Very interesting article in the Dispatch a few weeks ago about how Skybus manages to keep its fleet in the air at all times. Pretty impressive.
It’s not hard for the boss of the fifth-largest and fastest-growing airline at Port Columbus to count the number of planes in his fleet.
He can do it on one hand.
Five planes are all it takes for Skybus Airlines to offer 14 departures to 11 cities from Port Columbus a day, a schedule that’s attracting more than 80,000 passengers a month.
While the fact might be hard to believe, airline officials say operating lean is a way to keep costs to a minimum.
“Airplanes don’t make money sitting on the ground,” said Bill Diffenderffer, Skybus’ CEO. “The only way an airplane makes money is when it’s in the air, flying in a straight line to its destination.”
Skybus serves most cities with once-daily flights. However, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Burbank, Calif. (serving Los Angeles), and Portsmouth, N.H., (serving Boston) have two flights per day. That brings the number of daily one-way trips to 28.
As Skybus adds destinations in the coming weeks, it plans to continue flying with as few planes as possible.
Toney Quillen, vice president of maintenance and engineering for Skybus, said the airline’s planes get more hours of use per day — an average of 13.2 — than those of virtually any other airline in the world.