Skybus Shutdown Completes This Week’s Hat Trick

Seriously, this is getting ridiculous. Monday it’s Aloha, Thursday it’s ATA, and now Saturday it’s Skybus. The airline flew its final flight last night, and now all the shiny new Airbii (um, let’s just pretend like that’s the plural of Airbus) are grounded. I think I speak for everyone who follows this industry when I say, “holy crap.”

Wheel of Fortune BankruptIt’s not the fact that these particular airlines went out of business that leaves me in shock. I mean, they were all sort of knocking on death’s door anyway. It’s the fact that ANY airline actually went out of business, let alone three of them. I mean, this is the kind of stuff that probably would have happened on a much larger scale earlier this decade had the government not stepped in, but they did. Now the industry is finally going to rationalize . . . I hope.

For travelers, this Skybus shutdown is a little better than the others. Skybus isn’t filing for bankruptcy until Monday, and if you believe USA Today, everyone who held tickets will be “eligible for a full refund.” Aloha and ATA travelers (including a few friends of mine) should only be so lucky.

This one also feels different for me personally. Though I have fond memories of ATA and Aloha from past travels, I never got the chance to fly Skybus. Heck, they didn’t even make it a full year. That being said, I’m not completely untouched by this one. Two of my friends work, er, worked at the airline. There are a lot of people out of work after these three shutdowns, and that’s a very sad thing.

So now Skybus is gone, probably doomed from trying to fly to too many secondary airports in mid-sized metro areas. I still think there’s potential for Gary (outside Chicago) to work one day, but they barely even touched that airport. Columbus just didn’t seem like the right place, let alone Greensboro. So, they’re gone. Who’s next?

(Original image)

61 Responses to Skybus Shutdown Completes This Week’s Hat Trick

  1. Wonko Beeblebrox says:

    You forgot about Champion Air going Ch7/11 as well:

    http://www.championair.com/PressRoom.asp?PressReleaseID=21

    That makes it four in one week.

    [Who's next? ExpressJet?]

  2. David says:

    The difference between Champion (and Skyway Airlines, which also flies its last flights today) and Aloha/ATA/Skybus is that both Champion and Skyway are planned/planning ahead. Champion doesn’t stop flying until May 31, and Skyway was also announced in advance (plus much of their service is simply being replaced by SkyWest).

  3. Akit says:

    I guess people didn’t like the skybus attitude charging you for every single little thing.

    It’s unbelievable that this company went belly-up in just a year.

  4. Court says:

    Akit:

    Actually, those people who flew Skybus preferred the ancillary model. Living in Cincinnati, I routinely run into people who flew Skybus and were eager to pay the extra $10 to board first. The ancillary model isn’t broken. Ask Allegiant.

    What was broken was Skybus’ business plan from the get-go. I’ve spent many hours poring through their business plan, and from well over two years ago, it never made sense. It’s no surprise they shut down. I think the surprise is that they shut down so quickly. They still had money in the bank. One has to wonder what the atmosphere was like in those meetings with the investors over the past couple of weeks. Someone pulled their money prematurely.

    The big question for me is, since Skybus still had capital, what happens to the passengers who had money wrapped up in that airline in unused tickets? Are they now creditors, or does Skybus’ original promise of putting the customer and employees first turn out to be as fragile as the rest of their business plan?

  5. Court says:

    Also,

    Regarding the refunds, I don’t think anything is coming from Skybus at all. According to their website, passengers have to go through their credit card companies:

    “Passengers holding reservations for Skybus flights scheduled to depart on or after Saturday, April 5, 2008 should contact their credit card companies to arrange to apply for a refund.”

    My parents were supposed to fly GYY-GSO several weeks ago, and two canceled flights sent them back home with the promise of a refund. Of course they gave no phone number, but the email address provided always came up empty. If they aren’t doing anything to offer previously promised refunds, I don’t have much faith in their “promise” to offer the rest.

  6. Scott says:

    I can’t say I’m surprised about Skybus. My big question though is who’s next, if anyone?

    Im scheduled to fly VA in a few months but am worried at this point that may not happen. If Richard were in control of the airline I know he wouldnt let it fail, but with US investors at the helm here, could they get spooked and want to pull out given thus recent rash of closures?

  7. Akit says:

    VA is interesting, but I’m wondering what will happen with them too. The InsideTrip website ways that VA flights are usually half full. Is that true?

  8. flightjunkie says:

    I think the data on VX load factors comes from T-100 data, which is publicly, and therefore true.

    While normally I would never make any guesses to profitability based on load factor numbers, it’s not likely that load factors in the 50s and 60s on many routes through the end of 2007, month after month, are profit-generating.

  9. CF says:

    Wonko – I left Champion out for the reasons that David said. While they announced their shut down this week, they aren’t actually shutting down until May. Oh, and since the airline doesn’t have scheduled flights . . . . ExpressJet won’t go away, but it’s possible that the branded stuff could, I suppose.

    Court – My understanding is that passengers will get full refunds on Skybus. That’s far better than the situation at Aloha or ATA. Then again, that came from the USA Today article and not from Skybus themselves, so we’ll see.

    Regarding VX (Virgin America), the load factor data does come from T100, so it’s available through the end of the 2007 and January should be released in the next couple weeks. The only route that gained a respectable seat factor in December was JFK-LAX and that’s about to get some stiff competition from JetBlue.

  10. I think SkyBus only mentions the contacting their credit card company for a refund bit, because that was the only way they allowed passengers to pay.. I might be wrong.. but I think this is it.

  11. Wonko Beeblebrox says:

    What about Frontier? I’ve got a free ticket on them thanks to some of my business travel.

    It seems like almost every time they’ve tried to expand out of Denver they have been denied (and then retreated)…

  12. CF says:

    Frontier has definitely had its share of failures. Right now, it seems to really be pulling back from its Mexico markets which had been its only successful expansion beyond Denver before. I really like Frontier, but with all its eggs in the same basket – Denver – it’s going to be an uphill battle, especially going against Southwest and United there.

  13. flightjunkie says:

    I agree with Cranky’s comment about Frontier.

    By some analyst’s estimates, Frontier will run out of cash by end of 2008 given current fuel costs and assuming inability to significantly boost revenues.

  14. Courtney says:

    I’m a big fan of Frontier, but their situation certainly seems dire. Countless attempts to break their land-locked position in Denver have failed, and now they’re staring directly down the barrels of both UA AND WN. I wonder if they’ll make a move for CMH now that Skybus has left a hungry low-fare passenger base. Unfortunately, I just can’t see that working, either.

    I hate to even ask the question, but is their best chance a union with jetBlue? Very similar product, and a fantastic gateway to the West for jetBlue. Maybe jetBlue would start putting animals on their tails ;)

  15. Wonko Beeblebrox says:

    The problem with that is that Frontier and jetBlue have different engined Airbuses. So yes, Frontier has the A319 (which is much better than jetBlue’s A320s for the transcon routes when the wind kicks up)… but still…

    AA discovered that a differently-engined subfleet was a bad idea with the TWA 757s they got thru the TWA buyout (hint: they’re now Delta 757s).

    Now granted, Usair/America West doesn’t seem to have any concerns with differently engined airbus fleets…

  16. Dan Webb says:

    I can’t say I’m too surprised about Skybus. While ULCC have been successful in Europe, I think Skybus may have taken it too far. I mean, hell, Ryanair even has phone numbers, wheras Skybus didn’t. The schedule with limited frequencies was also an issue for sure.

    As for Frontier, yes they are in trouble, and I’ve also heard the JetBlue-Frontier rumor. How have the loads been on the Q400 and E70 flights? But I agree Frontier needs a new hub, it’s just a question of where. Perhaps an airport that has been abandoned by other airlines? STL? PIT? Or maybe I’m just crazy. :P

    On the US/AW engine issue, what engines will be used on the new airbus deliveries?

  17. Wonko Beeblebrox says:

    Frontier’s “new hub” could be in Phoenix-Mesa. I’m surprised other carriers (eg: ExpressJet) have not started flights there yet. Phoenix is the nation’s 5th largest city– served by mainly one pax airport right now… lots of people live closer to IWA than they do to PHX.

    Allegiant is already doing it, but mostly to cities that aren’t very big.

    I still think someone could make money starting service from IWA to well-known business centers, going head-to-head against usairways….

  18. flightjunkie says:

    The difference between Ryanair and Skybus is that Ryanair flies between cities that has significant travel demand, and in some cases, were previously poorly-served with low fare airlines.

  19. Someone says:

    With regard to the refunds, the proper way to apply is through the bank issuing the credit card used to pay for the ticket (Skybus only accepted credit card payments for tickets).

    When an airline accepts credit cards for payment, they are required to keep a sizable reserve on deposit with their processing bank. Chargebacks are very common in the travel industry, so the banks make the airline keep a good amount in this account. That reserve is also there for this very reason…if the travel provider ceases operations, the reserve is not subject to BK court oversight, so passengers can obtain refunds easily from the credit card/bank.

    It gets a little sticky if you paid with a debit card displaying the VISA/MC logo; these are not true credit cards and are subject to different chargeback rules, so it really depends on your issuing bank on how it will be handled.

    My advice is to ALWAYS use an actual credit card to purchase airline tickets. It’s the best way to be protected.

  20. Zack Rules says:

    I think Virgin America will go next. Competition has really not let their load factors go up significantly. Hopefully, jetBlue will buy them if they do bite the dust.
    Midwest is pretty weak at the moment also. They’re facing a lot of competition from Airtran. They operate 13 MD80′s which are real gas guzzlers. Plus, their only expansion has been through CRJ-200′s which everyone else has been dropping because they’re not efficient at current fuel prices. They’ve got Southwest at Kansas City [and possibly a stronger Airtran presence] and Airtran’s new Milwaukee flights.

  21. CF says:

    I’m not sure why JetBlue would want to buy either Frontier or Virgin America. Frontier has a hub in Denver, and if that were really desirable, people wouldn’t be whispering about their demise. And VX? They don’t really bring anything at all. If JetBlue wants planes, they shouldn’t bother buying another airline. And I’d be surprised if JetBlue really wanted more planes than they’re already taking.

    My understanding about engine commonality is that at a certain point, you have a large enough fleet of each where you don’t really get huge benefits of going with a single fleet. That could be bull, of course, because I really don’t know that much about it personally.

    US Airways is going with the V2500 for the new Airbus narrowbody orders. That’s what the old America West planes have.

  22. flightjunkie says:

    VX and B6 also have incompatible engines and I’d be surprised if B6 were pouring money into expanding their fleet given high fuel prices.

  23. Dan Webb says:

    “My understanding about engine commonality is that at a certain point, you have a large enough fleet of each where you don’t really get huge benefits of going with a single fleet.”

    Well I think the issue for US about engines is how the maintenance systems of HP/US have been coming together. For example, is US stocking IAE parts and training mechanics back East so HP planes can be worked on over on this half of the country? So however that situation is being handle can affect cost (at least I think so).

  24. Ohh, US Airways decided to go after SkyBus’s passengers: http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=196799&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1126135&highlight=

    I had read (maybe here?) that most airlines would probably snub SkyBus’s passengers…

  25. Court says:

    Wow. Standby travel at $50 per leg plus taxes. I don’t think Airways has any CMH to… well… anywhere flights, so that’s at least a two leg $100 per one-way standby ticket. That’s more than the vast majority of Skybus tickets to begin with.

    Good move by Airways. They look like the good guy, and get a nice chunk of change for true space available passengers. I still call it a snubbing, though.

  26. flightjunkie says:

    B6 also is assisting SkyBus customers.

    http://biz.yahoo.com/pz/080405/139608.html

    As is AirTran.

    http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/080405/nysa004.html?.v=101

  27. Dawn says:

    Have you heard anything about Skybus’s founder trying to save the airline? I heard a blurb about them still having $10 million and trying to get more investors to get the airline going again.

  28. CF says:

    Dawn – Yep. Ben Mutzabaugh has the story. This is also the guy who was trying to get an airline started up in Charleston with a similar concept, so I wouldn’t put much stock in this.

  29. Flysoften says:

    Yes, it is apparently true. The founder of Skybus wants to fix the airline he founded and left after he and the new CEO had major disagreements on the direction the new CEO wanted to take the airline. The founder’s plan was based on Ryanair and its original route selections were based on computer modeling by the Back Aviation Group. The routes selected by the Back Group were even better than projected. Then ego overrode common sense and the new CEO who had no operational experience started expanding at a pace not envisioned by the Founders plan to cities that were not in the cities modeled by the Back Group. Soon overworked or undertrained ground crews start grounding planes as a result of running ground equipment into two differnt planes in different cities causing them to be taken out of service and stranding hundreds of passengers on Christmas day.

    Next SKybus started dropping routes or cutting them back after thousands of advance ticket sales. And then, no big surprise here, the flying public lost confidence in Skybus being able to get them from point A to point B on time or at any time. Advance sales went from near 80% to under 50%. You could get your fuel for free and not make a profit with that type of drastic decline in passengers.

    The founder wants to fix the mess left by the former CEO who is now off writing his next book. I can offer a subject and title: “How to Start and Screwup the Most Heavily Funded Startup Airline in US History In Less than One Year”

    Apparently, there are investors who realize that it was not high oil prices or the economy that brought Skybus down. It was poor management. How else can you explain the pilots being so ticked off they were planning to unionize after less than one year on the job. I doubt any of these pilots wanted to take such a measure, but felt forced to do this because management lost touch with them. When drastic work rule changes come via the internet in an E-mail, workers can be offended by the gross insensitivity of executive management.

    Skybus can work, and I hope the founder can bring it out of bankruptcy, but I doubt he will get any help from the board of directors. I heard he sent the board a letter asking them to work with him to save SKybus and the 450 jobs at stake. Surprisingly, he has gotten no response. How could this board be so insensitive to the plight of their employees as to not even respond to his offer of help. Do they really believe it was high fuel costs and the economy that caused Skybus to fail. They need to take their head out of the sand and think: “Gee whiz, how come we failed yet low cost carriers Ryanair and Allegiant are flying high with record loads and making a profit in spite of the economy and high fuel prices?

    The answer, though simple, is apparently hard for them to swallow: You backed the wrong horse! The founder tried to warn you, yet you pushed the founder out in favor of a CEO who had no real operations experience and apparently no real interest in managing the bottom line. I hope the board will reconsider and accept the olivebranch the founder has offered in a sincere effort to save Skybus and 450 Jobs.

  30. CF says:

    Thanks for your input, Flysoften. You say “Gee whiz, how come we failed yet low cost carriers Ryanair and Allegiant are flying high with record loads and making a profit in spite of the economy and high fuel prices?”

    I think the big difference is that Allegiant and Ryanair actually serve large populations. Ryanair really hit it big with its London/Stansted flying and Allegiant centers around Vegas and Florida (yes, and Phoenix-ish). Skybus has . . . Columbus? Not gonna cut it.

  31. Flysoften says:

    Wrong! Columbus was cutting it very well (80% load factors)before Diffenderfer let his ego go to excess with rapid unresearched expansion routes without research and much faster than originally planned by the founder. The model is viable and Columbus is a great place.

  32. CF says:

    High load factors do not necessarily mean success. A smaller market like CMH has limited growth potential compared to something like maybe Gary which has Chicago right nearby.

  33. Flysoften says:

    You are right, high load factors does not always means success. It takes good management too. Skybus started out with the former, but the latter left. John Weikle, Mark Sparling and Jason Hazen all left after realizing Diffenderfer wanted to take Skybus away from the model that it sold to investors. CMH is an excellent market for a low cost carrier. And, if you look at Charlotte, Dallas and Houston they all grew at an amazing pace when they became hub cities for USAir, Southwest, American and Continental. Having an airline is a powerful economic development tool. CMH is in no way past its growth potential.

  34. Sam says:

    Here is my letter to the editor of the Dispatch in CMH:

    Dear Editor,

    As a former pilot with Skybus I can tell you that I am certain that the failure of the company is 90% poor management (especially by Bill Diffenderfer) and 10% economic conditions. A company called Allegiant, fling far less efficient airplanes is making money in this market segment, but they’re smarter in how they run the company. On top of this, they paid their employees better wages to add to their disadvantage. Skybus managers had by a long shot the lowest wages and benefits in the entire industry. How do you mess that up?

    John Weikle should have been at the helm of the company, but the board of directors found him unfit; too nice and caring about his employees and the company culture. In other words, he wasn’t airline executive enough for them. They wanted the quick buck and the IPO, they were blinded by this mission and didn’t care about building a long term operation so they’d all get rich, and then dump the mess onto someone else to run in classic modern management fashion. Well they got bit, and bit hard by their greed and short sightedness (is that a word?? I don’t really care!). Worse yet, good people’s lives were turned upside down as a result. I keep hearing about stranded passengers – well that only lasts a day and is a temporary pain. What about the couple who both worked at Skybus and lost both of their incomes over night? No medical insurance, and a paltry few hundred dollars a month in unemployment benefits doesn’t do anything. Or what of the $9/hr flight attendant who was a single mom and now has to find work in this economy, and her COBRA is close to $1000 a month. Someone needs to answer for this, and it starts with the guy playing with swords and planing his next book tour.

    The problem with airlines today is they’re not being run by people who actually want to be in the airline business. Guys like Bob Six from Continental fame, Juan Trippe of Pan Am, Howard Hughes or TWA, or most recently Herb Kelleher of Southwest were airline guys… either pilots themselves or people who wanted to build an airplane empire and took a long view.. today’s executive is a spread sheet geek who can only think quarter to quarter, talks like he cares about his employee and customer but is only eying his pocketbook.. This country is going down this path everywhere and frankly the future looks a lot brighter in China and India then it does here; certainly for pilots.

    The model didn’t fail, the management failed. I believe it could have worked if the focus wasn’t on preserving the investors money, to the detriment of the employees and and the public.

    The question you should be asking is.. where is the 65 airplane order going? Follow the money.

    Cordially,

    Sam J Samaha
    former Skybus Pilot
    Phoenix, AZ

  35. Dave E of Punta Gorda says:

    I flew Skybus twelve times betwen Portsmouth and Punta Gorda and was delighted with the service and the Arbus A319 airplanes. Much better than AA’s aging fleet or US Airways’ aging 737′s. Three things killed this airline IMHO. First, too rapid expansion which led the the airline competing with itself (I could fly Porstmouth to Punta Gorda direct in February for $210 one way, or fl the same route with a stopover in Greensboro for $40 r/t (not convenient, you say, but this was a discount airline with discount-minded cusomers). Second, it lacked scheduling flexibility. Load factors into and out of Florida were great through April, but advanced bookings in the summer were w-a-a-y down. Why? Who wants to fly to and from south Florida in the summer? Those planes should have been re-routed to potentially more profitable summer-only routes, or the flights cut back to three times per week. Third, they sold tickets at too many widely different prices. One way Portsmouth to Punta Gorda at $330–you gota be kidding! When ten people bought tickets at $10 each? And then you want to charge for priority boarding? And luggage?

    Lessons learned: 1) Sell tickets at a price that at very least covers costs, and sell the cheapest tickets in the last 24 hours to internet jockeys who are waiting to fill up the plan and make it profitable. 2) Start slow and make sure your major routes are profitable before you undertake a major expansion. 3) Don’t compete with yourself: Chicopee MA and Porstmouth NH were virtually in the same market for people looking for a cheap trip to see the Red Sox or lounge on Ft. Myers Beach.
    I am sad about Skybus’ demise. Their premise CAN work. Ryanair has changed the geography of Europe, boosting real estate values wherever it flies. Polish plumbers work in the UK four days a week and fly back to Poland evey weekend for short money.

  36. flayslot says:

    Thank you Mr. Samaha for your insiders look at Skybus. It was not the model but Diffenderfer and investor greed that brought SKybus down. The investors wanted to make a killing with an IPO and Diffenderfer did every stupid thing imagineable to bring them to IPO before the airline had a snowball’s chance to make Skybus work. In addition, we must add to the mix of insanity COO Gile who followed Diffenderfer so close his nose was brown from the Diffenderfer excrement. Poor operations, poor management. I have even heard about one of the Captains on Skybus as being quoted that Diffenderfer told his class that he was hearing to many complaints from the pilots. Diffenderfer’s response was to tell anyone who complained to get the FU%K out. Diffenderfer’s style was to piss all the employees off because he did not care. I now hear that the board was warned about Diffenderfer’s ethics when he awarded a lucrative uniform contract to his girl friend. They should have tossed his ass out then. But they road with him until a couple of weeks before the end when they apparently finally realized Diffenderfer was even more incompetent as a CEO of an airlines than they had been warned by the founder John Weikle many times.

    The question still remains is whether the board is now ready to admit they screwed up in backing Diffenderfer over Weikle and work with Weikle to resurrect what was originally intended in the Skybus business plan developed by the founder.

    Lets hope they do before 450 lives are further devastated.

  37. Sam says:

    Amen Flyslot.. Amen.

    Dave E… we continuously gave them feedback (directly as a result of seeing 40-50 people on a flight) about what was working and what was not.

    I would constantly send emails to top managers (marketing, COO, DO, etc..) with observations from the front line, and others I knew sent even more.. and rarely did one get a response, much less see any action.

    To his credit, Bud Sittig, the DO was the only one that I felt poured his heart into it.. He would response to my suggestions with lengthy and well thought out answers as to why or why not.. He of all the managers was the most attentive and the most concerned with working conditions of the pilots.

  38. flayslot says:

    Lets hope they start a public “Save the Bus” campaign in Columbus. The model works! Ryanair continues to be wildly successful even with high fuel prices which are affecting all the airlines pretty much equally. If a campaign to “Save the Bus” is started by anyone, I hope you will join them in this effort. I will too! Not only for the 450 Skybus employees, also the employees who serviced Skybus, the airport personnel hired in each city to handle the passenger loads, the restaurants, the service companies, limo and bus drivers and so on. I hope you will too!

  39. Sam says:

    I and many of my peers would.

    I don’t live in CMH, but someone who does might.

  40. flayslot says:

    Hi Sam,

    I don’t live in CMH either. I have a plane and a couple of tickets on Frequent Flyer Miles to get you to CMH or close enough I can fly you to CMH (actually, I would let you fly since you have the big ticket). At any rate, I want to work with the SX founder and its employess to make Skybus happen as it was intended by the founder. If you want to work with me, I can find your phone number on the web.

    Flysalot

  41. Sam says:

    I am in touch with the founder if you want to help. I can contact him on your behalf.. if you give me a good email or contact info for you. I can only devote so much time to anything as my primary job is finding a job now.. Again, I can put you in touch with John Weikle if you need.

    Sam

  42. flayslot says:

    Please tell John Weikle that he has my permission to give me your contact information. I understand about the job search and the limitations that puts on your time.

  43. Sam says:

    flayslot, just to be clear, are you talking to John too? I’m not sure if you want me to tell John to release my contact info to you or the other way around? I just hate to post a phone or email on here as it’s always a bad idea to post such things on a public forum.

  44. Sam says:

    Maybe MR. CF can put us each in touch with on another without posting our info in public.. I’ll email him, and you do the same.

  45. Virginia says:

    John Weikle…please start Skybus up again!!

  46. SkybusFlyGirl says:

    I to can attest to Skybus managements total lack of competency, if you thought it was bad at the top, middle management was even worse. Drawing in bloated salaries, and afraid to make a mistake, so better to not make any decisions at all. The entire enterprise was crippled from the beginning,without someone to put their heart and soul into it, like I believe John Weikle intended to do.
    The Flight Attendants and Pilots worked tirelessly to make Skybus a wonderful experience for our customers. As far as I know, we the crew,were constantly praised for making an enjoyable experience for all of our passengers. We did have fans out there, all due to the efforts of the crew.

  47. flysoften says:

    I heard the employees are suing Skybus for 60 days wages. Anyone know who is representing the employees? I have talked to John Weikle and he is still stunned at how quickly Diffenderfer and the COO ran Skybus into the ground. He believes he can fix it! He has asked the Directors to work with him. While they have not accepted his offer to work with them, at least one of the directors, Bob Milbourne, has made the statement that if it could have been turned around, the directors would have done it. This guy just does not get it. No one is going to give money to the same team and board that managed to crash the best funded startup airline in US History in less than a year. WHy on earth would anyone put more money in the hands of the same team that blames Skybus problems on the economy and the high price of oil.

    They needed to swallow their pride and bring Weikle and his original team back and work together. Weikle warned them (the Board) that Diffenderfer was not capable of executing his business plan. Weikle pointed out numerous ill conceived ideas of Diffenderfer before Diffenderfer could not handle the oversight. Diffenderfer demanded Weikle’s removal and oversight. And, the board pushed Weikle out.

    Lets hope the press, the local officials, and the employees who lost their jobs will force a change in the board and they will work with Mr. Weikle. Start the campaign. Call early and call often. “Save the (Sky)Bus!”

  48. Virginia says:

    SAVE SKYBUS and let John Weikle run it!!

  49. flysoften says:

    Skybus should be saved to keep the large airlines from gouging the public. Northwest and Delta will shortly merge and that will be a huge loss to Cincinnati because the new Delta will shut down its hub there in favor of Detroit. The next merger is going to be United and Continental. My friend, a United pilot, says the deal is done and will be announced in the next couple of days. I have also heard rumors that Southwest is open to a merger.

    This makes the Skybus franchise even more necessary to stem price gouging by the majors than before Skybus first launched.

    When is the Skybus board going to wake up and accept John Weikle’s offer to make Skybus work for the shareholders, the employees and the flying public?

    The Skybus employees are now suing under the WARN ACT for its failure to give 60 days notice to its employees. The sixty day notice rule exceptions will not apply in their case. The directors had no realistic expectation of obtaining new financing when they were seeking new funds without having first made management changes to demonstrate to new investors that things would be better under the team its founder John Weikle could have (and still) put together to save Skybus. It is a question of fact for the jury, and I hope the jury will side with the employees and pay them for the sixty days they were required to give notice under the act.

    I am sure John Weikle can tell the true story of what happened and his story will enable the investors and their employees to convince a jury the Skybus board in my opinioon should be held personally liable for the Skybus failure.

    The big problem for the board is if John Weikle assists any investor or shareholder in bringing a lawsuit. It is likely their directors and officers liability carrier can deny coverage under what most policies of this nature exclude under the insured vs insured exception. Their only hope of saving insurance coverage is to cooperate with Mr. Weikle and work with and not against him.

    I hope they will help him in his efforts for to save 450 jobs.

  50. Jason says:

    While I wish that SX would return, I doubt it will, at least not in Columbus. The public would be too “afraid” to fly them again for fear of being stranded. It sucks that the vision of the founder was twisted around and changed by someone who simply enjoyed the sound of his own voice. There was an article in The Dispatch saturday i think that said someone could take over SX’s operating certificate, but the name would probably have to be changed.
    I would be very interested in knowing what cities were chosen as a result of the computer software that someone mentioned above. I can’t imagine that MKE was one.

  51. flysoften says:

    I understand that if they do restart Skybus, it will have to be Columbus where it starts because that is what is stated in airline certificate approved by the FAA. It is also my understanding the original cities were selected based on studies by the Back group. These cities were very popular with Skybus customers. The cities later selected by Diffenderfer were not based on computer studies but were made based on the whim of the former CEO Diffenderfer who will likely go down as the worst CEO of an airline in US History. The really sad part is the failure of Skybus could have been averted if the board had not elected to push the founder out in favor of Diffenderfer who had absolutely no airline operations experience. And, from the reports now coming in from the former SKybus employees, he had no rapport with the employees either. The pilots had voted 80% in favor of bringing in the teamsters union in less than one year of operations. This is unbelievable.

    I am also hearing stories the board was warned of Diffenderfer’s huge mistakes early by the founder and later by employee or manager after manager who quit rather than work for the incompetent Diffenderfer.

    I hope the founder can resurrect Skybus. It will be difficult, especially with the board blaming its failure on the economy and high oil prices rather than management and its own failure to listen and act.

    • Walkfit says:

      Skybus’ business model followed that of low cost European airline Ryanair. Being well aware of how Ryanair operate I wonder if Skybus also included hidded charges etc… in order to bump up the price of your ticket. There was even talk of people being charged to use the restroom on Ryanair flights. Unless skybus were also using these tactics it is difficult to make a profit.

      • Thyromine says:

        Oh yeah, Skybus had plenty of hidden charges. However I think their biggest problem was Skybus hubs (CMH and GSO) did not provide connection opportunities for passengers. Skybus highly discouraged connections; as such, passengers wishing to interchange at hubs would have to move bags between flights (on their own) as bags could not be checked on a multi-segment itinerary.

  52. flysoften says:

    One final thing, if you are in favor of saving Skybus, please send your e-mail to savethebus@aol.com

  53. Virginia says:

    I am in favor of saving Skybus. If John Wiekle was CEO I would have faith in them again.. Our first few flights on Skybus were great. Even got to destination a little early. Are last flight was terrible. They cancelled out Sun. evening flight from Newburgh and never gave a reason. I think it was probably because the Monday morning flight was not filled so they but us on that flight. I lost a 1/2 day work and pay because of it.

  54. Jason says:

    If indeed the former CEO chose his own cities, there probably would not have been service to Chicopee, Milwaukee, Chattanooga, Punta Gorda (though it was popular).

    I just wish Southwest would jump in and save the sinking ship known as CMH air service. WN could make FLL, MCI, RSW work for sure. They could probably even get MSY to work. But they seem focused on expanding DEN right now. They seem to be the only city getting new flights lately. It probably won’t be long before CMH only sees flights to major hubs and thats it.

  55. Skybus Airline ceased operations on April 05, 2008 after ten months of service. In an effort to keep the Skybus story of those who worked there alive and let every one know what really happened I have created the Bring Back the Bus blog. Any one with a story is welcome to send it in. I will try to post as many as I can.

  56. Chad says:

    Hi everybody my name is chad and im a native of youngstown ohio and im looking at sky bus to buy the franchise and bring it to the youngstown warren regional airport making it the airlines hub. I don’t know if you all are familier with the boeing 787 dreamliners but we are purchasing 10 of them and putting them into service with skybus, all major destinations will be $175 round trip or less with not extra fees except for Tax. All airline crew will be hand selected and picked by me so i know my flyers have the best service available. This plan is just in the planning stages and we want to make sure we have a solid business plan from the ground up to keep this airline the go to company for flights. Some of the destinations will be Las Vegas, myrtle beach, Orlando, Atlanta, Huston, Hawaii, Miami, Cancun, Punta Cana, and last but not limited to Denver. We are looking at other possible destinations across the U.S. so please give me your input capools08@aim.com thank you have a nice day.

  57. Whatever happened to flysoften’s efforts? Did anyone send you an email? Am sure there were several who wanted to see the airline fly high again…

  58. juries says:

    Yeah right! I’m crossing my fingers to see the airllines fly again. Years had passed but we’ll never know they’ll soon make it to the skies.

  59. Steven says:

    Did anyone hear about a new skybus they are starting up for flights in the pacific northwest?

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