End of the line for Independence Air

Profile picture for user bmi-star

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15 years 9 months

Posts: 4,255

Looks to be like one of the largest casualties in the US for some time!

Independence Air is to Shut Down on Thursday!


Today we must announce that we will be ceasing scheduled service operations this Thursday evening, January 5. The financial pressures in the industry have prevailed. We have run out of time.

It has been an amazing 18 months. We set out to challenge the status quo and to re-set your expectations about air travel. We set out to introduce you to lower fares and a new level of service delivered by employees who care. Currently ranked #2 in customer satisfaction among all US airlines, we are proud that we did indeed earn your respect and loyalty. We are proud that we built a brand so universally praised by over 8 million customers. We are proud of the mark we have made.

http://www.flyi.com/company/default.aspx

Sad indeed, i'd hope to use them in the summer, but not anymore!

Original post

Member for

15 years 1 month

Posts: 1,887

Shame for the staff and also the smaller regional airports that they serve

However on the more positive side, anyone want as A319 or CRJ-200?

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15 years 8 months

Posts: 71

Independence Air's management should get the award for complete incompetence! The concept was stupid. They had the wrong aircraft. They were making a reasonable profit flying for UA and gave it all up. A lot of people lost a lot of money. In addition, what idiot sends out furlough notices to all its employees a week before they plan to shut down. Hello! That is waving a red flag to its customers! But don’t you worry! Management will be taken care of! I am sure there is a slush fund somewhere out there!

PATHETIC!

Bkonner

Profile picture for user Bmused55

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16 years 2 months

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This is a classic case of management's eyes being bigger than their pockets.

From the info I have, what they needed was the EMB170 or 190, not the A319. BUT alas, Airbus offered them a very good deal and they took it.
Wrong aircraft for the wrong market. Yes they made a little money but not enough when you factor in the high leasing rates and other associated costs, all much higher than they would have been for the Embraers.

The management wanted to play big boy airline...

Profile picture for user cloud_9

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14 years 2 months

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Am I mistaken in thinking that Richard Branson was a shareholder in Independence Air. I believe that he was waiting for them to cease trading so that he can bring out Virgin America...?

Sorry, can't find the source I read about it, if it is true!

Profile picture for user greekdude1

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19 years 11 months

Posts: 2,956

Independence Air's management should get the award for complete incompetence! The concept was stupid. They had the wrong aircraft. They were making a reasonable profit flying for UA and gave it all up. A lot of people lost a lot of money. In addition, what idiot sends out furlough notices to all its employees a week before they plan to shut down. Hello! That is waving a red flag to its customers! But don’t you worry! Management will be taken care of! I am sure there is a slush fund somewhere out there!

PATHETIC!

Bkonner

I was going to post something along these lines, but you beat me to it. More or less took the words right out of my mouth. What did they last, a little over a year? They were seemingly doing just fine flying as Atlantic Coast Airlines/United Express all those years.

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15 years 1 month

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Am I mistaken in thinking that Richard Branson was a shareholder in Independence Air. I believe that he was waiting for them to cease trading so that he can bring out Virgin America...?

The was a rumour/speculation that Barnson might use Independence Air to get an operating liscense for Virgin America but I dont think anything happenned

Didnt AtlanticCoast also fly as Delta Connection?

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15 years 8 months

Posts: 71

Howdy,

They started flying in June, 2004. They made is 16 months to Chapter 13 and 19 to Chapter 7. NOT BAD! Good Harvard Business Case Study in the works I bet in how not to run an airline! Very unfortunate!

Bkonner

Profile picture for user Whiskey Delta

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16 years 7 months

Posts: 2,513

Independence Air's management should get the award for complete incompetence! The concept was stupid. They had the wrong aircraft. They were making a reasonable profit flying for UA and gave it all up. A lot of people lost a lot of money. In addition, what idiot sends out furlough notices to all its employees a week before they plan to shut down. Hello! That is waving a red flag to its customers! But don’t you worry! Management will be taken care of! I am sure there is a slush fund somewhere out there!

PATHETIC!

Bkonner

One of my best friends was a Captain there when they made the decision to go it alone. I can tell you that Indy was the best option they had at the time as UA was giving them an unworkable ultimatum. It was never a simple matter of attempting to break away from UA to just start a new airline. Trust me, UA was treating them like crap when ACA broke away.

Sure their fleet was wrong at the start but they were making the appropriate shift. They ditched their J41's and DoJet's and quickly made their A319 order. Things don't change overnight.

I also believe that the furlough notices were sent out to aide the employees in gaining unemployment benefits earlier. Without the notices the employees would have to wait to apply until they were actually out of a job.

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15 years 8 months

Posts: 71

I will give them credit for honesty with the passengers

Hi,

I guess the consolation for the passengers with booked tickets is that they did not do an Eastern or Pan Am and gave their passengers some warning. I give them credit for honesty, something you do not see in US business anymore!!!!!

While their timing was terrible when they launched the airline, they, management, did not do a good job. The name was not recognized by most Americans. I asked several guys I am friendly with if they ever flew them. They had no clue who the carrier was. Also, the RJ fleet was wrong. The needed more A319's. As a hub, Dulles is a good location. There is a local base to draw passengers from, and the airport is located in a reasonable part of the US where connection traffic will work.

A lot of people got hurt because of this. Also, a lot of money was lost. Its a shame!

Bkonner

Profile picture for user Whiskey Delta

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While their timing was terrible when they launched the airline, they, management, did not do a good job.

The timing was awful but not because of anything the management team did. No one saw the spike in fuel prices coming which almost crippled every airline out there, not to mention a new start up.

Unlike Jetblue, Independence didn't have the luxury of waiting until their fleet size was appropriate and their PR push was over. UA forced their hand permitting only a few months of planning.

UA was financially supporting another regional airline (Mesa) in the hopes that they could buy out ACA, giving UA control over the gates and terminals at IAD. ACA owned both and wasn't willing to give them to UA which is what United was offering in their contract renewal. Either they gave those up and took pay cuts or UA would go elsewhere for regional service in IAD. So either they slit their own throats to protect a losing business contract or they had to go on their own using the infrastructure they own. They decided to leave UA.

The name was not recognized by most Americans. I asked several guys I am friendly with if they ever flew them. They had no clue who the carrier was.

Do most folks on the East coast know who Horizon, Alaskan or Frontier are? The Independence Airline route structure was very East Coast centralized which would mean most folks in the central/western US would have little reason to know about them. I know we had several large billboards for them at the airports in Ohio and they ran TV ads in the larger markets on the East Coast. They ran nationwide advertisements for their few coast-to-coast routes as well. Folks in DC were well aware who they were.

Also, the RJ fleet was wrong. The needed more A319's.

Obviously they knew that a sizable portion of their operations would need to be the A319's but it wasn't like they would show up with 25 new airplanes the day they launched Independence. Several analysts blamed their lack of A319's as the reason they failed. Strangely none of them seemed to have any idea how an airline goes about buying more jets. They don't grow on trees. They seem to forget that Jetblue had years to prepare their launch as they organized while ACA only had a few months.

As a hub, Dulles is a good location. There is a local base to draw passengers from, and the airport is located in a reasonable part of the US where connection traffic will work.

IAD is a great airport for a LCC given that a majority of the Legacy airline operations out of there are International or long-haul domestic.

A lot of people got hurt because of this. Also, a lot of money was lost. Its a shame!

I think Delta, US Airways or United have each lost more money in 2005 that Independance lost of it's entire life. There are more folks on the street from each of the Legacy carriers than Independence ever employeed at their peak.

It's odd how there is so much finger pointing at the Indy failure while the Legacy carriers are losing more money and firing more and more employees than Indy ever could. The only reason that Indy folded wasn't because their business plan was any worse than the Legacy's, it's that given their size they couldn't afford the financial charges to go into Chapter 11 protection. Without that protection how many airlines (much larger and with better fleets) would have folded in the last 3 years?

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19 years 11 months

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Thanks for the info WD. That sheds a lot of light on the situation. I retract my previous statement.