Who the F*&# is Viza Air?

I love covering new airline startups, because the chances that most of them go anywhere are slim to none. It’s fun to pick these apart and to see if anyone actually puts money into them (see: JetAmerica). The latest effort we have is called Viza Air, and I’ll bet this one doesn’t go anywhere at all.

I think the Viza Air name is appropriate. They’re trying to fly out of Gary, Indiana, so they could easily borrow Visa’s tagline and tweak it to say “It’s nowhere you want to be.” Maybe that’s not fair. At least Gary does serve the Chicago metro area. That’s better than I can say for Toledo. The plan is for flights to both Newark and Washington/National airport.

If you believe the airline reps, they say they have now secured slots at both National and Newark. If that’s true, then great. It’s better than JetAmerica has done. But I’m not such a quick believer. For what it’s worth, at least Gary is being smart about this one. They have been in discussions for a few months, but they still haven’t seen a business plan. Gary does make it clear that there won’t be any marketing funds offered here. They’ve been burned too many times by now.

So is there a need for this? No, I doubt it. I do like the idea of Gary in better economic times, but I would still focus on more leisure destinations like Florida than business destinations like DC and New York.


22 Responses to Who the F*&# is Viza Air?

  1. James says:

    Are fares going to be drastically lower than the regulars up the road at ORD and MDW? If not, I can’t see who in their right mind would pay around the same price for an unestablished airline with such limited resources.

    Tertiary airports like Gary, or any small airport with one charter airline where you can easily park and walk to your plane, SOUND appealing – until you take into account the contingency factor: If your plane is down for maintenance, oversold, (or bankrupt that day,) you’re not flying anywhere.

    I always factor that contingency into account: A delay stinks anytime, but at least with Southwest or UAL you have a higher frequency of flights, and a network of cities that can eventually get you to your destination. With Allegient and others that fly all over the place every other day with a limited number of planes you’re pretty much stuck, without even another carrier to get you somewhere.

    The plus side to hectic and congested airports is that they actually have planes going places. Unlike Gary.

  2. Jon says:

    Best post ever!

  3. Dave says:

    Saying Gary airport is a Chicago airport is like saying the U.S. Postal Service knows anything about customer service.

  4. Dirk says:

    When I was trying to come up with a story for a new airline that was so outrageous I thought West Virginia was the worst. I now stand corrected.

    Gary is the worst.

    What really gets me is the DCA slots. How did he get them, how did the other airlines not get them, and why did none of us hear about this?

    But, taking the incredible leap of faith that this guy is telling the truth, and Viza Air does have the slots, what is he going to do with them? He’s connecting business markets (EWR, DCA) with a very non-business market (Gary). I’m not driving to Gary under threat of death (which is sometimes the case) to catch a flight to DCA. I’d rather fly Southwest to BWI then make my drive from major airport to city center.

  5. David SFeastbay says:

    “””””The airline will employ names for its flights rather than flight numbers, Price said. Those include the Obama Express, Notre Dame Express, and Manhattan Express.”””””

    Is this an airline or a train? Maybe to get slots to DCA they are chartering another airline who flys there and will use their slots (can one do that?).

    When I read Viza Airlines I thought Cranky was off to Italy again to pick on an airline, but then I read Gary, Indiana. Well GYY does have space since no airline flys there, and if they offer a low price could get people from the Chicago metro area. But you are right that a vacation traveler to a leisure market is more likely to take the change of a new start up then business travelers who fly what airline their company has a contract with and not an unknown.

  6. Nimitz says:

    @James
    You make a good point, and it is exactly why Cranky suggests flying business routes from GYY is the wrong way to start. Leisure customers, however, are much more open to such possibilities, especially if the price is right.

  7. Dirk says:

    @Nimitz

    The problem with the leisure argument isn’t GYY, it’s DCA

  8. Nimitz says:

    @Dirk
    Agree completely. I think GYY will eventually work for someone, but as Cranky said, starting it out with business markets is not the way to go. DCA has no place in a start-up from GYY (or any other similar airport), nor does EWR. Airport director at GYY should be wary of these guys. His airport has an undeservedly bad reputation based on the flaming bags that have been left at his doorstep. This one sounds like another. Naming, rather than numbering, flights is cute, but it’s not a business plan.

  9. This airline even have a website yet? Looks like http://www.vizaair.com is parked domain!

  10. Shane says:

    I actually fly quite a lot from DCA and IAD to Chicago for visiting family in NW Indiana. Gary would be very convenient. While DC is not exactly a leisure destination, it is a heavy tourist destination. I don’t think this is a great plan, but it hasn’t been tried before. There have already been multiple attempts at leisure flying similar to Allegiant that have failed, but nobody really knows if business/tourist destinations will work. This would work better if they could then tie in a leisure destination from DCA & offer through flights.

    As mentioned, where would this slot come from? US Air? CF: are there any open slots at DCA? Maybe they are going to use weekend slots that US Air doesn’t use? It’s highly doubtful the slot would be a new one, DOT/FAA would not issue a new slot to a startup service to an already well served market. Although I would be happy if this happened and it worked.

  11. CF says:

    Shane – There aren’t any open slots that I know of, but they do set aside slots for new entrants who want to start service. I don’t know the full details, and to be honest, I’m too busy to look them up right now!

  12. Nate says:

    Shane -> I was shopping for a few slots for my own airline and we were able to find a FEW vacancies, but at horrible times. We were told to talk to Northwest, USAirways, and Republic to see if we can purchase any under-utilized times/slots.

    TSA also has some pretty damning restrictions on flights in and out of DCA, so we instead go to IAD and BWI.

  13. yo says:

    What was that airline that used to fly from Gary to Phoenix Gateway?

    The ads were hilarious…fly to Chicago (asterisk)…

    Didn’t last.

    I’d rather fly to Lagos Nigeria on a Sudanese airline on a 35 year old Yak 40 at Midnight than have to fly to Gary.

  14. CF says:

    Yo – I believe that was the long lasting SkyValue

  15. JK says:

    Cranky,

    Your topics are wonderful! Your commentors, like “yo, “well, maybe even better!

    Keep up the good work, all!

  16. yo says:

    Ah, SkyValue…they did last longer at Gateway than the “New” Western Airlines, which lasted about 1.5 weeks.

    JK, thanks for the props!

  17. nicktunez says:

    You know I don’t live in Gary but I hear a lot of negativity from people who don’t live there either. At least you know its bad in Gary. So many other cities things are swept under the rugs. Gary’s airport is the best thing happening in that city. It is not their fault that they can’t keep an airline. Economic times are hard. Everyone should know this. That airport is still functioning through it though. When things take a turn for the better that airport will be the best in nwi.

  18. Eric says:

    The latest of this according to the NWI times: GYY told them to take a hike when it comes to exclusivity & financial incentives. Good to see someone learned something after the TOL/JetAmerica smackdown.

    http://www.nwitimes.com/business/local/article_f4336491-cdad-5869-ad01-a0c8da8b30e4.html

  19. George says:

    For those who have negative opinions about GYY are obviously mis-informed. Gary airport is in a safe location right off an inter-state highway (I-90) and separated from the residential areas of Gary by a river or industrial park. When they did have an airline at Gary, travellers left cars parked there overnight with no problems. Security was tight. O’Hare can’t say that. Many cars are broken into at O’Hares lots. Gary is much closer to downtown Chicago than O’Hare. So, bottom line people be open minded and look at the facts before making judgements.

  20. KJ says:

    Hmmm. Any of you bloggers voted for Mr. Obama? I’m curious.
    The only issue for you all is that this airport has the name “Gary” in it. Have any of you taken a flight from Gary Airport? Have you driven by it? I did. They have a model of Octave Chanute’s glider in the entrance.
    (A little historical reference on flying- Octave Chanute’s glider experience was done off the Indiana Dunes-Gary, Indiana-Miller area. Wright Brothers consulted with Mr. Chanute to obtain his experience for those flying machines we now enjoy today. ANYWAY!)
    Eastern Airlines actually had flights to Orlando, FL. (Sanford)
    Pace Airlines (AKA Hooters Air) went to Paradise Island and Myrtle Beach. And NO, Hooters Air had REAL airline professionals, with two Hooters wait stafft dressed appropriately.

    Both were worth taking because I didn’t deal with all the stress of parking and just getting there. Take I-90 to Chicago Skyway, its actually just 30 minutes from downtown. The rest is easy, parking is a breeze! Boeing has their corporate jets there, so it must be safe enough for them! Boeing knows something you don’t apparently.

    So, if you have driven to the airport (at least) and taken a flight make comments that are informative, not just based on assumptions just because it’s in Gary, you figure anything with the name Gary, Indiana is going to be horrible. I have had the best airport experience in Gary, Indiana.

  21. CF says:

    George – Just one correction – Gary is not closer to downtown Chicago than O’Hare. Gary is a little over 25 miles away while O’Hare is just under 20 miles. Of course, when you factor in traffic, both drives are awful.

  22. Dan says:

    Gary is a viable option for any airline. The problem is the economy not GARY. The reason for Pan-Am….Southeast….Hooters….Sky Value…Skybus…was not Gary supporting them…..but the airline itself. They left Gary because they all went belly-up. Passenger traffic was decent especially flights to Las Vegas (Hooters / Sky Value)….and that’s where the airport officals should be looking . Flights to Las Vegas….Florida….and possibly major hubs. I see now they are talking with ExpressJet for possible flights to Denver and Washington Dullas.

    Glad to see Viza..or Visa…is out of the question.. We don’t need another airline going out of business in a month or two

Leave a Reply

Please use your real name or nickname instead of your company name or keyword spam.