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"FlyI: Dumbest Airline In American History "  
User currently offlineXkorpyoh From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 819 posts, RR: 0
Posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 12417 times:

A friend sent me a newsletter writting (without the authors name) about FlyI. Pretty much what we know, but summarized. Here are some parts of the article (Sorry,no web link attched to the email)
____________________________________________
"Library of Dumb Dead Airlines--Joe's Newsletter

I went to the Library to refresh my memory on some of the dumb ideas that have made it aloft over the years. There was Western Pacific, which thought it could survive by selling its fuselages as flying billboards. There was Branson, which only flew to the Missouri resort town. Freedom Air wanted to be the airline for in-flight smokers. There was SkyTrain and Jet Train and Jet World and Sunworld. Airlines started by travel agents (Tahoe and Ultrair) and carriers launched by displaced pilots (Pride and Kiwi). There was a conga line of carriers named National, Midway, Braniff, Eastern and Pan Am, each one predicated on the theory that adopting the brand of an already-failed airline was the key to success. There was an airline founded using old Japanese prop planes (MidPacific) and one or two named after an old widebody jet (TriStar). There were sybaritic luxury airlines (Regal, McClain, MGM Grand), misbegotten discounters (Leisure Air, Eastwind, Air South) and even an eponymous carrier started by a disgruntled founder of Southwest (Muse). But Independence Air beats all of the crashed-and-burned carriers in the Library of Dumb Dead Airlines. It is, in fact, the Dumbest Airline in American History.

In slightly less than 18 months, Independence has gone from profitable regional carrier to failed start-up. It has blown a huge horde of cash and destroyed a company that just three years ago this week was selling north of $15 a share. It has flown the wrong planes to the wrong places with the wrong schedules at the wrong prices. It has failed in big cities and small towns. Failed flying North to South and East to West. Failed flying big, new jets and small, old ones. And it did it all while defying the first-guessers who judiciously warned that Independence's business plan, such as it was, could never fly. Independence Air isn't dead yet--it hopes to keep flying during the higher-cash-flow holiday period and its bankruptcy filing envisions a court-supervised auction of assets in 60 days--but it will go to the head of the Dumb Dead Airline list the moment its final flight touches down at its Washington/Dulles hub. Because Independence Air was created with the dumbest aviation concept of all time: We got planes. We got gates. What the hell…"
__________________________________________________

"....The market understood what everyone except Atlantic Coast's management understood: Flyi had no passenger base of its own. It had no identity. Hubbing at delay-plagued Dulles was risky because United was not about to abandon its hub, US Airways was still a large player in Washington and JetBlue Airways was building capacity there. The decision to restrict ticket sales cut out travel agents, third-party Web sites and the big computerized reservation systems. Worse, RJs were impossibly inefficient and expensive to operate in the manner that Independence was proposing. Most estimates peg the RJ disadvantage at 30 percent per seat mile compared to the larger jets preferred by traditional discount airlines. Launching a low-fare airline with high-cost planes was beyond hubris. It was fiscal insanity.
___________________________________________________
"...For all intents and purposes, Independence Air was dead on the day it launched, June 16, 2004. At its frenzied height, it operated 600 flights a day and flew to 46 cities. It blackened the Eastern skies with suicidally large schedules to places like Huntsville, Alabama; Lansing, Michigan; Charleston (West Virginia and South Carolina); Albany, Buffalo, Syracuse and Rochester, New York; Cleveland, Columbus and Dayton, Ohio; and airports throughout the Carolinas, the Border States and Florida. Fares plummeted to as low as $29 one-way thanks to endless fare sales, yet Independence Air had months when it was filling fewer than 50 percent of its 50-seat aircraft. By the end of last year, Independence was hemorrhaging cash and gyrating like a top: It began selling seats through all the normal channels, fiddled with schedules, lopped cities off the route map, reworked fares and mortgaged what future it still had.
______________________________________________
"....When the Airbus A319s began arriving last November, there were no seatback television monitors (Independence had promised in-flight TV service, but then couldn't afford to equip the planes) and nowhere to fly the planes. First they flew to Tampa and Orlando, markets already saturated with low-fare seats. In March, Independence launched a desperate West Coast expansion: Airbus flights to Los Angeles, San Diego, Las Vegas, San Jose, Seattle and San Francisco. The problem with going West? Transcon routes were also saturated with low-fare seats. Independence's coast-to-coast fares dropped to $69 one-way. The transcon routes were dumped even before Independence trooped to the bankruptcy court on Monday.

Over these past 18 months, whenever observers would criticize Independence Air's basic concept and its day-to-day execution, an E-mail would come from someone in the airline's management. The gist of the defense: We had all these planes. What else could we do?. ........What could Atlantic Coast have done? Swallowed its corporate pride and cut the best deal possible with United. Or pursued commuter-jet flying with other airlines. Or even liquidate when it severed its relationship with United. Liquidation last year would have guaranteed Atlantic Coast shareholders a nice little payout. Now they'll be wiped out in the bankruptcy.
__________________________________
"...creating a dumb airline like Independence Air has helped no one. Not the small cities that were seduced into supporting Independence by the chimera of unsustainable low fares. Not Atlantic Coast's employees, who accepted huge concessions to help launch Independence, took more concessions this week to keep it flying and will soon lose their jobs anyway. Not the million members of Independence's iClub frequent-flyer program, which will almost surely disappear without a trace. And certainly not business travelers at large, who knew a hopeless airline concept when they flew one.
In other words, Independence Air's place as the Dumbest Airline in American History is now secure"
__________________________________________________
*********************************************
My comments: I have not flown DH yet, but at least i like their image/design. I wonder if their concept (with less frequencies and more carefully picked marketS) would have worked better with E175/E190 instead. I know they own all the CRJs,but probablly the Airbus was too big and the CRJs too small, leaving then the E planes as a better choice for such a frequent service to secondary markets with 1 hub.

30 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineFriendlySkies From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 4105 posts, RR: 5
Reply 1, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 12150 times:

I think I'd have to agree with him...I particularly liked the line "It has flown the wrong planes to the wrong places with the wrong schedules at the wrong prices."

User currently offlineCRJ900 From Norway, joined Jun 2004, 2172 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 12050 times:
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Well, at least they tried... isn't that what the American Dream is all about - reaching for what seems impossible? Sometimes you reach it, sometimes you don't...

Besides, they're not dead yet, are they?



Come, fly the prevailing winds with me
User currently offlineN766UA From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 8193 posts, RR: 24
Reply 3, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 11963 times:

I'd say about 95% of that article is indisputable fact. Having flown DH, I know for a fact their IAD hub is a ridiculous operation. IAD alone is enough to kill them. They have great flight crews, fantastic onboard service... but unfortunately that's offset greatly by their terrible (and I mean TERRIBLE) ground service and their delay-plagued IAD hub (especially last summer, that airport had a ground stop almost every day.) With a better business plan they could have survived, especially with their in-flight and reservations staff, but man IAD really helped screw them over. One storm and everything goes to hell, not in the least helped by the fact that they have only 4 clueless agents for an entire concourse of flights.


This Website Censors Me
User currently offlineGigneil From United States of America, joined Nov 2002, 16347 posts, RR: 85
Reply 4, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 11905 times:

Hear hear.

N


filler


User currently offlineCrjflyer35 From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 668 posts, RR: 2
Reply 5, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 11814 times:

Quoting Xkorpyoh (Thread starter):
We got planes. We got gates. What the hell…"

That's classic....



Ok, wait for the RJ to pass, cleared to push tail south Mike, and you're cleared to spin #2 in the push.
User currently offlineDesertJets From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 7760 posts, RR: 16
Reply 6, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 11795 times:

Go back 18-24 months in the a.net archives, and you would have seen the exact same comments.

The FlyI product was pretty nice, with flashy interiors and generally nice and friendly in-flight staff. But I can only add to the course that their ground ops at IAD are a nightmare. Returning to Syracuse after the 4th of July in 2004, a rash of storms up and down the eastern seaboard had the limited number of flights they had then delayed at least an hour. Nobody on the concourse really knew what was going on, or was able to communicate any info that they had to the pax. Which should not come as a surprise as this was the exact same way of operating when they flew as UAX. That is, it was usually FUBARed when the weather turned south back in the day.



Stop drop and roll will not save you in hell. --- seen on a church marque in rural Virginia
User currently offlineJetjack74 From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 7405 posts, RR: 50
Reply 7, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 11774 times:
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Quoting Xkorpyoh (Thread starter):
My comments: I have not flown DH yet, but at least i like their image/design. I wonder if their concept (with less frequencies and more carefully picked marketS) would have worked better with E175/E190 instead. I know they own all the CRJs,but probablly the Airbus was too big and the CRJs too small, leaving then the E planes as a better choice for such a frequent service to secondary markets with 1 hub.

I don't think it would've worked either way. The cost's were too high. It had a mound of cash, but that quickly disapates when source stops. This is a bad era to start a LCC start-up, they started with 2 many routes and too many airplanes. They're monetary capital stopped whey they started. They needed to kee the cash coming when they needed it the most. One of the reasons B6 was successful was because they had more favourable economy and investers like financier George Soros behind them.



Made from jets!
User currently offlineRage323machine From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 80 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 11656 times:

"We got planes. We got gates. What the hell…""
"We got planes. We got gates. What the hell…""
"We got planes. We got gates. What the hell…""

Thats funny I had to write it 3 times!!

DH you keep on fighting!!!


Rage323machine


User currently offlineNkops From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 2660 posts, RR: 6
Reply 9, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 11551 times:

Quoting Xkorpyoh (Thread starter):
I know they own all the CRJs

Actually, I believe one of the big things holding them back is they don't own the CRJ's, they are all leased... if they owned them they could return them and be done with them, since they are leased, they cannot return them as the price would be too much to handle.. (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, but that's how I understood this in the last thread)



I have no association with Spirit Airlines
User currently offlineDLPMMM From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 3589 posts, RR: 10
Reply 10, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 11441 times:

After looking at their financials last week, they pretty much own nothing. All their planes (both CRJs and 319s) are leased, and so I would expect that most will be returned under Chapter 11, then the rest under Chapter 7.

I flew them once 2 months ago. Decent service, but I hate RJs. The price was too low to resist for a non-stop.

Clearly a case of poor management decisions. They wanted to be the next Jet Blue, but didn't have a clue. (Now I'm a poet!!)


User currently offlineLawnDart From United States of America, joined May 2005, 970 posts, RR: 3
Reply 11, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 11237 times:

Quoting Nkops (Reply 9):
Actually, I believe one of the big things holding them back is they don't own the CRJ's, they are all leased... if they owned them they could return them and be done with them, since they are leased, they cannot return them as the price would be too much to handle.. (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, but that's how I understood this in the last thread)

Owning the CRJs would not necessarily allow them to "return them and be done with them".

Here's an analogy...I bought a car, and I got a loan from the bank to pay for it. I "own" the car, but I owe the bank...

I no longer want the car. It's expensive, or too small...whatever. To whom do I return it? The car dealer? Fat chance. The bank? Again, fat chance...I have to find someone willing to buy it from me. Okay - let's give it a shot.

First, let's get back to Bombardier CRJs...IAir wants to get rid of a plane that Bombardier will no longer produce...and that no one else wants...in fact, many carriers are looking for ways to get rid of their own CRJs...so, to whom am I going to sell my CRJs? The bank still expects to get paid, and the amount I owe is probably more than what the CRJ is now worth, with little demand and an increasing supply of used ones hitting the market depressing the price that I might (long shot) get if I do find a buyer.

This basic concept also applies to leased aircraft...I lease a car, don't like it and try to return it...where do you thing the lessor is going to tell me to go.

So, what is IAir to do? Chapter 11...unfortunately for IAir, CH11 works for companies that have a viable business plan and creditors are willing to extend additional funds in the hope that profits can be made in the future. I find it very difficult to see where IAir is going to make those profits, using the most expensive aircraft out there (per ASM), up against formidable competition...UA which has reduced their costs through CH11 and has international feed, and both JetBlue and AirTran, which are adding capacity out of IAD to the most popular destinations.

The above article sums IAir's problems very nicely by pointing out the managerial "hubris" that is the root of IAir's problems. As the author states, they should have...

Quoting Xkorpyoh (Thread starter):
Swallowed its corporate pride and cut the best deal possible with United.


User currently offlineSwisskloten From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 10955 times:

Quoting Xkorpyoh (Thread starter):
We got planes. We got gates. What the hell…"

ROTFL!!! You better get that quote copyrighted fast!


User currently offlineATCRick From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 772 posts, RR: 12
Reply 13, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 10849 times:
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Alright,

ENOUGH is ENOUGH. Let me tell you what I know. The initial deal was that both United and Delta were going to have to pay the payments for the airplanes for a specified time period. But when it came down to it they couldn't do it because they were in BK. So, Indy was paying a whole lot more than they anticipated. Was it a good business plan? No. But Kerry Skeen and his team kept the company from folding in 1994 when it was close.



natch!!
User currently offlineSwmdal From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 36 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 10811 times:

Don't forget that they are also competing at least indirectly with Southwest out of BWI on many of their routes. Lots of people around here (Northern Virginia) are willing to ignore nearby IAD and brave the Capitol Beltway to get to BWI to take advantage of WN's fares and reliability. You can even ride a direct train from DC to BWI, something impossible to do at IAD. The prospects for a startup carrier flying RJs being able to compete successfully with WN are pretty much nil.

User currently offlineN908AW From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 922 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 10751 times:

Quoting ATCRick (Reply 13):
Alright,

ENOUGH is ENOUGH. Let me tell you what I know. The initial deal was that both United and Delta were going to have to pay the payments for the airplanes for a specified time period. But when it came down to it they couldn't do it because they were in BK. So, Indy was paying a whole lot more than they anticipated. Was it a good business plan? No. But Kerry Skeen and his team kept the company from folding in 1994 when it was close.

Maybe that's why they had to become the most invested-in carrier ever.



'Cause you're on ATA again, and on ATA, you're on vacation!
User currently offlineKohflot From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 10713 times:

Since we're talking "shoulda, woulda, coulda"...

Perhaps these would have been viable options for ACA:

1) Might they have moved to the new US Airways rather than Air Wisconsin? They would have had a chunk of change to invest like ZW did...

2) If part of a new deal with United or Delta included 70-seaters, might they have been purchased by SkyWest rather than ASA?

3) Allowed the Mesa deal to go through. As unpleasant as it seemed at the time, what was a better deal for shareholders? As for the employees, most of them would likely still have jobs at this point...

4) If they would have worked with new contracts with United and Delta and continued to aggresively seek growth within those programs, how much cash would they be sitting on right now? Probably enough to look at an airline like Spirit, Allegiant, or any of the other growing carriers that would have come with a name and a niche...

Hindsight is 20-20, but we all knew that a shakeup among regionals was bound to happen. I just get the feeling that things might have been a lot better for ACA had they played an aggressive role in that shakeup, rather than excusing themselves from it altogether.


User currently offlineCadet57 From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 9085 posts, RR: 31
Reply 17, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 10596 times:

Quoting Rage323machine (Reply 8):
DH you keep on fighting!!!

Hear Hear

This all being said you launch a LCC today with the wrong fleet type: crj's and make that the main plane of your op, your gonna have problems. I think part of the whole problem here is that no airline expected the price of fuel to rise as much as it did before and after hurricane katrina. Of corse we all knew it would jump but not to 3, 5 and even 6 and 7 bucks a gallon. And when you have a crj that can fart and use more gas then my car in a day, your sadly screwed. I agree that the e-175/190 would prob be a better fit, but at the time of the lauch, correct me if im wong, the 170's were hard to come by, and still are, and the 190, wasent even an option yet. So maybe get a 135/145 and try and fill those, and maybe not fly to every regional airport on the east coast. Great idea, but way too fast.

I have not had the chance to fly DH, but I think i may, as i have herd that it is a great flight but obviously bad ground ops, but hey you cant always have your cake and eat it too right? But at this point i wish DH the best of luck and hope they can pull up, so to speek, from this nosedive of theirs.


Cheers,
Justin



Doors open, right hand side, next stop is Springfield.
User currently offlineAccess-Air From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1939 posts, RR: 13
Reply 18, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 9535 times:

Maybe they should have dumped to CRJs so they could take a few of Northwest's DC9s off their hands....LOL...I couldnt resist...

Access-Air



Remember, Wherever you go, there you are!!!!
User currently offlineRiddlePilot215 From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 318 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 9255 times:
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Quoting CRJ900 (Reply 2):
Well, at least they tried... isn't that what the American Dream is all about - reaching for what seems impossible? Sometimes you reach it, sometimes you don't...

Besides, they're not dead yet, are they?

However the point my Noreweigen friend IS to make money. Not bleed it profusely.



God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good.
User currently offlineWarszawa From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 727 posts, RR: 6
Reply 20, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 8212 times:

Is there a reason why almost everyone speaks in past tense? The airline is, in fact, still around...unless I missed something.


Flying a plane is no diff. from riding a bicycle. Its just a lot harder to put baseball cards in the spokes. -'Airplane'
User currently offlineVorticity From United States of America, joined May 2004, 337 posts, RR: 5
Reply 21, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 8186 times:

Quoting CRJ900 (Reply 2):
Well, at least they tried... isn't that what the American Dream is all about - reaching for what seems impossible? Sometimes you reach it, sometimes you don't...

Besides, they're not dead yet, are they?

Reaching for what seems impossible is part of the American Dream. Sadly though, many dreams come crashing down. Some dreams are crushed by unfortunate circumstances, others are flawed in concept. The problem is the perception of possibility. You reach into what others thought was impossible, but sadly sometimes the others were right.

I will not reqoice in their downfall, but I cannot say I'm surprised. Personally I agree with the article, from day one it seemed doom for failure. This time I was right, dumb luck on my part.



Thermodynamics and english units don't mix...
User currently offlineUA772IAD From Australia, joined Jul 2004, 1730 posts, RR: 3
Reply 22, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 7301 times:

I agree! Thank you for making my evening!
I do have to say though, they have some great people working for them. There idea, as many are, was great in concept, but just not in reality. Hopefully UAX will re-absorb those dedicated employees, and the managment team will learn a valuable lesson, and get back to working, and doing they're thing.


User currently offlineA330323X From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 3039 posts, RR: 44
Reply 23, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days ago) and read 7267 times:

Quoting Nkops (Reply 9):
Actually, I believe one of the big things holding them back is they don't own the CRJ's, they are all leased... if they owned them they could return them and be done with them, since they are leased, they cannot return them as the price would be too much to handle.. (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, but that's how I understood this in the last thread)



Quoting LawnDart (Reply 11):
Owning the CRJs would not necessarily allow them to "return them and be done with them".

Here's an analogy...I bought a car, and I got a loan from the bank to pay for it. I "own" the car, but I owe the bank...

I no longer want the car. It's expensive, or too small...whatever. To whom do I return it? The car dealer? Fat chance. The bank? Again, fat chance...I have to find someone willing to buy it from me. Okay - let's give it a shot.

They couldn't just walk away from planes, owned or leased, while they were still operating out of bankruptcy. Had they just defaulted on a lease or a mortgage, it wouldn't have just allowed the lessor or mortgagor to repossess that particular plane, it would have triggered a raft of cross-defaults and they'd have been forced into involuntary bankruptcy. (They did have a number of lessors that allowed them to return some planes, but that was totally voluntary on the lessors part.)

Now that they're in bankruptcy, they can get rid of both, and they in fact already filed to dump a number of leased planes, and to walk away from several owned planes where it's no longer worth paying the mortgages. I detailed the numbers and posted a link to the specific planes on the initial thread for the Chapter 11 filing.

Unfortunately, it's not going to be enough to save them.



I'm the expert on here on two things, neither of which I care about much anymore.
User currently offlineSevenair From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2001, 1728 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 6988 times:

Quoting CRJ900 (Reply 2):
Well, at least they tried... isn't that what the American Dream is all about - reaching for what seems impossible? Sometimes you reach it, sometimes you don't...

yeah, and if it goes wrong; who cares-the govt. will carry us should we run out of money!


25 Post contains images CRJ900 : Hmm... I think some took my earlier post as sarcastic, but I wasn't. I too was doubtful about FlyI's possibilities of being successful, but found it i
26 RiddlePilot215 : Not really. The gov't actually LOATHED dishing out all that cash in loans post-9/11. The only reason why they did was because the air network in this
27 DAYflyer : Didn't it take Edison 200 tries at the lightbulb before he got it right?
28 Post contains links AKelley728 : The article was written by that irascible travel columnist, Joe Brancatelli. The article is on his website at www.joesentme.com
29 B777A340Fan : Should DH go down the drain....would any other airline(s) care to take over their leased aircrafts?
30 Nkops : I would guess the 319's would go to somebody, but the CRJ's would probably end up in the desert or back to the lessors.
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