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Norfolk Service Discontinued Effective June 1

Norfolk Service Discontinued Effective June 1

 
Old Apr 12, 05, 9:28 am
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Norfolk Service Discontinued Effective June 1

Low revenue forces Independence Air out
Citing financial pressures and a low market share, the airline drops service at Norfolk International.

BY APRIL TAYLOR , The Daily Press

April 12 2005

NORFOLK -- Barely one year after its arrival, Independence Air will drop service to Norfolk International Airport, effective June 1. Officials at the low-cost carrier cited financial woes and lower-than-anticipated revenues in the Norfolk market as reasons for yanking its service.

"Revenue (here) was significantly lower when compared to the rest of our system," said Rick DeLisi, director of corporate communications for Independence Air. "We're extremely disappointed that were losing them," said Kenneth R. Scott, executive director of the Norfolk Airport Authority. "Anytime you lose service, it's a concern."

To increase revenues and stay afloat among sky-rocketing fuel costs, the low-cost carrier is reducing the number of smaller aircraft in its fleet - like the 50-seaters that fly out of Norfolk - and the number of larger aircraft. Independence Air will have reduced its fleet of smaller aircraft from 87 to 59 by the summer.

"Given the situation with our fleet, we had to eliminate the destination," said DeLisi, adding that plans are to add more service to Florida and the West Coast.

"We continue to add the larger aircraft, which is not practical for service between D.C. and Norfolk but great for service on the West Coast," DeLisi said. "This allows us to create a wider number of destinations and create a coast-to-coast network for Independence Air." Independence Air employs 15 workers in Norfolk who will have to relocate to keep their jobs with the airline.

Atlantic Coast Airlines, which had been running at Norfolk International Airport as United Express before contracts with United Airlines ended, launched a $30 million campaign last May to usher in Independence Air.

Norfolk was one of 35 original destinations where the airline debuted last June.

In 2004, the air carrier serviced 11,508 passengers at Norfolk, capturing only 3.6 percent of the market share.

Independence Air runs five flights per day from Norfolk to Washington Dulles Airport. The current flight schedule will remain the same through May 31, the last day of service.

Customers who are booked on flights on Independence Air out of Norfolk in June and beyond have the option to switch their Norfolk-to-Washington Dulles flights, get credit on their account with Independence Air or receive a full refund.
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Old Apr 12, 05, 9:39 am
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That Bites

I would have thought that Norfolk would have been a great market for connecting people to West bound flights at Dulles. I guess that they weren't seeing enough advance sales to justify it.

Anyone know what they are going to do with the extra capacity? Add it to another city that is busy like Charlotte??

I'm suprised that they haven't done service from somewhere like Chicago to Florida with one of the airbuses once a day or so.
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Old Apr 12, 05, 9:44 am
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Originally Posted by DataBaseDude
Anyone know what they are going to do with the extra capacity? Add it to another city that is busy like Charlotte??
I think mainly expand Florida markets and add on to other markets that see higher than normal summer traffic.
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Old Apr 12, 05, 10:29 am
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Originally Posted by spampurse
I think mainly expand Florida markets and add on to other markets that see higher than normal summer traffic.
Uh, maybe not. I just got word that my morning flight to MCO in 2 weeks has been cancelled. My alternate is the only morning flight at 8:20. Seems they dropped at least 2 of their MCO RTs. It was either 8:20 or 3:50 p.m.

I wish them luck.
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Old Apr 12, 05, 10:45 am
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Also, their TPA-IAD service is being reduced from four daily roundtrips to three daily roundtrips come May - the second flight of the day from TPA (departing around 8AM) and third flight of the day from IAD (departing around 6:30 PM) will be gone.
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Old Apr 12, 05, 12:09 pm
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I dont know this, but it sounds like they would be clearing another A319 for a west coast run...
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Old Apr 12, 05, 8:58 pm
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At least ORF still has Southwest to keep fares down to most markets.

But I'd imagine the price of UA's ORF-IAD (and US's ORF-DCA if Indy ever had an effect on this fare) will be rising rapidly come June.
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Old Apr 13, 05, 7:47 am
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Norfolk airport officials said Independence’s departure will be a blow. Although it is Norfolk’s smallest airline in terms of market share, carrying 2 to 3 percent of the airport’s passengers, its low fares drove down ticket prices to Dulles. Before its debut, fares hovered around $600 round trip, said Kenneth R. Scott , airport executive director.

The airline’s round-trip fares range from $68 to $218 . The only other airline that flies nonstop to Dulles, United Express, was forced to lower its fares to compete. “Once we’re back to one airline serving that market, I’m afraid the fares will reflect that,” Scott said. “I’m disappointed because Independence got fares in that market down to where it was reasonable to fly.”
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Old Apr 13, 05, 11:26 am
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319s have been coming on line faster than the service was ready to start to the west coast, so they needed to go somewhere in the meantime. That's why the frequencies to Florida were increased for Spring Break. Now those planes are going to go west instead, so they have to cut back the Florida service a bit. I'll bet that as more planes come into the system they'll increase that service again if the traffic warrants.
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Old Apr 14, 05, 12:33 pm
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I saw an ad on DC's Fox 5 last night for Southwest...they're offering $39 one-way fares from BWI to ORF.

If you're going to the District, BWI is (to me) more convenient than IAD...so Hampton Roads residents do still have a low-fare option to DC.

To Northern Virginia, however, traffic to BWI is so bad much of the day that it'll probably be faster just to drive all the way from Norfolk...or pay through the roof to fly UA.
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Old Apr 14, 05, 5:47 pm
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Originally Posted by DataBaseDude
Anyone know what they are going to do with the extra capacity? Add it to another city that is busy like Charlotte??
Sell/return the plane to stay liquid .
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