Close shave at Skybus

Skybus, the Ohio-based startup that bills itself as an ‘ultra low-fares’ airline, prides itself on ancillary 61E4D4455ML._SS500_.jpgrevenues such as charges for seat assignments and checked bags. It’s also painted a few of its planes for advertisers. Other carriers have done this as well, but Skybus is taking the ancillary idea step farther: it’s selling ‘sponsorships’ to convention and visitor bureaus, in return for which flight attendants make announcements on behalf of the CVB. Its first has been for a suburb of Columbus, its home town, a little place called Canal Winchester. We’ve been there and it is about a scenic as you can get in Central Ohio, and Canal Winchester does have a few unique features, including a barbershop museum and hall of fame.We figure that Skybus needs the revenue, because according to its first-ever revenue-and-results filings with the Transportation Department, it lost just over $16 million on revenues of $22 million in the quarter that ended 30 September.
barb.jpg Privately held Skybus had a load factor of 79% which certainly is respectable, but its rock-bottom fares, which start at $10, are perhaps not proportionate to its rising costs. In fact it decided in October that it would end three of its five routes to the West Coast, saying that even long-haul flights can’t bring in enough revenue to cover costs. Its yields are estimated at just over 5 cents, less than half the 13 cents average among similar-sized airlines. That would seem to mean that Skybus is going to have sell a lot of on-board meals and bring in a lot of “sponsors” if it’s to avoid the dim future that some have seen for it

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