PEOPLExpress confirms XTRA purchase

In a deal flush with excess capital letters, the new PEOPLExpress has confirmed the previously reported acquisition of XTRA Airways. XTRA is a Boise-based airline which is already certified by the FAA to operate Boeing 737 aircraft. PEOPLExpress has been struggling for the past 16+ months to receive FAA certification to operate in the United States. This acquisition will allow them to use the XTRA license to operate the flights under their brand name. Both brands will remain in operation, with XTRA continuing to serve the charter services market and PEOPLExpress focused on commercial operations.

PEOPLExpress is looking to launch as a new low-cost carrier based in Newport News, Virginia. Since their initial flurry of news last February the company has been reasonably quiet. Their hopes of building a new operation from the ground up was apparently waylaid by lack of FAA licensing, among other things. After spending the better part of a year trying to make that happen on their own the company switched up the approach, choosing to acquire another airlines which already has the necessary licensing in place. That’s faster, to be certain, though it also comes with some costs. On the plus side, acquiring XTRA means that the company has an existing charter business they can continue to operate as they work to build up the scheduled service operation.

Oh, and they’ve also indicated on their homepage that they expect to launch a new website soon. Because, as we all know, that’s key to a successful airline launch.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. Actually, for a new airline no one has heard of before and which may or may not be in GDSes and OTAs, an excellent website is essential for survival.

  2. Interesting at the least.

    However, I would not expect to purchase any travel on PEX anytime in the near future.

    It appears the current leadership of PEX has no interest in anything at XTRA other than their operating certificate.

    Initially it might have been naïve comments by their leadership. However, now it appears that it is something other than that.

    At first discussion, the XTRA and PEX folks were to form one happy family according to PEX leaders. Shortly after this declaration, the PEX leadership then changed their conceptual presence and said that there would be no changes to XTRA, and that after the purchase there would be two entities operating under the TEM Enterprises banner, one d/b/a XTRA Airways as a charter carrier, and one d/b/a PEX as a scheduled carrier.

    Now I have heard from a future Dispatcher for PEX that they will start their employment with PEX in mid-July, and that PEX will do proving flights using a CRJ on PHF-PIT flights in July as well. This individual was prepared to give notice to their present employer. Maybe you might want to wait on that for just a moment.

    I wonder whose certificate they will use for these flights? The TEM Enterprises certificate has four B737-400 aircraft on it (recently reduced from five aircraft).

    In order to add another type of aircraft to a certificate there is a lot bureaucratic stuff that must be overcome with the FAA CMO. The FAA CMO for TEM is in Reno, NV. So, lets see what would be required by the FAA to add an additional aircraft type? An approved MTC Program, approved training manuals, approved operating manuals, approved, approved and then approved some more. And the timeline for the development and approval of all of this…….. Easily 6-12 months.

    So now I no longer believe they are being naïve. I believe it is arrogance. It appears that they actually believe that if they say they want to do it, that everyone else from the FAA to vendors will just line up and “rubber-stamp” their wishes. You would have thought their early-on experience in this area might have given them just a hint of insight? Guess not. Don’t order the Kool-Aid machine just yet…………

    If only it were that easy.

    Oh yeah, it is my belief that at their earliest opportunity PEX will shut-down XTRA. Their (PEX)loss as the folks at XTRA have remained a viable entity for over twenty-years. The PEX leadership has only dreamed of this viability.

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