September 08, 2007

Skybus at Westover

From the Republican:

It's been less than two months since discount carrier Skybus Airlines established a daily link between Chicopee's Westover Metropolitan Airport and Columbus, Ohio, and it looks like this bird is going to fly.

Skybus, the first regular passenger service out of Westover in about 20 years, the startup company with its growing fleet of orange-painted jets is becoming a popular choice for travelers between the two cities.

And why not. Besides fares starting as low as $10 a flight, Skybus has deliberately chosen smaller, less-congested, passenger-friendly airports to launch and expand its business. At Westover, the planes touch down at 6:45 p.m. and leave at 7:21, arriving in Columbus at 9:03 p.m.

Since its inaugural flight on July 16, business has been brisk, averaging approximately 100 inbound and outbound passengers a day, according to Allan W. Blair, president and chief executive officer of Westover Metropolitan Development Corp., which owns the airport. "It's beyond our expectations, he said." Skybus spokesman Robert Tenenbaum concurred, saying the route had met the "high-end" of the airline's expectations.

The success of Skybus Airlines is excellent news for the region's business and tourist economies. While Westover airport services a much smaller niche than Bradley International Airport, which began daily nonstop flights to Amsterdam this summer, both airports are important for local businesses.

From its Columbus hub, Skybus offers connecting flights to other destinations, including Florida, California and Washington state. Blair would like to see Skybus add a morning flight to its Westover schedule. It could happen, given its success. It's a question of availability, Tenebaum said. Right now, Skybus has five A319 jets, with plans to add 75 more by the end of 2012.

If the Western Massachusetts market can keep pace as new planes are added to the fleet, the sky's the limit for the economy

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Worcester already had Skybus . Check Worcester Telegram T&G archives