November 01, 2005

USA3000 Article

This is just part of the story. Full story at

If you want something done right, the saying goes, you'd better do it yourself. It's a maxim that the people at Apple Vacations took to heart when they were examining ways to make the air portion of their packaged holidays more reliable and of higher quality.

That was the impetus behind the creation of USA 3000, which began operations with a pair of leased A320s in early 2003 and expects to have up to 15 of the twinjets by year end. The carrier is privately held and is led by CEO John Mullen, whose family owns both companies. It does not release financial results.

"The whole concept of USA 3000 was to provide a high-quality product for our sister company Apple Vacations, moving their traffic to and from their resorts in the Caribbean and Mexico," says COO Angus Kinnear, who appears to have a fondness for the number 3000. He previously headed Canada 3000 Airlines, an unrelated company that had moderate success until an ill-starred merger with another leisure carrier, Royal Aviation, sent it into a nosedive that 9/11 made permanent.

The US edition operates out of Baltimore, Newark, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Chicago O'Hare and St. Louis providing both scheduled and charter flights to destinations in Florida, Mexico and the Caribbean. Approximately 80% of the service is scheduled, with up to 54 daily flights, according to the company.

Prior to launching the airline, Apple Vacations, which has been in the travel and tour business for more than three decades, relied on ad hoc charter operators to haul passengers for whom it booked holidays. But it often had to rely on older used aircraft, so reliability and ontime performance were issues. "The product was really a second-class operation from an aviation point of view," says the blunt-spoken Scotsman-Canadian. "The airplanes being contracted to fly the vacation packages were probably second-generationthe ones Major carriers had passed down like 727s and MD-80s. We wanted to make sure we could provide not only a safe operation but also a reliable one."

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