Make us your home page
Instagram

Clearwater start-up JetAmerica halts flights and ticket sales, promises refunds

Call JetAmerica the start-up that couldn't.

The public charter operator based in Clearwater abruptly stopped sales Friday, canceled all future flights and promised refunds for some 4,000 ticket-holders.

JetAmerica executives still hope to start flying. But after canceling flights twice this month before getting the first plane off the ground, even supporters are skeptical.

"We don't even know if they're going to exist,'' said Carla Firestone, spokeswoman for Toledo (Ohio) Express Airport, planned as a "focus city'' for JetAmerica. "It's going to be a hard sell for our community."

The airline planned to connect "secondary markets'' — Toledo, Ohio; Lansing, Mich.; South Bend, Ind.; and Melbourne on Florida's east coast — to the New York metro area through Newark Liberty International Airport.

Officials at St. Petersburg-Clearwater International have been in touch with Pinellas resident Steven Schoen, JetAmerica's board chairman. Airport director Noah Lagos said the airline hasn't agreed to fly there.

"Seeing what they've done today doesn't raise your confidence they'll fly,'' Lagos said.

JetAmerica sells tickets mostly online and has about a dozen employees in an office across Roosevelt Boulevard from the airport. The company hired charter carrier Miami Air International to supply jets and crews. Contractors will supply workers to check in passengers and gas up the planes at airports.

JetAmerica caused a stir in May by offering to sell at least nine tickets on every flight for $9, plus taxes and fees. Within a week, the company claimed to have sold 20,000 tickets. The number actually represented one-way trips, Schoen said in an interview Friday.

On July 2, JetAmerica scratched its July 13 launch and canceled flights through Aug. 13 because officials hadn't obtained reservations, or "slots," to fly at Newark, among the most congested airports in the country.

Unable to buy slots from other carriers, JetAmerica halted ticket sales Friday and pledged to refund tickets within 7 to 14 days. Between 4,000 and 4,500 customers with tickets for Aug. 14 through the end of September will get back a total of about $400,000, Schoen said.

CEO John Weikle said in a statement JetAmerica would come up with a new schedule that won't include Newark as a destination.

Steve Huettel can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3384.

Clearwater start-up JetAmerica halts flights and ticket sales, promises refunds 07/17/09 [Last modified: Friday, July 17, 2009 10:14pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. City Council approves $5 million for Clearwater Marine Aquarium expansion

    Briefs

    CLEARWATER — The City Council on Thursday approved contributing $5 million to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium for its massive expansion project.

    Clearwater has agreed to contributed $5 million to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium 
's $66 million expansion project.. [ Clearwater Marine Aquarium] 


  2. Trigaux: Florida, Tampa Bay lagging in growth of their startups

    Economic Development

    The annual assessment of how entrepreneurs are doing across the country is out from the Kauffman Foundation — among the best watchers of the nation's startup scene. How do Florida and Tampa Bay fare?

    Lured by financial incentives, startup GeniusCentral relocated from Manatee County in 2015 to St. Petersburg, promising to creatye 40 new jobs. It took downtown space in an appropriately creative workpace for entrepreneurs. It did not last there, later moving back to less expensive space in Manatee. A new Kauffman Index report on entrepreneurship found that Florida is a good place to launch startups but a tougher place to grow them.
[SCOTT KEELER    |      TIMES]
  3. Pleasant dreams: sleep travel site gives high marks to Tampa airport

    Airlines

    TAMPA — Traveling might be considered closer to a nightmare than a dream for many. But that might be different for those who travel through Tampa International Airport. It was ranked the No. 3 overall best airport in North America by Sleeping in Airports, a travel site that tracks the best airports to catch some …

    Tampa International Airport was ranked as the No. 3 best overall airport by travel site Sleeping in Airports. | [Times file photo]
  4. Google parent leads $1B Lyft investment, deepening Uber rift

    Business

    SAN FRANCISCO — Google's parent company is throwing its financial support behind ride-hailing service Lyft, deepening its rift with market leader Uber.

    This  file photo shows a smartphone displaying the Lyft app.Google's parent company, Alphabet Inc., is throwing its financial support behind ride-hailing service Lyft, deepening its rift with market leader Uber. [Associated Press, 2016]
  5. ReliaQuest opens storefront in mock city of JA Biztown

    Economic Development

    TAMPA — ReliaQuest, a Tampa-based cybersecurity company, opened a "storefront" Wednesday at JA Biztown. The storefront is part of a mock city where students learn economic concepts and run businesses. About 20 real-life Tampa Bay companies sponsor storefronts that local students get to run for a day as part of a …

    ReliaQuest, a Tampa-based cybersecurity company, opened a "storefront" Wednesday at JA Biztown, a mock city where students learn to run businesses. | [MALENA CAROLLO, Times]