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JetAmerica Suspends Sales, May Never Fly

Whether it’s the end of the road or not, you can’t deny it’s been a bumpy ride so far for Jet America. The public charter/ultra-low-cost carrier, which rose from the remains of Skybus, burst onto the scene with a promise of low prices, including sale fares from $9. Now, after postponing its July 3 launch, the airline announced it is suspending all sales and issuing refunds to customers, effectively shutting down the airline before completing a single flight.

So what happened? Here it is, straight from CEO John Welkie: “Finalizing the slots required to support our charter program at Newark has taken longer than expected and we have decided to suspend our operations in order to refocus on different markets.”

Basically, JetAmerica couldn’t nail down slots at its anchor airport. I’m no airline executive, but doesn’t that seem like something you’d want finalized before selling tickets, publishing a schedule, etc.?

At any rate, Welkie leaves JetAmerica’s future open-ended, saying he believes there is an unmet need for affordable service to secondary airports, and that JetAmerica could play a role in filling that space. But considering the failure of Skybus and JetAmerica’s false start, I’ll believe it when I see it.

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