It hasn’t been a great few years for the airline industry with oil prices on the rise and competition fierce. That’s why it was a surprise to many this afternoon to learn that a new startup dubbed PEOPLExpress plans to begin service out of Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport in Virginia this summer.
A rehash of the original PEOPLExpress that was bought out by Continental in the late eighties, the airline plans to provide budget service to passengers along the eastern seaboard and into the Midwest. With a model similar to that of Southwest Airlines, it also plans to avoid the numerous a la carte fees that so many carriers have currently adopted, offering passengers a more transparent, low cost product.
Hopefully the model proves to be profitable. Southwest benefits from having a large network of routes, a well populated hub in Dallas, broad community reach and a cult-like following of passengers and employees. Whether PEOPLExpress can replicate that buzz will make or break the airline.
According the USA Today, the airline is still in the process of filing paperwork with the FAA but plans to start flying as soon as this summer. We’ll keep you updated on their progress.