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Is Air Azul, er, JetAmerica the Return of Skybus?

Hey, remember Air Azul? Yeah, they’re gone already. They never even got off the ground, but fear not Azul-lovers. It appears that the airline is still lurking in the planning stages and will reemerge soon under the name JetAmerica. And if this Jet America Version 2is what I think it is, then it may very well be the reincarnation of Skybus. As you can imagine, I don’t have very high prospects for this venture.

Here’s the story. The name Air Azul was trashed and the websites completely disappeared in the last couple weeks. Ben over at USA Today rounded up stories about the end of the idea at the time. But just because Air Azul died doesn’t mean it’s gone for good.

Well, the name actually is gone for good, probably (I would guess) thanks to some unhappiness from the JetBlue crew. I wouldn’t want another blue-related name around town if I were them either. Now, BusinessRockford.com is reporting that the new name will be JetAmerica and bookings will start on May 11.

Now you guys know how I feel about resurrecting old airline names. (The original JetAmerica was based in Long Beach in the 1980s before being swallowed up by Alaska.) But most people probably don’t remember the original in this case anyway. There’s something more significant at work here regarding the name. Jaunted has been covering the original Skybus founder John Weikle’s efforts to start a new airline for over a year. The name of that airline? JetAmerica.

You remember this one. It was supposed to be Skybus but out of Charleston, West Virginia. While I haven’t seen any confirmation of Weikle’s involvement in this one, the use of the name tells me that he will be involved with this bad boy somehow. Want another clue? Nine seats on each flight will be sold for $9. How very Skybussy.

From the article, it sounds like some of Air Azul’s previously-announced routes will be flown (Rockford to Baltimore and New York, for example), but I have to wonder how long it is before we see Charleston back in the mix. At least one report says that all aircraft will be based in Toledo, though that statement was retracted by JetAmerica just as fast as it was announced. Oh boy.

Something tells me that the chance of this working is very, very slim. And that’s being kind. Let’s hope that it at least lasts longer than, well, Air Azul did . . . .

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