PEOPLExpress steadily moving forward with plans

By Michael Garko, In Airline News

People Express continues to work towards its goals of launching flights sometime late this summer.  The Newport News-based airline has already inked new deals with two airports, and is close to signing more.

Courtesy PEOPLExpress

Last week, executives worked out a deal with Pittsburgh International Airport to lease two gates, and start operations at the airport with four to six daily flights around the month of September.

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According to a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette story, the airline will likely start with around 30 employees at the airport, with the potential of the number rising to 100 after 18 months of operation.  The airline will also receive a 20 percent discount on landing fees and other charges for one year in Pittsburgh.

On Wednesday, the airline signed an agreement with T.F. Green International Airport, in Providence, R.I. as well.

Michael Morisi, president and chief operating officer of the People Express told the Providence Journal that the airline, will offer direct flights from Providence to several East Coast locations, including Florida.

The next planned announcement of a deal will be from Orlando International Airport in the coming weeks.

As for operations from its main base in Newport News, the Newport News Daily Press writes:

In Newport News, People Express will receive standard incentives offered to every new airline, including marketing assistance and waived landing fees and counter rental for a year, said Ken Spirito, executive director of the Peninsula airport. He said landing fees and counter rentals typically total $50,000 to $75,000 per year depending on the number of flights the airline commits to providing.

In addition, People Express is leasing 16,000 square feet of office space in the airport’s old terminal for its corporate headquarters. Spirito said the airport waived a $5.25 per square foot leasing rate for one year — an approximately $84,000 savings for the airline. After the first year, the standard rate increases annually by about 2 percent, Spirito said.

The airline is also working on plans to acquire aircraft from multiple carriers and lessors.  Several reports state the airline is in talks with Qantas Airlines to purchase up to 14 of their older Boeing 737-400 aircraft.

Morisi told the Daily Press that People Express officials met with U.S. Dept. of Transportation officials earlier in the week in Washington D.C.  Morisi and the airline are anticipating FAA approval sometime in July or August.  The airline plans to launch flights immediately after approval is given.

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