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New PEOPLExpress Airlines to Start Service

image A new PEOPLExpress Airlines will take to the skies in 2012.  At a press conference  at the Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport (PHF) in Newport News, Virginia, the low-cost carrier announced it plans to begin service this coming summer. With a mission to serve markets currently underserved by major carriers, PEOPLExpress will offer deeply discounted fares to select cities in the eastern U.S. beginning with its base of operations at PHF. The arrival of the new carrier will also bring with it a significant number of jobs to the Hampton Roads area.

The new airline proposes to fly to Newark International Airport, as well as Pittsburgh, Providence, R.I., and West Palm Beach, Fla., and eventually other locations.

Starting with four aircraft, operations could begin as early as mid-July, Mike Morisi, the company’s chief operating officer, said Monday.

Lured by tickets selling for 40 percent below current market prices, the new PeoplExpress hopes to draw passengers from the Peninsula, the Richmond region, Hampton Roads and northeastern North Carolina, Morisi said.

"People will get in the car to drive to get those kinds of fares," Morisi said.

The company intends to offer $69 fares to start, he said, "and no bag fees.

The legacy namesake of the new PEOPLExpress operated in the United States from 1981 to 1987, and was at one time the fifth largest domestic airline with flights to most major U.S. cities, as well as select European destinations. The original PEOPLExpress changed the face of the airline industry in the 1980s, and the revived brand vows to re-ignite the brand’s unique spirit of innovation to address today’s market needs.

Mike Morisi, Chief Operating Officer and one of the champions of the rebirthed PEOPLExpress commented, “With the recent decline in airline service due to mergers and consolidations, we have all had to travel farther out of our way to get anywhere. Flights are more expensive and the many ancillary fees make flying a hassle. Our goal is to make flying fun again. We will eliminate most fees for items such as checked bags and seat assignments aboard our fleet of Boeing 737-400 aircraft. Passengers will be seated in a single cabin with 158 seats with a pricing structure that is significantly more affordable than regional service provided by feeder airlines.”

Steve Mallon, Chairman of the Peninsula Airport Commission said, “We are excited to have an opportunity to work with PEOPLExpress as they launch new air service into the industry. PEOPLExpress’s model for great customer service and low fares should be a hit with our community.”

Hampton Roads residents will have access to affordable, non-stop service, but they are not the only beneficiaries. With a short drive to popular destinations like Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Williamsburg and the Outer Banks of North Carolina from the PHF, PEOPLExpress service will be a convenient, low-cost option for in-bound business, military, and leisure travelers. This same low-cost service will be offered to other cities, such as Pittsburgh, PA, Providence, RI, West Palm Beach, FL and Newark, NJ, where airline consolidation over the past few years has led to a reduction of non-stop air service.

The arrival of the PEOPLExpress at the Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport also means a boost for the local economy in job creation. Newport News will serve as a base for pilots, ground and inflight customer service personnel, mechanics, reservationists, operations personnel, and administrative staff. In addition, the presence of PEOPLExpress will also stimulate an equal or greater number of jobs in support industries such as hotels, rental cars, restaurants, tourism attractions, housing, and corporate relocations for the region. PEOPLExpress has leased 15,000 square feet of space in the old terminal building at the Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport for their corporate headquarters.

For additional information about PEOPLExpress, please visit our website at www.flypex.com

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