Independence Air to cease on 5 January

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US low-fares carrier Independence Air’s drawn-out battle for survival ended today with the carrier’s parent Flyi announcing that it will cease flying on January 5.

Four days after warning staff of the likelihood of closure, the Washington, DC-based airline is shutting down in a controlled fashion which will see passengers with reservations for flights after 19:00 on 5 January being refunded subject to bankruptcy court approval.

The collapse marks the end of an unsuccessful attempt by former United Express carrier Atlantic Coast Airlines to re-invent itself as a low-cost carrier.

Independence Air chairman and chief executive Kerry Skeen says in a statement: “While we've been clear in reminding everyone that this was a possibility, we remained optimistic that there would be a way to avoid reaching this juncture. To date there has not been a firm offer put forward that meets the financial criteria necessary to continue operations as is. Therefore, we are voluntarily discontinuing scheduled service as of Thursday evening.

“We offer our sincere thanks to the over eight million customers who have flown with us since the launch of Independence Air, and to the communities across America that we have served.

“And most importantly, we thank our extraordinary employees for creating an airline brand that has been so universally praised by our customers. Our people have demonstrated that they are capable of operating an airline that quickly rose to the top of the rankings in every major independent survey of airline quality and customer satisfaction. And while this is a profoundly sad day for all of us, we could not be more proud of our employees and everything they have accomplished."

The airline, which began operations in June 2004, is already in Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and investors will almost certainly see the stock liquidated.