Hooters owner gathers Pace in move to provide charter flights to Florida for golfers

Popular US-based restaurant chain Hooters has revived its plans to launch air services under the Hooters Air brand, after owner Bob Brooks acquired North Carolina-based charter operator Pace Airlines.

Hooters restaurants have become famous in the USA for tight-shirted waitresses serving beer and chicken wings in a testosterone-filled atmosphere.

In 2002, Brooks made overtures to buy bankrupt Vanguard Airlines with the intention of rebranding the carrier as Hooters Air. Those efforts fell through, however, after Vanguard rejected Brooks' bid, calling the offer "inadequate".

Brooks says his acquisition of profitable Pace makes more economic sense than taking on a bankrupt scheduled carrier. "I learned through my due diligence efforts that the charter service segment is a healthier business arena and is better suited for extending the Hooters brand," he says.

Pace is a charter carrier that was formed by the management of the former Piedmont Airlines and is part of Piedmont Hawthorne Aviation.

The carrier provides regular charter services for sports teams, corporate accounts and tour operators using a fleet of 15 Boeing 737s and two Boeing 757s.

Rather than totally rebrand the airline, Brooks will take a single Pace aircraft and alter the paint scheme to reflect the Hooters name and logo.

The aircraft will be used to provide domestic charter services to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, for golfers, beginning this year.

Hooters Air may also acquire additional aircraft to allow it to offer charters to ski or gambling destinations.

"The extent to which the famous restaurant's brand representation will be used in that operation, beyond the name, is a work in progress," says Hooters.


Source: Flight International