CLIENT OF THE WEEK: Debonair without ostentation - Franco Mancassola aims to offer a cheap, cheerful service, Harriet Green says
By HARRIET GREEN, campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 15 August 1997 12:00AM
Franco Mancassola, the Italian-born founder and chairman of the airline, Debonair, wants his fledgling operation to reflect his appetite for life. ’I’m a positive, can-do person,’ he says. ’I want to create an airline with a can-do attitude, with pizzazz.’
Franco Mancassola, the Italian-born founder and chairman of the
airline, Debonair, wants his fledgling operation to reflect his appetite
for life. ’I’m a positive, can-do person,’ he says. ’I want to create an
airline with a can-do attitude, with pizzazz.’
Debonair may be low cost, but Mancassola says passengers won’t miss out
on the extras. ’We have comfortable seats and a friendly
(Passengers) may go cheaply, but we don’t skimp on service. A smile
Mancassola, 58, hatched Debonair only a year ago, but he’s a veteran of
the airline industry. He rose to the top of several major American
airlines, including Continental, before starting his own in Hawaii. The
accelerated deregulation in the European industry - with the emergence
of cheap airlines in competition with established carriers - was too
good to miss.
Mancassola sold up and landed in Luton airport. ’A hell of a change from
Hawaii,’ he avers.
From its UK base, Debonair flies between Dusseldorf, Munich, Barcelona,
Madrid, Rome and Copenhagen. It made losses in its first year but now
it’s moving into profit. In July, it raised pounds 29 million on the
pan-European Easdaq stock market and passenger numbers swelled from
3,000 in its first month of operation to more than 50,000 in May.
Debonair does not offer passengers meals but it does provide
Mancassola laughs as he recalls listening to one of his stewardesses
explain safety procedures. ’There are 50 ways in which you can leave
your husband or wife,’ she said. ’But there are only four ways you can
leave this plane, so please listen.’ Debonair also offers games of poker
Mancassola feels ready to present Debonair to the public. The company is
launching a pounds 3.6 million mixed media campaign through Mellors Reay
& Partners (Campaign, last week) to make Debonair a household name.
Mancassola believes the airline’s name fits the image perfectly.
’It’s classy, like our well-dressed and charming staff - but without
This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk
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