Friday, April 04, 2008

Charter carrier Champion Air to shut down at the end of May

Champion Air Boeing 727-225What a week! First Aloha Airlines, then ATA Airlines -- and now another air carrier in the U.S. has announced that it will be shutting down: Charter carrier Champion Air has announced that it will cease operations on May 31, 2008.

It appears that Champion Air is the latest air carrier to fall victim to the high price of fuel. In a press release issued on the afternoon of March 31, 2008, the carrier's President and CEO, Lee Steele, said, "...Our business model is no longer viable in a world of $110 oil, a struggling economy and rapidly changing demand for our services. Those factors also have impeded our efforts to attract new capital and new investors."

More from the March 31, 2008 press release:
Champion will fulfill all outstanding service commitments and will remain fully in compliance with all regulatory, operational and labor contract requirements. The company has adequate funds to continue operations and to settle all outstanding financial obligations.

The airline’s current 550 employees will continue to receive their pay and benefits through May 31. Notification of the impending shutdown as mandated by the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act and any similar state and local regulations is underway.
Champion Air operates sixteen Boeing 727-200 aircraft. Six of those are configured as VIP aircraft, with First/Business Class seating for 56 passengers. The remaining 10 aircraft feature a single class configuration for 176 passengers in coach class seating. The carrier was originally formed as MGM Grand Air in 1987 by the MGM organization.

[Photo Source]