Failed PeoplExpress to Take Off Again

Thursday, 16 Feb 2012 03:34 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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PeoplExpress, a no-frills airline that failed in the 1980s, is staging a comeback and considers Pittsburgh International Airport a major focus of its plans. Officials hope to start flights in July, reports the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, and to serve markets that were lost because of larger airlines’ cutbacks.
 
“We’re working very carefully with the Pittsburgh airport authority to identify cities that make sense,” said Mike Morisi, president of PeoplExpress, adding that if the airline gets government approval, Pittsburgh will be among the first cities the carrier will serve.
 
Other airports could include Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport, which would be the airline’s headquarters; West Palm Beach, Fla.; and Newark, N.J. Only the Newark airport is currently served nonstop from Pittsburgh.
 
Morisi said PeoplExpress will likely start in Pittsburgh with four to five nonstop flights daily. The airline plans to hire 30 employees in the city at first, but may have as many as 100 after its first year to 18 months.
 
PeoplExpress plans to charge $69 to $149 for one-way tickets, with no fees for checked baggage or seat reservations. Back in the 1980s, the airline was the country’s fifth-largest with fares as low as $19, was Pittsburgh’s third-largest airline, and had nine daily flights to Newark.
 
The low-cost carrier became part of Continental Airlines in 1987, after going out of business because it expanded too quickly. Morisi said the new PeoplExpress will focus this time around on niche markets and avoid big-city hubs to keep from closing again.

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