ARLINGTON, Va., June 27, 2002—US Airways Express will increase operations at Asheville, N.C., starting Sept. 8, 2002, when US Airways discontinues its mainline jet service, the company announced today.
US Airways is withdrawing its current four daily Boeing 737-300 aircraft flights between Asheville and its Charlotte hub due to poor market performance.
As part of its scheduling change, the airline is adding three daily US Airways Express flights, to offer a total of eight roundtrips between Asheville and Charlotte. In addition US Airways’ future plans at Asheville include the introduction of regional jet service, pending aircraft delivery and deployment schedules.
US Airways Express currently serves the Asheville-Charlotte route with five daily flights, using a mix of 37-seat and 50-seat Dash-8 turbo-prop aircraft, operated by Piedmont Airlines, one of four US Airways Express carriers wholly owned by US Airways. Additional daily flights are operated by US Airways Express affiliate Air Midwest serving Greenville/Spartanburg, S.C., and Raleigh/Durham, N.C.
The three additional US Airways Express flights between Asheville and Charlotte will be operated by Piedmont Airlines with 50-seat Dash-8 aircraft.
Andrew Nocella, US Airways vice president of planning and scheduling, said that the company’s 126-seat Boeing 737-300 flights between Asheville and Charlotte had produced an average passenger load factor of only 33 percent in the first quarter of 2002.
“While this is a difficult decision, we have to recognize the economic reality that the Asheville market is unable to sustain the continuation of a mainline jet operation,” he said. “In order to maintain and develop our presence in Asheville, we will increase US Airways Express flights, and regional jet service will be added as soon as aircraft are available and it is practical to do so.”
US Airways employs 24 full-time and nine part-time employees at Asheville, comprising customer service and fleet service staff. They will be offered positions with US Airways Express at Asheville, or they may apply to relocate elsewhere in the US Airways network, where vacancies are available.
In addition to Piedmont Airlines, US Airways’ other wholly-owned US Airways Express carriers are Allegheny Airlines, PSA Airlines and MidAtlantic Airways. They, together with seven other affiliate carriers, operate more than 2,200 US Airways Express flights daily, serving 162 destinations in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean.
Reporters needing additional information should contact US Airways Corporate Communications at (703) 872-5100.