AirwaysDC9
Posts: 199
Joined: Tue May 25, 1999 11:30 am

Potomac Air To Begin Operations Tomorrow

Fri Jan 05, 2001 5:52 am

US Airways Express Carrier Potomac Air to Begin Service

ARLINGTON, Va., Jan. 4 -- US Airways Express carrier Potomac Air will begin service on Jan. 5, 2001, between Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Charleston, W. Va., Greensboro, N.C., and White Plains, N.Y., using 37-seat Dash 8-200 aircraft.

In the near future, Potomac's Dash-8 fleet will grow to eight aircraft, with service from Washington to Allentown, Pa.; Charlotte, N.C.; Greenville- Spartanburg, S.C.; Knoxville, Tenn.; Greenbrier/Lewisburg, W.Va.; Morgantown, W.Va.; Norfolk, Va.; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; and Roanoke, Va., with continuing service to Clarksburg, W. Va., and Richmond, Va.

Potomac Air was created to establish a Washington area-based airline that will become DC Air, subject to government approval of the merger between US Airways and United Airlines.

"Potomac Air establishes a solid foundation to ensure our customers a seamless transition to DC Air. It is staffed by highly trained and experienced professionals, committed to quality customer service," said Rakesh Gangwal, US Airways president and chief executive officer. "We commend our employees for their commitment and superb efforts in the launch of Potomac Air."

Potomac Air's maintenance and operations base is headquartered in Roanoke. Long-time regional airline executive John Leonard is serving as the company's president. Potomac Air currently has 120 employees located in Roanoke.


 
jeb
Posts: 94
Joined: Sun Oct 28, 2007 1:34 am

RE: Potomac Air To Begin Operations Tomorrow

Fri Jan 05, 2001 6:03 am

Yeah, I am flying to Washington later this month. I booked my flight on USAirways.com, and got an email telling me that my flight was changed to a Potomac Air Flight. What can I expect, service...Is the aircraft brand new?

Jeb!
 
DCA-ROCguy
Posts: 3890
Joined: Fri Apr 21, 2000 5:03 am

RE: Potomac Air To Begin Operations Tomorrow

Fri Jan 05, 2001 6:13 am

AirwaysDC9, how will Potomac Air phase in the jets that UA and US are promising for larger DC Air routes? The press release only indicates a Piedmont contribution of some DH8's. If Potomac is to be ready to "seamlessly" become DCAir in April, wouldn't it need the CRJ's and 732's promised by UA-US on board before a merger consummation?

Will UA move the 732's in on lease or contract basis to Potomac Air, and Mesa the the CRJ's? Or is another arrangement under consideration? In any event, it would be very helpful to travelers to see what the entire 732/ CRJ/ DH8 airline would look like before a merger consummation. That way, we can see if DC Air really can meet UA and US's promises that it will serve all 43 communities, and serve them without substantial drops in seat capacity.

Jim
Need a new airline paint scheme? Better call Saul! (Bass that is)
 
AirwaysDC9
Posts: 199
Joined: Tue May 25, 1999 11:30 am

RE: Potomac Air To Begin Operations Tomorrow

Fri Jan 05, 2001 6:52 am

Jim,
What do you care? According to every post that you have written on this website the merger is dead in the water. If that is the case then Potomac Air is simply another US Airways Express carrier - a wholly owned subsidiary of US Airways group.

If you're right - and you seem to believe that you are - then your question is irrelevent.

By the way, if you've been following the news, the Washington Post reported that shortly after the new year Bob Johnson would announce which major airline would partner with DC-Air (49% stake). They went on to report that it would be THAT airline (most likely American or Delta) which would provide wet lease crews, airplanes, etc to fully staff the new DC-Air. It would have nothing to do with United, thereby solving the DOJ's concerns with that small area of the transaction. I can look for that article if you dont have it. But, I'm sure it doesnt matter to you since the merger will never happen.
 
AirwaysDC9
Posts: 199
Joined: Tue May 25, 1999 11:30 am

RE: Potomac Air To Begin Operations Tomorrow

Fri Jan 05, 2001 6:57 am

Found it!

The following is from the Washinton Post staff writer Frank Swoboda, dated December 25, 2000. The article is entitled, "BET's Johnson Sets Sights On Entirely New Businesses".
The following are just two short paragraphs from that article.

"Now Johnson is looking for a major airline to become a minority partner in his new enterprise with a promise that somewhere down the line, perhaps in the next three years, he might be willing to sell the access to National to his partner, assuming the price is right.

Both American and Delta airlines are vying for a minority stake in DC Air, perhaps as much as 49 percent. For the privilege, the winner will also lease jet aircraft and the crews that fly them to DC Air in what is known in the industry as "wet leasing."
 
DCA-ROCguy
Posts: 3890
Joined: Fri Apr 21, 2000 5:03 am

RE: Potomac Air To Begin Operations Tomorrow

Fri Jan 05, 2001 7:17 am

Few things in the world are utterly impossible so I'm willing to speculate on the very unlikely from time to time. It never hurts to be informed. :+) Besides, such speculation can make even clearer what a bad idea the unlikely is.

As I've written on other threads, Johnson's pursuit of a major-carrier suitor to buy a 49 percent interest shows that he clearly thinks the proposed airline can't fly, and that US and UA aren't selling him enough aircraft to fly the routes involved. By inviting a major aboard, he's not only getting access to more a/c. He's just making it easier for the lucky winner to take DCA slots from regional communities and put them on shuttle-type routes once DC Air is predatory-priced out of business, or the remaining 51 percent is bought outright.

And that still doesn't answer my original question which you deftly avoided: how would US and UA make sure that sure that DC Air was ready to "seamlessly" assume DCA operations from US? Would all 43 of those communities have the seat capacity they have today, on day one of DC Air taking flight? Or would they have to wait for a/c from AA or whoever buys into DC Air, whenever that is? And would such hypothetical a/c be used to serve the 43 communities, or add shuttle seats?

Jim
Need a new airline paint scheme? Better call Saul! (Bass that is)
 
AirwaysDC9
Posts: 199
Joined: Tue May 25, 1999 11:30 am

RE: Potomac Air To Begin Operations Tomorrow

Fri Jan 05, 2001 10:13 am

Jim,

Gangwal@usairways.com

 
AirwaysDC9
Posts: 199
Joined: Tue May 25, 1999 11:30 am

RE: Potomac Air To Begin Operations Tomorrow

Fri Jan 05, 2001 10:29 am

I guess that wasnt very polite.
My apologies Jim. What I meant by that terse reply is, simply, that I dont have any more information than you do. The only ones that know for sure are Wolf, Gangwal, and Goodwin. Like you, I only know what is printed in the newspaper, or what my company or my union tell me.
Here's the latest...take from it what you will. I still, however, dont know why you are concerned - you seem quite positive that the planned merger will fail. If so, none of this is your concern. If our merger fails its up to US Airways employees and management to turn our airline around---or go bankrupt trying.
------------------------------------------------------

US Air to launch regional line ahead of planned merger
ARLINGTON, Va., Jan 4

- US Airways Group Inc. said on Thursday a new unit, Potomac Air, was ready to begin service as a regional carrier that will be spun off at the same time as US Airways' planned sale to United Airlines in an attempt to satisfy regulators.

Potomac Air will inaugurate flights Friday from Ronald Reagan National Airport in Washington to Charleston, W.Va, Greensboro, N.C., and White Plains, N.Y., using 37-seat turboprop aircraft.

Potomac will eventually fly from Washington to more than 40 destinations in the eastern United States, and will be sold to Robert Johnson, a US Airways board member and founder of Black Entertainment Television. It will be renamed DC Air upon its sale to Johnson.

US Air and United's parent, UAL Corp. (NYSE:UAL - news), came up with the DC Air plan to avoid potential antitrust problems. Their $4.3 billion merger will join No. 6 U.S. airline US Airways with the world's largest carrier.

The two airlines recently agreed with federal regulators to extend an antitrust review to April from a previous deadline of January, a move some analysts viewed as a signal of potential problems.

Johnson has said he is considering bringing in another airline as a partner in DC Air. Delta Air Lines Inc. (NYSE:DAL - news), AMR Corp.'s (NYSE:AMR - news) American Airlines, and Continental Airlines Inc. (NYSE:CAL - news) are all seen as interested parties.

The creation of Potomac Air will ensure seamless service to customers when the assets are transferred to Johnson, US Airways spokesman Rick Weintraub said.

Creating Potomac Air, with its own federal certification, will allow it to create the infrastructure necessary to run an independent airline, including gate agents, route planners and dispatchers, and maintenance and pilot training programs.

It is intended that DC Air will ultimately acquire jet leases for some of its routes. Under the original plan, United would have supplied those leases, but that could change if another airline takes a stake in the venture.



 
Guest

RE: Potomac Air To Begin Operations Tomorrow

Fri Jan 05, 2001 11:19 am

I'm curious- what are the 43 cities "DCAir" will be serving, assuming the US/UA merger goes through? I haven't seen this in a post...
 
jderden777
Posts: 1677
Joined: Fri Jan 21, 2000 9:56 am

RE: Potomac Air To Begin Operations Tomorrow

Fri Jan 05, 2001 11:35 am

wish they would fly dash 8s to TRI...right between TYS and ROA 2 hrs each way..i think they should fly here..yes i do want any additional service that we can get, but it would seem practical...traffic is growing fast at TRI and we definitely need more airlines to see the demand for more air service here in the Tri-Cities Region...we got a break when northwest airlink (express one) started service to MEM using saab 340s. i hope this eventually leads to the Avro RJs...but anyway i would like to see potomac air, or DCAir fly into TRI from DCA...i know I would take this flight anytime i could!!! i've always wished for a direct flight to the DC area, and we had one by Commutair to IAD with a B1900, and that did well but fares were high...oh well...guess i'll have to go to TYS or ROA to get to DC... 
"my soul is in the sky" - shakespeare
 
DCA-ROCguy
Posts: 3890
Joined: Fri Apr 21, 2000 5:03 am

RE: Potomac Air To Begin Operations Tomorrow

Fri Jan 05, 2001 2:32 pm

Apology accepted, AirwaysDC9, no problem. Objectively the structure of DC Air is indeed not really my concern, as you and Flashmeister have noted, since I am convinced the merger will fail. However, news about US Airways--the airline whose seats I've warmed more than any other's, and about which I read more than any other, generally fascinates me. Even if it's about possibilities I think very unlikely.

Jim
Need a new airline paint scheme? Better call Saul! (Bass that is)

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