Start-up carrier Florida Express Jet has indefinitely canceled its planned launch, a development that comes just two weeks after the airline went public with its inaugural flight schedule.
The company – which planned to focus on intra-Florida flights – said on Feb. 10 that it would launch service from Orlando to both Fort Lauderadale and Tallahassee starting March 20. The carrier had already begun selling tickets on its website.
However, those plans are now on hold.
The director of the Tallahassee Regional Airport tells The Tallahassee Democrat that Florida Express Jet informed him it would not launch as planned. The company informed the airport via a letter, Tallahassee aviation director Chris Curry tells the Democrat.
“The company ran up against two issues,” Curry says to the Democrat, recounting what the airline told him in the letter. “The first was gate availability at Fort Lauderdale airport. The second issue is that their investment capital did not come in as they had hoped and at this point do not have the funds necessary to properly fund their marketing campaign.”
Indeed, the Florida Express Jet website that previously had been accepting payments for flight reservations had changed by the evening of Feb. 25 to say only that “a better way to fly Florida” would be “coming soon.”
Curry says Florida Express Jet told him that it had refunded passengers who had already bought tickets.
In addition to securing gate availability at Fort Lauderdale, Florida Express Jet appeared to face other hurdles ahead of its originally planned launch date, which was to come in just about three weeks.
Among those, the company also apparently had not secured the contracts it would need to fly from Tallahassee.
“They were moving forward with their plan, except that they did not have an agreement with us,” Curry tells the Democrat.
Curry adds the airport would be willing to resume negotiations with Florida Express Jet if it’s able to resolve its issues.
Florida Express Jet had planned to pay Swift Air to operate its flights on Swift Air-owned Boeing 737-400 jets. Swift Air is an FAA-certified large jet operator that currently provides charter flights for major collegiate sports teams and for several professional sports franchises, including the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks of the National Basketball Association and the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins of the National Hockey League.
WTXL TV of suburban Tallahassee said its attempts to reach Florida Express Jet were unsuccessful as of Tuesday afternoon. WTXL adds “it’s unclear where the company stands operationally, and whether any flights will continue.”
Source :- USAtoday