They aren’t kidding when they say what goes up must come down. I was working on a post about the new Western Airlines when I found out that they’re already going out of business!
The airline started service on January 18 from its base in Bellingham (Washington) to San Diego, Ontario, and Mesa (near Phoenix). Since Bellingham is so close to Vancouver, they thought they’d be able to steal traffic from across the border. Unless they had figured out a magic way to cross the border quickly (they didn’t), I would have been surprised if that strategy worked.
Airline dorks were pretty excited to see the Western name return to the skies 20 years after the original was bought by Delta. The airline even used “Still the Only Way to Fly” as their slogan, a take on the old Western’s line.
The airline was “wet leasing” a plane from XTRA Airways. That means XTRA was responsible for flying the airplane around under Western’s name. Apparently Western forgot that they had to actually pay XTRA for that privelege, and that’s where the trouble started.
Clue #1 – If you go to the Western website, click on the reservations link. It has said “System Update in progress . . . please check back later!” for at least a day now.
Clue #2 – XTRA Airways sent out a blast email yesterday with the following:
XTRA aviation are pleased to advise of the following
We will have a B737-400 with 12J / 138Y (150Y) which will be available for
ad-hoc Charter from 12 Feb – 01 April 2007 inclusive Please forward all
outstanding requests and any new request which Xtra Aviation will be happy to
Clue #3 – Well, this is more confirmation than a clue. The Bellingham Herald put out an article confirming that San Diego flights are canceled while the others likely will be as well. The company is out of money and is trying to find more. Good luck with that.
So, we say so long to Western. They almost made it a month.