Topic of the Week: Will PEOPLExpress Fly Again?

People Express

That didn’t take long. PEOPLExpress has already shut down thanks to what it says was a problem with airplanes from its contractor Vision. I’m not sure I believe it, but either way, the airline plans to relaunch “on or about” October 16. Anyone believe that? More importantly, would you ever buy a ticket on an airline that operates this way?

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37 comments on “Topic of the Week: Will PEOPLExpress Fly Again?

  1. Shady, unreliable airline whose business model is to rely on another shady, unreliable airline for planes to run its routes? No thanks, I’ll pass.

  2. I mean, if I started an airline, Newport News, VA would totally be my choice of a hub. I’m all for them succeeding, but the business plan seems odd in so many ways and set for failure, unfortunately.

    1. Can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic here or not lol. Really? PHF would be your hub choice? Too limited of a local population to make the big bucks on O & D travel, which is where airlines make their money.

  3. PHF has limited potential. Some draw from Richmond and Norfolk, but not alot. How is disposable income in the Newport News/Williamsburg area? There are a few unserved ORF markets that would have worked out of PHF, i.e. JAX and a few others that I can’t remember off hand, but it’s potential is definately limited. I had some optimism when they started CRW-MCO because it showed that they weren’t inclined solely to PHF ops, especially if they had a slot at EWR. Their marketing program seemed effective, at least initially.

  4. Their first problem was using Vision who couldn’t even run it’s own scheduled airline, their second problem will be getting the public to trust them again.

    1. In Vision’s defense (the first and last time I hope to use that phrase), some airlines are better at providing services to other airlines than running their own scheduled operation, for example, World.

  5. I read that the jet was damaged by a ground ops vehicle, and they can’t fly their schedule with their one remaining jet. The big red flag is that they didn’t have the cash to wet lease a jet for 30 days. They’ve got to figure out how to have a spare jet and parts or else they are dead. Stuff breaks all the time.

  6. You can hardly blame them for a catering truck running into one of their planes… Seems like they have enough bookings in the future to come back on the 16th without much fuss and they issued refunds without forcing customers to fill out forms etc. I hope they do come back.

  7. I am restarting the airline in January as People Expresss II using CRJ-100s using Erie, PA as a hub…

    1. LOL! (But that comment will tick off all the Erieans and Erie supporters.)

      Of course, it’s news to me that PeopEx had even started up! When was that, and how long did it operate before shutting down?

    2. Hey, don’t you remember Jetstream International (before becoming a Piedmont commuter carrier)?

  8. No, no, no!

    But, let’s be sure we understand the state of the airline industry today. PEOPLExpress is part of strange industry. In a recent NMPR, DOT took note of an OAG survey of 2011 carrier operations. OAG said each of the top 5 legacy carriers had more than 45% of its domestic scheduled flights operated by code-share regional partners, with the carrier on the top of the survey list having almost 70% of its domestic scheduled flights operated by code-share regional partners. This being 3 years since then, I’m sure the percentages are even higher.

    To me, this leads to a conclusion that certain, if not most legacies have essentially, already pulled out of the ailrine business where companies operated their aircraft to provide a service between city-pairs. This scope and breadth of contracting-out has brought on an entirely new business, one that I would suggest has little to do with being an airline..

    DOT is basically regulating a contracting-out industry. Were the de-regulators thinking of this when they decided on a deregulated industry? Not that I would want regulation of routes and prices like that was existing in the old regulated days but really, where are we today?

    1. To edit and clarify, that’s NPRM, not NMPR, Docket No. DOT-OST-2014-0056, “Transparency of Airline Ancillary Fees and Other Consumer Protection Issues.”

      Comment period closed this past Monday and if you are geeky enough to read all the wonderful comments, I’d like to think you deserve quite a few credits to the grad school of your choice!

  9. Did anyone notice the article this week where Morisi said he was the CEO even though Erickson was hired for that position last October? That makes me wonder who is really running things around there and the managerial dynamics that exist. Oh, and not to mention every airline Morisi and Erickson have ever touched (with the exception of Erickson’s short stint at Atlas Air) are now defunct. But what else is new?

  10. One would think that insurance – theirs or the catering company’s – would handle the repairs. And surely they could dig up a spare jet somewhere! Maybe they could go out to the boneyard and pick up a 727 or two.

  11. California Pacific Airlines could not get started. Now look at this one ? Just go back flying those old Fairchild F-27 Prop-jets.

  12. I just saw that the joke of a website, Motley Fool put up an article on the exciting new airlines that are going to yadda yadda yadda (it went up a few months ago, then again this week). Yes, the 3 exciting new competitors are: PeopleExpress, the “new” Eastern, and Baltia.

    Amazing. How many airlines have gone TU using Vision’s service? Western? Hooters?

  13. Agree with the resounding nos. I thought as…….before: death by many punches….now: death by a single heavy blow.

  14. To me the last successful airline startup is JetBlue. Though it’s growth was fast though it was stunted after the removal of the guy who founded it. Too bad the board removed him over a nonfatal and non moral event, imo.

    1. Simon – In a hurry, I see. I have no problem eating crow and I’ve done it before. But this isn’t quite the clear cut case you might like it to be. It’s a pretty interesting move though, so it’s worth talking about for sure.

  15. I think the low load factors precluded PE’s chances. In the few media articles about delayed and canceled flights, few had more than a hundred people per flight. Maybe JetBlue will come in with flights to Boston and Florida although if they haven’t bothered since Airtran, I don’t see it happening now. Even Frontier could have added similar flights ages ago but now keeps only its Denver flight. In terms of new startups, the only opening I see is for a ULCC in Miami but Frontier may have just beat the punch.

  16. If they do, I’d be very surprised.

    If, by some miracle (another–the first being that they got off the ground in the first place), these folks return, I wouldn’t expect them to see the end of November.

  17. Unlike most others, I’ll be looking forward to booking a bunch of deeply discounted flights with them if they do come back (and yes, I know that’s a big ‘if’). This area is such a deserted island when it comes to affordable and/or convenient flights. So I’m keeping my fingers crossed, no matter how naive.

  18. I Think they will fly again, I don’t think they will be using vision though. I Think the next time they fly it will be with there own certificate, so maybe January or February of 2015. I Don’t think this deal with Vision will work.

  19. Jeffrey Erickson (TWA CEO 1994-97) when at TWA who brought in World Airlines to fly TWA routes out of STL & JFK. It didn’t work then and won’t work now.

    1. Jeffrey Erickson (TWA CEO 1994-97) when at TWA *also brought in World Airlines to fly TWA routes out of STL & JFK. It didn’t work then and won’t work now.

  20. Well, here is a huge surprise (not):

    A statement from Jeff Erickson, CEO of PEOPLExpress:

    NEWPORT NEWS, Va., (Oct. 9, 2014) – PEOPLExpress today is providing an update on our plans to resume operations as part of our commitment to share as much information as possible as we work to restore much-needed air service.

    We currently have a tentative agreement with an additional aircraft provider, which will enable us to enhance our platform, including the addition of a third aircraft as a spare. This will alleviate the service issues we have experienced.

    A number of steps need to be achieved before we can resume service, among them some regulatory approvals. In order to ensure that we always have enough planes and crews, we are obtaining approval to operate as an Indirect Aircraft Carrier (known as Part 380). This will allow us to obtain planes from a number of providers if necessary for service stability. We met with the U.S. Department of Transportation this week and we are in the process of providing them with information they requested.

    Since we cannot open reservations until we receive government approvals we therefore cannot commit to our previously announced date to resume service.

    All customers holding existing reservations will be receiving full refunds. As before, we offer our heartfelt apologies for the inconvenience to our loyal customers. Once we have established a date to resume service, customers with travel dates beginning with the resumption date and beyond will be contacted to offer them the option to rebook their flights for the same dates of travel at the same fare, if they choose.

    While our resumption is later than we had anticipated and hoped for, with this approach we will be able to restore a full schedule with exceptional operational integrity, supported by an adequate number of aircraft and crew members. We remain focused on getting back into the air as soon as possible and building the reliable service that our customers have asked for and deserve, with an unwavering focus on safety.

    …swirling round the drain…

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