The Original Was Acquired By Continental In 1987
A start-up airline based in Virginia has resurrected the
PEOPLExpress brand for its new regional carrier. Airliners painted
in PEOPLExpress livery last flew in 1987, when the airline declared
bankruptcy and was acquired by Continental Airlines.
The new airline was announced at a news conference Monday at the
Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport (KPHF) in Newport
News, Virginia. The low-cost carrier announced it plans to begin
service this coming summer with a business plan to serve markets
currently underserved by major carriers. The airline says it will
offer deeply discounted fares to select cities in the eastern U.S.
beginning with its base of operations at KPHF. The arrival of the
new carrier will also bring with it a significant number of jobs to
the Hampton Roads area.
PEOPLExpress has filed its initial certification paperwork with the
FAA, and will shortly file an application with the United States
DOT to become a regularly scheduled passenger airline. Following
approval from the FAA and DOT, PEOPLExpress will announce its plan
to begin taking reservations.
The legacy namesake of the new PEOPLExpress operated in the United
States from 1981 to 1987, and was at one time the fifth largest
domestic airline with flights to most major U.S. cities, as well as
select European destinations. The original PEOPLExpress changed the
face of the airline industry in the 1980s, and the revived brand
vows to re-ignite the brand’s unique spirit of innovation to
address today’s market needs.
Mike Morisi, Chief Operating Officer and one of the champions of
the rebirthed PEOPLExpress commented, “With the recent
decline in airline service due to mergers and consolidations, we
have all had to travel farther out of our way to get anywhere.
Flights are more expensive and the many ancillary fees make flying
a hassle. Our goal is to make flying fun again. We will eliminate
most fees for items such as checked bags and seat assignments
aboard our fleet of Boeing 737-400 aircraft. Passengers will be
seated in a single cabin with 158 seats with a pricing structure
that is significantly more affordable than regional service
provided by feeder airlines.”
Steve Mallon, Chairman of the Peninsula Airport Commission said,
“We are excited to have an opportunity to work with
PEOPLExpress as they launch new air service into the industry.
PEOPLExpress’s model for great customer service and low fares
should be a hit with our community.”
Hampton Roads residents will have access to affordable, non-stop
service, but they are not the only beneficiaries. With a short
drive to popular destinations like Virginia Beach, Norfolk,
Williamsburg and the Outer Banks of North Carolina from the PHF,
PEOPLExpress service will be a convenient, low-cost option for
in-bound business, military, and leisure travelers. This same
low-cost service will be offered to other cities, such as
Pittsburgh, PA, Providence, RI, West Palm Beach, FL and Newark, NJ,
where airline consolidation over the past few years has led to a
reduction of non-stop air service.
The arrival of the PEOPLExpress at the Newport News/Williamsburg
International Airport also means a boost for the local economy in
job creation. Newport News will serve as a base for pilots, ground
and inflight customer service personnel, mechanics,
reservationists, operations personnel, and administrative staff. In
addition, the presence of PEOPLExpress will also stimulate an equal
or greater number of jobs in support industries such as hotels,
rental cars, restaurants, tourism attractions, housing, and
corporate relocations for the region. PEOPLExpress has leased
15,000 square feet of space in the old terminal building at the
Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport for their corporate