People Express launch date postponed to early 2013

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Start-up carrier People Express has postponed launching operations several months to early 2013 as a result of paperwork delays in the certification process.

The revival of People Express-branded operations, which ceased 25 years ago after being acquired by Continental Airlines, was originally expected in August.

Michael Morisi, the airline's president, had previously acknowledged the launch schedule was "ambitious", and now confirms the certification process is taking longer than expected.

Meanwhile, the carrier has revisited its start-up plan for the first two years of operations, with the intention of "strengthening" its network with new destinations, Morisi says.

He declines to reveal details of the broadened network strategy until he files an amendment to his application with the Department of Transportation in two to three weeks.

People Express has outlined plans to target markets being vacated as carriers trim their domestic networks except for the most lucrative routes.

The carrier still expects to launch service in Pittsburgh, an airport largely abandoned by US Airways. Another targeted market is its home city of Newport News, where AirTran Airways plans to cut back service after its acquisition by Southwest Airlines.

People Express intends to build its fleet around Boeing 737 Classics, and it is close to finalised a deal to begin acquiring the aircraft, Morisi says.