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Bye Bye, Flyi

It's a sad day for Washington area frequent fliers, as Flyi, Inc, parent company of low cost carrier Independence Air announced yesterday that all operations will be ceasing scheduled flights Thursday evening, January 5.

Independence Air was controversial from it's inception and launch 18 months ago - a rebranding of former United Airlines regional affiliate Atlantic Coast Airline as a low cost national carrier. The shutdown will affect consumers in the 37 markets served by Independence Air, as the disappearance of Independence Air's low fares will allow competitors to raise their fares.

Independence Air held the #2 ranking in customer satisfaction among the major airlines and served over 8 million customers in its short existence. The arrival of Independence Air in 2004 gave many mid-size markets access to short-hop, low-fare flights, to popular destinations.

While consumers may have loved the airline, analyst's did not. Independence Air's high cost per-mile regional jet fleet, rising fuel prices, rapid expansion, and cut-throat competition from United and USAir added up to an easy to predict failure. Of course that's little comfort to the thousands of Northern Virginia based employees who now are left looking for work in a market where most of the companies are in bankruptcy.

The demise of Independence Air also means that the emergence of Dulles as a competitor to BWI in the low cost market may be over.

Bye bye, Flyi, it was fun while it lasted...

Comments (8)

I'm so tired of flight cost... (Below threshold)

I'm so tired of flight costs going up. It's killing my traveling plans. Sigh.

BWI is a Washington airport... (Below threshold)

BWI is a Washington airport. In fact, it's the exact same distance from downtown DC as Dulles, and BWI is much more convenient. Rail access on Amtrak or Dulles, and my favorite, the B-30 Metrobus from the Greenbelt Metro station. I always prefer BWI.

Al, BWI a Washingt... (Below threshold)


BWI a Washington airport ? It depends where in the DC area you live.

When I flew to Cleveland on a regular basis, I initially preffered BWI because Southwest flew out of there and had good flight times and low fares. Living in Prince William County, though, made a trip to and from BWI for a Friday night-Sunday night trip incredibily inconvenient. That's why I loved it when Independence Air came into town. A 1/2 trip to the airport vs an hour or more ? Easy call.

To follow-up-- for me, a Mo... (Below threshold)

To follow-up-- for me, a Montgomery County resident (Rockville) and a Washington worker, BWI makes the most sense-- it's easy and convenient, plus. It certainly beats having to think about 270 and the American Legion Bridge on the way to Dulles!

And I meant to write MARC train service to BWI in my earlier post-- it's easy and cheap.

From an economic standpoint, FlyI had a great product, but they essentially gave away tickets for nothing. And with fuel prices the way they are, it simply was not sustainable for the long-term.

Al, Point taken.</... (Below threshold)


Point taken.

I agree that FlyI was probably doomed from the start, its just unfortuante they couldn't figure out how to make it work.

Ironically, one of the few airlines actually making a consistent profit these days is Southwest ---- which I've generally enjoyed flying on though I could do without the cattle-call seating they are famous for.

When I think about all the ... (Below threshold)

When I think about all the airlines I've flown on that are no longer in existence: Eastern, PSA, AirCal, Hughes AirWest, Sabena, ....

What must that be like to be employed in an industry where most of the major players are in bankruptcy? I've worked for failing companies, but industries?

How would it feel to be a young, up-and-coming employee in a devastated industry?

How would it feel to be ... (Below threshold)

How would it feel to be a young, up-and-coming employee in a devastated industry?

I'm guessing "stupid."

FlyI was a big part in IAD.... (Below threshold)

FlyI was a big part in IAD. I actually worked for Independence Air. I worked with them sense day one. I loved working for Independence becuase we were like a family. we had fun while it lasted FLYI will be missed.






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