Jeffrey Erickson to lead start-up People Express

Washington DC
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Start-up carrier People Express has named longtime airline industry executive Jeffrey Erickson as its chairman and chief executive, the airline announces.

Erickson will join People Express, which has said it will launch service in 2014, with a resume that includes time as head of some of the USA’s largest airlines, including now-defunct Trans World Airlines and cargo and charter carrier Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings.

"Jeff brings a wealth of experience that will be instrumental as we finalise plans for our launch," says Michael Morisi, president of People Express, in a media release. "He has unparalleled insight into every aspect of our model. We are thrilled to have him at the helm of the company."

"Launching a new airline is an exciting challenge, and one I think the industry and the market is ready for now," Erickson says in the release. "It's incredibly rewarding building a company up from scratch and getting it to the point where you see the first airplane in the sky."

Erickson previously worked at Atlas Air, where he was president from 2003 to 2005. Earlier, he was the airline’s chief executive and interim chief operating officer.

While at Atlas, Erickson helped the carrier emerge from bankruptcy, restoring $1 billion in value in six months, according to People Express.

From 1994 to 1996, Erickson was president and chief executive at TWA, helping that carrier achieve its first annual operating profit in six years and optimizing its route structure, says People Express.

Erickson resigned from TWA in October 1996, shortly after the July 1996 explosion of TWA flight 800 over the Atlantic Ocean.

Earlier, Erickson was president and chief executive of Reno Air, which began operations in 1992 and was acquired by American Airlines in 1999.

Morisi of Newport News, Virginia-based People Express said in September that he is confident the airline will launch in the second quarter of 2014.

People Express received its operating certificate in June when it purchased Idaho-based charter carrier Xtra Airways. Xtra currently operates four Boeing 737s, but Morisi said People Express plans to add a “few” more aircraft to the People Express fleet.