Skybus Will Try To Mimic Some Other Ultra-Low-Cost Carriers, Just Without The Whole Imploding Aspect

The first thing that comes to mind when reading about the super duper low cost, and low amenity, airlines service offered by Skybus, is Ryanair. They pioneered low-fare short-hauls in Europe, and also levied surcharges luggage, preferential seating and food. The second are People Express and Laker Airways, low-cost carriers that hit big, only to overextend themselves and dissolve. Skybus plans to hold out thanks to $160 million in startup kitty. The airline only has four planes right now, will get four more at the end of the year, and get 65 more delivered by 2012. Maybe by keeping an even keel on a more moderate growth strategy will spare Skybus the fate of its antecedents. — BEN POPKEN

A New Low-Fare Airline on a Web-Only Approach [NYT]
(Photo: Greg Sailor)

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  1. dbeahn says:

    Personally, I can’t imagine paying this little for a flight – seems like my part of the gas money would cost more than $10. Which makes me wonder how tightly they’re going to control costs. “Gee, Jimmy, normally we’d replace a turbine blade with a crack in it, but I think we can get another few trips outta this one…”

    No thanks!

  2. WindowSeat says:

    Brilliant name, as if air travel weren’t already devolving into a high altitude Greyhound Bus ride.

  3. I miss Independence Air

  4. Pelagius says:

    Actually, what comes immediately to my mind when “super lo-cost airline” is mentioned is a ValuJet DC-9 burning in a Florida swamp.

  5. castlecraver says:

    Its not rate of expansion, but two facts that will do them in:

    * After the $10 seats are gone, the fares look to be anywhere from $40-$100 per leg. Hardly “ultra low-cost.” Especially when

    * SWA offers plenty of

    “location, location, location!”

  6. Scott says:

    Ryan Air has truly amazing fares for travel in Europe. I was looking at a trip two summers ago and could have picked up tickets for $2.00 per leg plus the extra fees. If SkyBus comes anywhere close to those prices, it will be my new favorite airline.

  7. Tallanvor says:

    @Pelagius: Nah, remember, ValuJet merged with AirTran, and ditched their name even though ValuJet was the larger company. Today hardly anyone remembers they’re basically the same company.

    Honestly, RyanAir and EasyJet are still the airlines to compare Skybus against. Personally, I’m doing my best never to fly on them, but you never know when you’ll want to go somewhere and they’ll have a price that’s just so much lower that you’re willing to put up with everything else from them.

  8. pestie says:

    @Pelagius: Oh, come on – that ValuJet flight didn’t burn in the Everglades, it sank into the muck almost instantly! Remember how long it took them just to find the crash site? There was nothing left on the surface but a debris field of aluminum flakes a few inches on a side.

    Incidentally, I seem to recall that $160M is the cost of a single brand-new Boeing 747. Luckily for Skybus, the used airplane market is booming.

  9. Chairman-Meow says:

    Actually, with ValueJet, they outsourced all the maintenance to a 3rd party (and passed the savings to you!) which illegally labeled the Oxygen cannisters as empty when they were quite full. Rough handling caused them to discharge in-flight which, in turn caused the plane to become a smoking crater in the everglades.

    Go back to the days before the crash and listen to their CEO proclaim “we’re in it for the money!”

  10. fourmajor says:

    With all those advertisements, you can count me out.

    Actually, I think I might start taking Amtrak a lot more. Better for the environment and it will give me a lot of time to get some reading done.

  11. UASteph says:

    Did anyone notice that they only go to and from Columbia, OH? Hope you either live there or are going there, or you’re out of luck.

  12. FLConsumer says:

    Oh lovely, so it looks like we might be getting the sardine-can stand-up seats that Airbus claims they weren’t working on.

  13. gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

    Maybe by keeping an even keel on a more moderate growth strategy will spare Skybus the fate of its antecedents
    or not.