As a first step, Boeing invites prospective airline innovators can reach out to the StartupBoeing team.Encouraging new airline startups is certainly a self-serving example of working to create your own demand — or in this case, facilitate it — but Boeing is blunt about the challenges.Starting an airline is tough. Running a profitable airline is even tougher, the planemaker says on its website. Few businesses have as many variables and challenges as airlines.Some questions to ask yourself: Why start an airline? Is there a need for another one? What can your airline do that others aren't doing? What kind of market can it serve?There's no point in starting a company if you don't know where it will slot in among competitors, and who its customers will be. That's why Boeing suggests studying the commercial aviation market closely before starting to invest. The company publishes regular, comprehensive reports on commercial market outlook, forecasted air cargo demand, and the outlook of the aircraft financing market (more on that in a bit).Additionally, there are consultants and agencies around the world which specialize in the commercial aviation market who can help get new airlines off the ground, so to speak.Along with the challenges that come with starting any business, new airlines have a whole set of unique hurdles. For one thing, the rules are many, and unforgiving.Startup airlines must be aware of and operate within a framework of regulations, standards and guidelines, Boeing says on its startup website.You'll have to be up to speed on the Freedoms of the Air, a set of regulations dating back to 1944, which dictate where a country's airlines are allowed to fly or land. Same for ETOPS requirements, a collaborative set of standards that determine how airlines plan routes, are universal. Safety standards, required training and equipment, labor laws, tax rules, security requirements, fuel and supply procurement, and more, can all vary on the federal, state, or local level. Once you've decided on your market, you'll have to find a way to operate within all of these frameworks.A solid business plan is key to launching any startup. Boeing says it will provide free review services for new airline business plans and financials:We offer constructive suggestions, question assumptions, and challenge the entrepreneur to prove the concept just as prospective investors might.If you need help getting the initial plan drafted, Boeing says it can recommend advisors around the world.According to Boeing, the airline business plan should consider the following:Analysis of the market and competitionBrand positioningDescription of the business and opportunityDetails about the operationManagement team biographiesDiscussion of risks and obstaclesPro forma financial statements/projectionsCapitalization planBrand developmentImplementation strategyAt this point, you'll have selected your target markets and frequencies. Based on analyses of air traffic and route/schedule planning, you're now positioned to pick the airplane type to get started with.Naturally, Boeing recommends buying Boeing. If your business plan calls for high capacity or long-range aircraft, Boeing or its European rival Airbus are essentially the only options. Boeing's smallest current plane, the 737 Max 7, can hold up to 172 people and fly more than 3,800 miles without stopping.If you're looking to start with lower capacity or shorter flights, though, you may be better off looking at a planemaker that produces regional jets or propeller planes, such as Embraer, Mitsubishi Regional Jet, or ATR. For something in-between, you could also look at the unique Airbus A220. The plane, which was first conceived by Canada-based Bombardier before being sold to Airbus, can carry anywhere from 100 to 160 passengers, and fly nearly 3,000 to 3,300 nautical miles.How you source your aircraft can be crucial to your fledgling airline's long-term success.Whether to pay outright or finance, buy or lease, likely depends on your initial capital and business plan. If you're a startup airlines looking to lease, Boeing says it will help you find leasing partners.Of course, the decision could come down to availability. Planemakers often take orders years in advance, and contractual agreements with top airline and lessor customers often dictate delivery availability for smaller players.Similarly, a lack of the right type of plane on the used market or from a leasing company could force you to be flexible.You've sourced your planes, secured your regulatory approvals, hired your staff, locked down your routes, gates, and landing slots, and sold your seats. It's finally time for your first flight.Don't think you can rest, though. Keeping an airline running — and turning it profitable — is an endless endeavor.Staying up to speed on market shifts and regulatory changes, managing disruptions to normal service, and simply keeping things running smoothly will be plenty to keep you and your team busy.So will dealing with your aircraft.Planes need ongoing inspections and maintenance. Pilots need to continue refreshing their skills on actual planes and in simulators. Flight attendants need their own certifications. Boeing has an entire division — Boeing Global Services — which brings in billions of dollars each year offering maintenance, data analytics, supply chain resources, and other services to current and former customers. (Airbus and other companies provide similar aftermarket services for aircraft owners, too.)You've brought your imagined airline to life, a tremendous accomplishment by itself. Keeping it going and expanding will be plenty to keep you busy.