The second US airline this week has halted operations, with ATA cancelling all service effective this morning. The airline will not be refunding any paid fares to any travellers, and the employees are not reporting to work, nor are they likely being paid for their most recent pay period. From the notice filed on the carrier’s website:
After filing for Chapter 11 on April 2, 2008 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Indianapolis, IN, ATA Airlines has discontinued all operations and cancelled all current and future flights. Following the loss of a key contract for our military charter business, it became impossible for ATA to continue operations. Unfortunately, we were not in a position to provide our customers or others with advance notice.
We apologize for the disruption caused by the sudden shutdown of ATA and regret the impact on passengers, employees, suppliers, and other parties. ATA customers should seek alternative arrangements for current and future travel. A list of other airlines serving ATA’s destinations is available here.
ATA had already started scaling back operations, including pulling out of Chicago’s Midway and scaling down the rest of their operations around the country. But that was not enough.
One interesting comment I read on it earlier this morning was that since the reason they are shutting down is that they lost a military contract it must be the fault of Bush, since he isn’t flying enough flights to bring the troops home. Clearly a snipe, but pretty funny to me.
Also interesting from the political angle is that both Clinton and Obama have chartered ATA planes for their campaigns. No word yet on whether those are still operating. I am guessing that they will since they are still producing positive cash flow for the company. Then again, the history of his campaign flight hasn’t shown any activity in 10 days, and he’s been out on the road campaigning, so maybe someone tipped the candidates off to this early.
Anyways, a sad day for all the employees and passengers of the carrier. Considering that they were a pretty big carrier to Hawaii, this is especially terrible news for the islands, since they’re now down two options to the mainland.
And, if they aren’t careful, Alitalia could be right behind these two, with the government refusing to provide additional loans to the carrier unless they agree to the Air France buyout, and the unions objecting to the plans to cut employees and actually make their airline profitable. So look for a third carrier to be going under in the near future, unless there is a miracle in Rome.
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