People Express receives local loan, evaluates charter purchase

Washington DC
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People Express has received a $500,000 loan from a number of economic development authorities in and around Newport News, Virginia, to support it possibly acquiring a charter carrier.

The 30-day loan will be placed in escrow and enable the start-up airline to conduct due diligence on buying an operating charter carrier in order to speed up the launch of flights from Newport News-Williamsburg International airport, says Florence Kingston, director of the department of development at the city of Newport News and a member of the Regional Air Service Enhancement Committee.

The money will be returned to the local economic development authorities at the end of the 30-days unless the due diligence allows the airline to proceed to "next steps", which could include buying the charter carrier, she says. However, People Express would have to request a new loan for such a transaction.

"It is a low risk way for us to show that the communities are behind them," says Kingston.

Michael Morisi, president of People Express, told Flightglobal in July 2012 that it intended to begin flights from Newport News in early 2013.

The airline was originally slated to begin service in August 2012, however that date was delayed due to the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification process.

People Express did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

The carrier plans to begin service to Orlando and Pittsburgh with a fleet of yet-to-be-acquired Boeing 737 Classics.