PEOPLExpress is Gone

The last time we heard from PEOPLExpress on their plans to fly again was one year ago.

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A year later, I am definitely calling it. People’s Express has permanently putted out. Despite a cheery New Year’s message on Facebook (see below), nothing of substance has resulted in the airline flying again.

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For those of you who have forgotten…

The original PeopleExpress went out of business in 1987, despite taking advantage of US air deregulation to become the fifth largest airline in the USA by offering ultra low fares which the staff collected on the plane.


A new PEOPLExpress adopted the brand name and tried various ways to start flying. Eventually settling onNewport News/Williamsburg International Airport as a hub, the airline contracted another airline called Vision to operate its flights as PEOPLExpress with just two planes.

I gave them nine months. I was accused, at the time, of negativity. I don’t like negativity and I want airlines to succeed. I just could not see how a Newport News based airline with no cash and just two planes operating flights to seven destinations would survive for any length of time, no matter the goodwill. I was wrong.  PEOPLExpress lasted just four months. Both planes were grounded. With no backup, the carrier was stuck. With no cash, the airline could not get anyone aloft or pay its wages or utility bills.

This newbie would-be airline has promised to be back many times. For example in  Mike Morisi, PEOPLExpress founder said in November, 2014 “We are on schedule to make an announcement early January, open reservations at that time and fly in March. We have a good plan, a solid plan, a good solid group of investors , a great airline to fly with so we’re really excited about it.”

PEOPLExpress, instead of making any announcement about future flights, were instead, kicked out of their Newport News airport offices in January 2015, owing $86,000 in passenger facility charges and $18,000 in utility payments. They still protested (see below) that they were trying to find a way to fly again. Delusional?

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This disaster has impacted Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport which received a $950,000 US Federal government grant and$650,000 from local cities and counties to build air service to Boston and New York. The PEOPLExpress debacle wiped that grant out. The airport does not seem to have been too financially affected by PEOPLExpress.

So if you are about to start an airline, you need more than positive thinking to do it. Two years of cash, a proper business plan, adequate aircraft and a decent hub will all help. Add luck, good timing and low fuel prices.

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