Despite a long term dismal record for airlines, new ones are founded on a regular basis. They prosper for a while since they are cherry picking underserved routes, have new efficient aircraft, young (i.e., inexpensive) non-unionized (i.e., flexible) employees, less expensive secondary airport bases, and possibly a new strategy or tactic. For a discussion of the fundamental problems of the airline industry, go to www.eastsightaviation.com for our study of the airline industry.
One very different start-up is Pet Airlines which only flies our companion animals (also known as pets), but at these prices, companion animals seems like the appropriate label to me. Pet Airways referred to its travelers as pawsengers. With other airlines penchant for charging for every possible service, prices to bring an animal along on a flight range from $69 to $275 according to www.petairways.com with many animals carried in cargo with baggage. This created an opportunity for pet lovers to spend $149+ to have their animal companions fly in a cabin with a trained attendant. So far, Pet Airways appeared to have found a viable niche.
Another start-up is Porter Airlines which flies in and out of Toronto’s secondary airport, Toronto City Centre Airport serving Boston, Chicago, and Newark. Porter Airlines was founded in 2006 before the economic downturn, but according Porter president Robert Deluce, “Although we saw a slight downturn in New York last October, November when economic uncertainty was at its highest, we have now grown even that market well beyond what we had previously experienced in terms of highs in terms of traffic. And in some of our domestic markets we’re now up probably 60 to 70 percent over what we were carrying back a year ago.” (“Start-up carrier is taking off despite downturn,” Boston Globe, November 22, 2009)
Porter Airlines offers coffee in china cups, free wine or beer, and snacks which makes flying feel very different.
Unfortunately, the airline industry has seen many airlines crash and burn when they over-expanded, hit an economic bumpy patch, or attracted the attention of other airlines which then offered competing services.
Given American’s love for their pets, I’ll bet on Pet Airways, but I’m not sure about any regional start-ups.