PEOPLExpress Files for DOT Operating Authority

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PEOPLExpress 737 | Image Credit and Copyright PEOPLExpress

The Return of PEOPLExpress

PEOPLExpress is officially making a comeback and today, March 19, 2012, has filed the appropriate applications with the US Department of Transportation (DOT) to begin operations.

The DOT authority, coupled with the airline’s on-going FAA certification, will enable the new PEOPLExpress to officially start flights late this summer.   In the DOT application, PEOPLExpress stressed to the department that it planned to offer high-quality service at extremely low fares; also stressed were the carrier will not charge for two pieces of checked luggage and it intends to provide service in markets without non-stop service or being undeserved by existing carriers.

Mike Morisi, President and CEO of PEOPLExpress said, “PEOPLExpress intends to liberate consumers from the poor service, high fares, hidden fees and terminal congestion connecting through busy mega-hubs throughout the United States. We are optimistic that the Department of Transportation will recognize the value of our new service and expeditiously approve our application.”

It has been officially announced the airline will be based at Newport News – Williamsburg International Airport (PHF), also known as Patrick Henry Field.  The airport serves the entire Hampton Roads area and has a large catchment area.   Currently, Newport News is serviced by a handful of 50 seat regional jets and turbo-props by other operators to large hub airports.

Additionally, with Newport News as a Mid-Atlantic base of operations, the Hampton Roads area is ideally situated in an area with few air traffic issues, mild climate, and favorable economic conditions.  Also important is the fact the Hampton Roads area has an optimal business mix inclusive of corporate, government, military and tourist interests such as Williamsburg, Norfolk, and Virginia Beach, among others.  The region also presents additional opportunities with its large corporate environment and the largest military facilities in the world.

Cities PEOPLExpress will serve

The destinations of Orlando (MCO) and Pittsburgh (PIT) have been identified as focus cities for the airline.

Orlando is a large market with numerous theme parks, but is also home to many conventions.  Most travelers to Orlando must make connections and pay baggage fees that hit consumers in the pocketbook, making the family vacation more expensive.  Orlando also has a large catchment area, as the smaller regional airport in central Florida can be expensive to fly from.

In the case of Pittsburgh (PIT), a large, spectacular hub facility was built for US Airways, only to have them abandon it.  The Pittsburgh market not only has a large catchment area, but it’s undeserved and most popular destinations require connecting flights.

Other cities officially been identified by PEOPLExpress include Providence (PVD) and West Palm Beach (PBI).  Providence is not only near Boston, but as a northeast airport there’s a large population within a couple hours driving time.  West Palm Beach is just to the north of Fort Lauderdale and Miami, two large hotspots with large populations.

In addition to the destinations already listed, PEOPLExpress is looking at cities abandoned by other carriers.  As a direct result of some of the larger airline mergers, several airports which were once busy bustling hubs have been abandoned.   Unlike the small, cramped regional jets left in these markets, PEOPLExpress plans to operate Boeing 737-400 – the Boeing 737-400 will provide passenger benefits lacking in the regional jets such as overhead space, more spacious seating and legroom.  Each Boeing 737-400 will hold 158 passengers in an all-economy configuration, but we believe it’s possible a few seats will be removed to keep the aircraft under 150 seats.

Rumor has it they’re looking at Qantas as one source for their Boeing 737-400’s as QANTAS upgrades their fleet to 737 next generation aircraft.

Some information such as fares and other specifics are being held back at the moment — but once PEOPLExpress receives the green light and the blessings of the DOT and the FAA, expect dates, fares, and additional routes to be launched.

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