schoppmann, founder of Smoker’s International Airways (Smintair), told Deutsche Presse-Agentur he would be leasing two Boeing 747 jumbo jets and fitting them out entirely with just 138 roomy first-class and business-class seats each.
Schoppmann described Smintair as the world’s first airline just for smokers. Most other airlines have banned smoking. The German said he expected to obtain capital from financial investors and “sponsors” such as cigarette companies.
With smoking common in restaurants and bars, Germany is more tolerant of smokers than many other western nations. But officials have called for smoking to be banned in public places.
Schoppmann aims to launch the first flight next March 26. A German newspaper, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, this week quoted aviation regulators in Germany saying time would be tight if he hoped to gain an airline licence by that date.
The newspaper described Schoppmann, 55, as a retired stockbroker who smokes a packet and a half of cigarettes a day. It said he had registered Smintair in London where he has a second home.
To avoid fug, Smintair planes would suck in clean air from outside and keep the cabin well ventilated throughout the flight.
Schoppmann said he also chose Dusseldorf as a destination because it has a large Japanese business community that would be willing to pay Smintair’s high seat prices, but currently has no direct connections to Tokyo.
Subject: German news