OnlyFans co-founder joins Global Airlines board amidst industry skepticism

Global Airlines, a UK-based transatlantic carrier, has announced the appointment of Tom Stokely, co-founder and former owner of the adult content platform OnlyFans, to its board of directors.

Stokely’s addition comes as the airline prepares for its inaugural flights in late 2024, utilizing a fleet of second-hand A380s for routes connecting London to New York-JFK and Los Angeles.

In a strategic move in 2023, Global Airlines enlisted the expertise of Portuguese ACMI specialist Hi Fly to facilitate its launch and provide guidance on operational aspects associated with integrating used A380s into service.

Stokely’s name now features on the UK Government’s Companies House as a director alongside James Asquith, the airline’s founder, and Richard Stephenson, Global’s Chief Commercial Officer.

Stokely, who co-founded OnlyFans in 2016, played a key role in its growth, with the platform reporting a subscription profit of $45.8 billion in 2019.

However, in the same year, Stokely and his family relinquished full ownership, selling to billionaire pornography publisher Leo Radvinsky.

Global Airlines, known for its ambitious plans, has raised eyebrows in the aviation industry with its acquisition of four A380s and intentions to expand its fleet further.

Despite revealing designs for first-class cabins and announcing spring 2024 as its launch date, industry skepticism remains regarding the viability of Global’s operations, especially on the fiercely competitive London to New York-JFK route.

The route is heavily contested, with major players such as British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, American Airlines, United Airlines, and Delta Air Lines collectively operating 28 daily flights between the cities in the summer of 2024.

The challenge is compounded by the use of fuel-thirsty, four-engined, high-capacity aircraft, particularly given the current market conditions marked by rising oil prices due to unrest in the Middle East and growing global tensions.

In response to challenges, Global Airlines recently announced a delay in its spring 2024 launch, pushing it back to sometime “in the next 12 months.”

The airline plans to initiate charter flights with its A380s before commencing scheduled services, a strategy that has previously proven challenging for partner Hi Fly.

A Global Airlines spokesperson acknowledged the delays, stating, “We expect to operate our first round of passenger services in the next 12 months.

“However, we, like many other companies in aviation, have encountered some delays with our partners and multiple supply chain issues which we continue to work around and find solutions to.”