Will PEOPLExpress Take to the Skies Again?

PEOPLExpress mock-up (credit: PEX)

PEOPLExpress mock-up (credit: PEX)

PEOPLExpress to prepare for Departure

People Express was once a no-frills airline based at Newark International Airport during the years of 1981 to 1987.  After their 1981 launch they grew quickly; once they obtained the Boeing 747 they sold $149 fares from Newark to London’s Gatwick Airport and put the 747 on the route with great success.

In the end, the original People Express grew too fast and was eventually sold to Texas Air Corporation.  In 1985, the carrier purchased Denver based Frontier – but that quickly became a labor disaster.  People Express came to a halt on February 1, 1987, when it was merged into Continental Airlines.

People Express Comeback?

Entrepreneurs are now attempting to bring the People Express brand back to life.  The new carrier will be based at Newport News-Williamsburg International Airport (PHF) in the Hampton Roads area.   To date, plans have been announced for up to 10 Boeing 737-400s with seating for 158 in an all economy setup.

Mike Morisi is the Chief Operating Officer of this venture.

The airline has already filed its initial certification paperwork with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and is in the process of making an application with the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) to become a regularly scheduled passenger airline.  Once PEOPLExpress jumps over this hurdle, the carrier will announce its plans to begin taking reservations.

The goal of the new carrier is to bring back the joy of flying with affordable non-stop service in markets where major carriers have made significant cuts or lost service as a result of mergers and consolidation in the industry.

The new PEOPLExpress believes they can keep costs low, as much as 40% less than competition, and succeed in such markets — AND — without charging for luggage or things such as assigned seats, even with fares significantly lower than what minimal competition may exist.

In a statement, PEOPLExpress indicated they plan to initially serve destinations in Florida, New England, the Great Lakes, and Mid-Atlantic regions.  The carrier has identified service routes through Pittsburg, PA (PIT), Providence, RI (PVD), Newark, NJ (EWR), and West Palm Beach (PBI) and has plans to serve Orlando (MCO) as well as Boston (BOS).

The carrier plans on about 12 departures initially from Newport News-Williamsburg Intl Airport (PHF).

This Newport News based reincarnation of PEOPLExpress has managed to raise funds from private investors, but still needs additional money to become a start-up.  The carrier is now working with the investment banking firm of WR Hambrecht & Co. to complete the financing necessary to meet the airline’s start up needs.

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