People Express execs rally to re-launch the airline

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A group of former People Express executives has unveiled to plans to re-launch the carrier with 158-seat Boeing 737-400s.

Newport News-Williamsburg International airport will be home to the new iteration of the low-cost carrier that launched service in 1981 and was taken over by Continental Airlines in 1987.

The chairman of the new People Express, William Stockbridge, was the former chief of premium transatlantic carrier Maxjet that ceased operations in 2007. He also served on the start-up team of People Express.

Chief operating officer Michael Morisi and chief marketing officer Christine DeZarn were also employees of the original People Express.

The company settled on the Hampton Roads, Virginia base after determining it is within 750 miles of the 10 largest population centres in the US, said People Express, who also stated the Newport News-Williamsburg International airport offered generous space for five gates, room to expand and competitive labour costs.

If People Express is successful in launching service, Newport News could recoup service it is losing in March when AirTran Airways ceases flights to Atlanta, Orlando, Boston and New York LaGuardia.

Routes being targeted by the new People Express include Pittsburgh, Providence, Newark, West Palm Beach, Orlando, Boston and many cities "abandoned by other carriers", the carrier said.

The airline stated it is still researching the needs of business travellers and leisure destination travel patterns, and expects to offer 12 daily departures initially and grow to 25 during the first few years. Its lowest fares would be $69, and no fees will be charged for the first two bags.

People Express expects to take delivery of its 737-400 during the second quarter and aims to begin operations during the US summer season.