The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Skybus bust causes woes for Triad

“They really wreaked havoc in my plans,” said Debra Taylor, instructor of psychology. “It was not a vacation that I could postpone. This is my brother’s wedding of all things.” Taylor is one of the many Skybus flyers who were disappointed by the carrier’s abrupt closing. Taylor and her family will have to make other plans in order to attend her brother’s wedding, which is within a week.

On April 5, Skybus Airlines announced an immediate end to operations and filed for bankruptcy on April 7. The airline left many flyers stranded not only at Piedmont Triad International Airport (PTI) but also at airports in the 14 other cities that it operated out of.

As to why the airline went bankrupt, Skybus officials blame record high fuel prices and the weak economy for the downfall.

“We deeply regret this decision and the impact this will have on our employees and their families, our customers, our vendors and other partners and the communities in which we have been operating,” said Michael Hodge, Skybus’ chief executive officer.

Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, Skybus had only been in existence for one year. Some speculate that the decision to make Columbus its headquarters also contributed to the airline’s failure. Columbus is a big city where Skybus was in competition with larger carriers. Greensboro, however, proved to be a very good market for the carrier. Skybus also proved to be good for PTI.

“The passengers were great! We had a 40 percent increase in Feb. 2008 over Feb. 2007 when they weren’t here” said Henry Isaacson, chairman of the PTI Airport Authority Board.

One of the things that attracted many flyers to Skybus was low-priced tickets. The airline touted fares as low as $10.00.

“There are three of us flying,” Taylor said. “The tickets were around $600, but now trying to get one for the times we need will be around $1,200.”

In order to maintain the low fares, Skybus had to save money in other places.

“They don’t have telephone customer service,” Taylor said. “That was one of the costs that they cut to make their tickets so cheap, so there really is no one to speak to.”

Low fares were the draw for other flyers as well.

“Our choice was mainly based on the low fares,” said Joan Skokan, tutor in the Learning Commons. “My spouse and I purchased the tickets to travel to Omaha for my brother’s wedding. We also planned to spend time visiting family and friends. Ironically, Skybus canceled our flight but gave us other options including cancellation with full refund.”

Skybus used e-mail to inform those who had flights with them that they were shutting down. The airline’s web site essentially said the same thing.

According to Isaacson, PTI was notified on April 4 “at ten minutes past four in the afternoon. They said they had run out of money and had to shut down.”

The Triad is not left without a low-fare carrier.

Allegiant Air has been operating out of PTI for a year. Earlier this month Allegiant announced plans to stop flights on May 31, partly due to the competition with Skybus. In light of the departure of Skybus, the airline has agreed to remain at PTI and will be asked to increase their number of flights and destinations, according to Isaacson.

Those who had pending flights with Skybus should contact their credit card companies to obtain refunds on their tickets.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

The Guilfordian intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks, or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. Comments are reviewed and must be approved by a moderator to ensure that they meet these standards. The Guilfordian does not allow anonymous comments, and requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.
All The Guilfordian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *