Cranky Flier covered this nicely yesterday, but since I keep reading stories about JetAmerica I wanted to make a quick note here as well.
JetAmerica is a public charter (flights are operated by Miami Air) that will fly a couple of times a week from Newark to Toledo, South Bend and Melbourne (FL). In August, they’ll launch highly anticipated (?) flights from Toledo to Minneapolis. The headlines are that one of the founders of SkyBus is the CEO, and that fares start at $9. Fares can start at -$9 and it still won’t stimulate the demand necessary for Newark-South Bend.
You’ll read the usual blah blah blah comparing this to Ryanair or Allegiant, but we should remember this: Ryanair and Allegiant aren’t successful because they have low fares or fly infrequently. They work because they chose the RIGHT cities, with the right frequencies with a cost and revenue structure that can support it. Allegiant flew primarily to and from Vegas to small cities a couple of times a week until they started branching out to other sun destinations. Why does this work? Because if you’re in Green Bay, you may just want to go somewhere warm for vacation and Allegiant offers nonstop flights. You can be flexible with a vacation.
Ryanair works for lots of reasons, not least of which are a huge focus on ancillary revenues, and the fact that Europeans are willing to put up with less frills than Americans. And they’ve chosen sizable cities for their bases. Plus a million other little reasons.
Yes, JetAmerica got some marketing help from a couple of airports. They’ll blow through that quickly. Relying on someone else to do your flying to cities where there’s no demand, then charging nothing for it is a recipe for these guys shutting down by September. Ignore the articles that I’m seeing suggesting this thing has a prayer.