JetAmerica won't fly after all

JetAmerica officially will not get off the ground in August. Or, it seems, at all. The airline announced in a press release this afternoon that it is "suspending sales to all markets and that it would immediately begin to notify affected customers and process refunds to all customers who have booked on the public charter flights." A spokesman for the company said JetAmerica would refund more than US$900,000 in ticket reservations for flights since August 14, which was JetAmerica's latest project launch date.

The new budget airline got plenty of attention with super cheap $9 fares but never managed to get slots to fly from. Originally scheduled to start operations on 13 July 2009, it was then delayed until August. And now, not at all.

The airline said in today's press release that those problems also were the driving force behind today's decision to ground the carrier. "We are reluctantly suspending our public charter operations effective today," CEO John Weikle said in the release. Weikle also was one of the founders of now-defunct Skybus, an ultra-low-cost carrier that folded just several months after launching.

"Finalizing the slots required to support our charter program at Newark has taken longer than expected, and we have decided to suspend our flights in order to refocus on different markets. We still strongly believe that there is an unmet need for affordable air service to secondary markets, and we look forward to offering this option again in the near future," Weikle said in the release.



Bryan Glazer, a spokesman for JetAmerica, said: "This was unavoidable. I worked closely with the executives of JetAmerica for several months and know they did their very best to overcome the challenges that the slot situation posed. But in the end, the business plan never called for paying for more than a half million dollars for slots."

Still, Glazer suggested the JetAmerica team could make another attempt at launching a low-cost carrier. "Don't be surprised if JetAmerica comes back with new routes and new destinations," he said.

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