|by Sean O'Neill||Airfares & Flying, Airlines, Innovations||7|
Here's some good news if you've been worried about airline mergers cutting service to smaller cities. Late yesterday, a Virginia-based company announced plans to bring back the low-cost PeoplExpress airline that, 25 years ago, famously delivered low-fares with great customer service, as USA Today reported in a scoop.
The new airline may soon fly nonstop between a dozen medium-sized cities, connecting its hub in Newport News, VA., with Pittsburgh, Providence, West Palm Beach, Fla., and other cities currently underserved by major carriers, reports the Associated Press. The company has yet to post its route map online at its website, flypex.com.
As a start-up, PeoplExpress needs approval from regulators first. If the idea flies, tickets will go on sale, perhaps as soon as this summer.
Airline mergers, such as AirTran being swallowed up by Southwest, have led airlines to drop routes to smaller cities. For instance, Newport News is losing AirTran service next month, and AirTran accounted for nearly half of the service at the airport.
With luck, PeoplExpress and other airlines will jump into the breach, and smaller, alternative airports—such as Providence instead of Boston—could provide deals, bringing a fresh set of airports to keep on your radar.
Fares could be as low as $69 each way and will include a baggage allowance and seat assignments. The airline expects to fly 158-seat used Boeing 737-400 jets.
While we're rooting for the new airline, we are skeptical about its success. New airlines have a terrible time getting traction. Last May, we reported on Vision Airlines launching cheap fares between underserved cities, with Florida as a hub, but that airline is suspending operations this month. We hope PeoplExpress turns out to have more success, like DirectAir, which continues to expand.
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