It’s only five months old, but Skybus is already abandoning some of its first routes. When it started service from its Columbus, Ohio, hub, in late May, Skybus made headlines with its ‘ultra low’ fares, its emphasis on ancillary charges, its guarantee of a number of $10 seats on each flight, and its interesting selection of secondary airports. For instance, Skybus picked the Bellingham, Washington, airport, 90 miles north of Seattle for its Pacific Northwest destination, but will abandon that route from Columbus in the first week of January. It will also end service between its hub and San Diego, California, effective 6 March, and will end one of its two flights between Columbus and the Bob Hope airport in Burbank, near Los Angeles, in January, all because of the continually rising cost of fuel. Skybus founder and chief executive Bill Diffenderffer says that the carrier “needed to take a look at our scheduling strategy and find ways to use our fleet more effectively…”
Diffenderffer recently told AB that the carrier would not assume very many if any connecting passengers would make their cross-country trip through Columbus, and that the airline was about local or O&D flyers. But it would seem that the carrier cannot fill planes to or from the West Coast with local traffic and that continuing fare competition on transcontinental flights is taking its toll.
The airline has however increased its Florida flying, and plans its first non-hub flying to serve Florida. In December, it starts flights between the Pease airport near Portsmouth, N.H., and two Florida points, the Charlotte County Airport in Punta Gorda and the St. Augustine airport. The former serves Gulf Coast points such as Fort Myers, while Saint Augustine serves Jacksonville and Daytona Beach. Skybus also flies to these airports plus Fort Lauderdale from its home base, and also links Columbus with the Portsmouth airport, which is north of Boston.