Jaunted: First can you fill us in on Jet America/Project New Horizons? Where will it fly? What individuals and groups are backing it?
Matt Ballard: Charleston, West Virginia is one of several bases they are planning to fly out of. Unfortunately I cannot share with you who the investors are at this time other than our organization which will invest $200,000, the Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau which will invest $500,000 and the Kanawha County Conventions and Visitors Bureau which will invest $500,000.
Jaunted: The folks behind the project have already raised $3 million in seed capital and are shooting for $40 million now, correct? What's the next step after that?
Matt Ballard: $40 million is the low end of what needs to be raised.
Jaunted: Is there any apprehension about the airline, given Independence Air's rapid rise and fall?
Matt Ballard: New Horizons is based on Ryanair and Air Asia business models, two of the most consistently profitable airlines in the world. It's a totally different model than Independence Air which was more of a legacy hub-and-spoke model. [Ed. Note: John Weikle says the same thing]
Jaunted: We've heard that Jet America could be flying by the end of this year. Does that seem likely to you?
Matt Ballard: Not true. New Horizons will not fly before late 2009.
Jaunted: Any idea on which cities the new airline could serve? If you can't reveal them now, when should we expect an announcement about that?
Matt Ballard: Their route map will not be announced until a couple of months before their first flight.
Jaunted: There's a lot of speculation on this project. Have you seen anything reported about it that's not entirely accurate?
Matt Ballard: There have been many inaccurate claims and statements made about this project.
· Yeager LCC Will Be Called Jet America [Jaunted]
· Top Secret Airline Watch: Details Emerging on Project New Horizons [Jaunted]
· Jaunted Interviews coverage [Jaunted]