Independence Air To Clt!


Aug 2, 2004
CLT Observer is reporting that I-Air is starting CLT service Oct. 1. Hopefully US can hold its own.

Posted on Mon, Aug. 02, 2004
2nd low-fare airline coming to Charlotte

Independence Air to pressure US Airways with flights to Dulles

Staff Writer

A second low-fare airline is headed to Charlotte/Douglas International Airport.

Independence Air will announce today that it plans to begin eight daily roundtrip flights between Charlotte and its hub at Washington Dulles International Airport starting Oct. 1.

The flights will bring a new level of competition to Charlotte/Douglas, which has the country's highest airfares. Independence will join low-fare carrier ATA, which offers four daily roundtrip flights to its hub at Chicago's Midway Airport.

From Dulles, Independence Air will offer connections to about two dozen Northeast and Midwest cities, including Newark, N.J., Boston, Detroit and Cleveland.

Charlotte/Douglas is the largest hub for US Airways, which carries about 90 percent of the airport's passengers. The carrier's dominance has generally discouraged low-fare competitors from entering the market, keeping fares high. "We think Charlotte is a great market that will respond well to low-fare service," Independence spokesman Rick DeLisi told the Observer. "We think there is an unsatisfied demand for low-fare service not only to Washington but to the other markets we serve."

One-way fares between Charlotte and Dulles will range from $59 to $122. Tickets will be sold without restrictions that typically require Saturday night stays, advance purchase and roundtrip flights. One-way fares on one-stop flights to connecting cities will range between $79 and $199.

As an introductory promotion, Independence will sell $29 one-way fares between Charlotte and Dulles, and $69 one-way, one-stop fares to connecting cities. Tickets must be purchased by Aug. 15 for travel between Oct. 1 and Dec. 19.

Fares at Charlotte/Douglas were ranked the nation's highest in a U.S. Transportation Department survey of ticket prices in the third quarter of 2003. In that survey, the average one-way fare between Charlotte and Washington was $299. The survey combined fares to both Dulles and Reagan National Airport.

Independence Air's arrival will mean more problems for US Airways, which is trying to cut $1.5 billion in annual costs to compete with low-fare carriers. It is negotiating to wrest $800 million in annual savings from its labor unions, arguing that it can't survive if lower ticket revenues aren't matched by cost savings.

On May 8, Southwest Airlines began flying to US Airways' Philadelphia hub. US Airways responded by matching Southwest's fares. With six daily flights between Charlotte and Dulles, it is likely to match Independence Air's fares on that route as well.

Independence Air began operating from Dulles to eight cities on June 16, flying 50-seat regional jets. In November, it plans to begin adding Airbus 319 jets, seating 132 passengers on longer routes to Florida and the West Coast.

Formerly known as Atlantic Coast Airlines, the carrier was -- until June -- primarily a partner of United Airlines, feeding flights at United's Dulles hub. The two carriers parted after United filed for bankruptcy protection.

It has expanded rapidly and will serve 37 cities from Dulles by Oct. 1. It began flying to Greensboro on Sunday and will announce today that it is adding service to Huntsville, Ala., as well as Charlotte, on Oct. 1. Atlantic Coast Airlines Holdings Inc., the parent of Independence, said last week it lost $27.1 million in the second quarter, largely because of start-up costs for Independence.

"Much uncertainty remains," airline analyst Ray Neidl of Blaylock & Partners said in a recent report. He said independent flying is more risky than flying as a contractor for a major carrier, though potentially far more lucrative.

Independence Air will have grown to 600 daily departures by the end of the summer, when airline traffic normally falls off, analyst Jamie Baker of Morgan Stanley said in a recent report. Baker said the number of airline seats at Dulles has risen 172 percent this year and questioned whether there is enough demand to support Independence Air's growth.

It's too soon to gauge the impact on US Airways' operations in Washington, US Airways marketing chief Ben Baldanza told analysts last week.

New Arrival

Independence Air will fly eight daily flights between Charlotte/Douglas and Washington's Dulles International Airport.

Starts: Oct. 1.

Charlotte departures: 6:20 a.m. to 8:45 p.m.

Dulles departures: 6:20 a.m. to 8:50 p.m.

Key cities with connections at Dulles: Cleveland; Chicago; Boston; Buffalo, N.Y.; Dayton, Ohio; Newark, N.J.; New York; Portland, Maine.

One-way fares: To Dulles, $59 to $122. To other cities, $79 to $199.

Introductory fares: To Dulles, $29; Other cities, $69. (book by Aug. 15, fly Oct. 1 through Dec. 19).

Booking: or (800) 359-3594. Tickets will be available after today's announcement.

Charlotte hiring: About 15 to 20 baggage handlers, customer service agents and ramp service workers.

Source: Independence Air
CLTTPA said:
Hopefully US can hold its own.
What always amazes me is how nature works: Take this LCC’s natural instincts, they can smell blood and death half a continent away and like pesky insects come to feed off the remains. Yep the new business plan is sure working, for all the other airlines picking up where U drops the ball that is. Yep that will work, sure will.

Same thing is occurring at Pit. Must be the nasty employees who refuse to give more making these actions necessary.

I Love It. It’s like watching characters right out of the funny farm perform.
Maybe I am full of wind and things will be fine afterall. :lol:

ARLINGTON, Va., Aug 2, 2004 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ -- US Airways will expand its Caribbean and Latin America network on Feb. 12, 2005, with new service to Liberia, Costa Rica from Charlotte, N.C., and new nonstop Charlotte-Barbados service. In addition, US Airways will increase nonstop Boston-Aruba service in November 2004, and add a second nonstop Saturday flight between Charlotte and St. Thomas in December 2004.

Subject to foreign government approval, new Charlotte-Liberia service will operate each Saturday using 120-seat Airbus A319 aircraft. Liberia is one of the fastest-growing destinations in Central America, offering customers convenient access to the north Pacific beach communities and many ecotourism attractions. Flights will depart Charlotte at 10:30 a.m., and will arrive in Liberia at 1:40 p.m. Return flights will depart Liberia at 1:15 p.m., and will arrive in Charlotte at 6:15 p.m.

"The addition of Liberia to our Caribbean and Latin America network and the expansion of service to existing destinations underline our growth strategy in this region over the past four years," said Andrew P. Nocella, US Airways vice president of network and revenue management. "We now offer nonstop service to three times the number of destinations in the region as we did in 2000, and we look forward to continued expansion in the future, as contemplated in our Transformation Plan."

New nonstop service between Charlotte and Barbados will begin on Feb. 12, 2005, and will operate each Saturday using Airbus A319 aircraft, subject to foreign government approval. US Airways currently operates nonstop service to Barbados from Philadelphia.

Additionally, on Nov. 7, 2004, US Airways will expand its Boston-Aruba service, adding nonstop roundtrip flights each Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, using Airbus A319 aircraft. This service is also subject to foreign government approval. US Airways currently operates Boston-Aruba service on Saturday only. From Boston, US Airways operates service to Aruba, Bermuda, Cancun, Nassau, Montego Bay and San Juan.

Beginning Dec. 11, 2004, US Airways will add a second Saturday nonstop roundtrip flight between Charlotte and St. Thomas, using 193-seat Boeing 757 aircraft. US Airways operates nonstop service to 18 Caribbean and Latin American destinations from Charlotte.

US Airways, the US Airways Express carriers and US Airways Shuttle provide service to nearly 200 destinations worldwide, including 37 states in the U.S. and 10 destinations in Europe. In the Caribbean and Latin America, US Airways serves Antigua, Aruba, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Cancun, Cozumel, Grand Bahama Island, Grand Cayman, Grenada, La Romana, Mexico City, Montego Bay, Nassau, Providenciales, Punta Cana, San Jose, San Juan, Santo Domingo, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, St. Thomas, St. Maarten, and St. Croix. For more information on US Airways flight schedules and fares, visit US Airways online at

US Airways is a member of the Star Alliance network. Star Alliance was established in 1997 as the first truly global airline alliance to offer customers global reach and a smooth travel experience. The members are Air Canada, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, bmi, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Spanair, Thai Airways International, United, US Airways and VARIG Brazilian Airlines. South African Airways and TAP Air Portugal will join the alliance in 2005.

I understand that Lehman Brothers or Merrill Lynch (can't remember which one) did an analysis of Load Factors (albeit a narrow one), and found Indy Air with something like a 27% LF. Has anyone seen an accurate number. I find that hard to believe if they are running that low with CRJs that they can hold out very long financially.
I say somewhere that the LF was something like 40% the first week (IIRC). Considering that the tie-in with UAL was uncertain until something like April or May, they had little time for advance bookings for the summer. Lots of the leisure market had already made their travel plans by the time IAir knew for certain that they would go the independant route.

I heard independence's load factor isn't breaking 50%. Also, their stock has dropped 50% over the last few months. ACA always had a high CASM when they operated for United. What have they done to change their operation to make it more efficient? Nothing. Also, ACA now has to pay for a reservations system and marketing. Both of which used to be paid for by United.

They do have a cute new paint job and they claim to be an LCC. The media will write all sorts of optimistic things about them for a few months. A year from now when they are in Chapter 11 they'll be lucky to make it onto the back page of the business section.
Bluestreak said:
ACA always had a high CASM when they operated for United. What have they done to change their operation to make it more efficient? Nothing. Also, ACA now has to pay for a reservations system and marketing. Both of which used to be paid for by United.
Their CASM last quarter was 22.0 cents. :shock:

And you thought US had a high CASM.