May 27, 2009

JetAmerica to launch modestly in July

Chicago's latest airline JetAmerica says its modest business plan involved low fares and a focus on avoiding the competition.

The first nine customers for JetAmerica flights will be offered a super-low fare of $9 per seat, while the standard fare will hover around $199, the Chicago Tribune reported Wednesday.

The company plans to start operations in July with one plane, a leased Boeing 737-800, and schedule 34 flights per week with the addition of three more planes in the first year. The flight schedule will include mid-sized cities that large airlines tend to avoid, like South Bend, Ind., Lansing, Mich., and Toledo, Ohio.

Our goal is to stay away from the competition, said founder John Weikle, who was involved with low cost carrier Skybus, which went under in May last year after less than a year in business.

Aviation industry researcher Vaughn Cordle said the airline's timing is actually pretty good, but the airline's size would work against it.

Unfortunately, airlines serving those small markets very rarely make it. He will not get economies of scale or scope, Cordle said.