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Discount airline takes same name as carrier now part of Alaska Airlines

Post by John Gillie / The News Tribune on May 27, 2009 at 3:15 pm |
May 27, 2009 3:15 pm

A new airline bearing the same name of a California carrier purchased by SeaTac’s Alaska Airlines a quarter century ago will begin flying in mid-July.

That low-cost, no-frills airline, JetAmerica, won’t have any connection with Alaska.

The new airline, modeling itself after the now-defunct Skybus Airlines, is scheduled to launch service in July 13 from the New York area’s Newark Liberty Airport.

The old Jet America was a carrier based at Long Beach Airport in Southern California. Jet America’s fleet of 10 McDonnell Douglas MD-80 jets connected Long Beach with a network of cities throughout the country including Chicago and Minneapolis.

Alaska absorbed that fleet and Jet America’s personnel

Alaska spokeswoman Bobbie Eagan said Alaska is aware that the new carrier is using the name, but has no plans to challenge their right to do so.

The new airline will use chartered Boeing 737-800 jets to link Newark with cities such as Toledo, Ohio, South Bend, Ind., Lansing, Mich., Melbourne, Fla., and Minneapolis-St. Paul.

Initial fares are as low as $9 each way with a $5 booking fee.

The airline won’t have daily service to some destinations initially in its service to underserved small and medium-sized communities.

That’s less-than-daily service follows the lead of Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air, which has been consistently profitable by finding niches in big airlines’ route structures.

Allegiant serves Bellingham in Washington, but it’s now involved in a fare war with Alaska Airlines, the longtime incumbent carrier there.

Skybus, which sold some seats on its flights for as little as $10 each way, once served Bellingham, connecting that city with its Columbus, Ohio hub.

Skybus failed when high fuel prices and declining traffic put pressure on its finances.

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