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Patrick Swayze Hosts His Own Airport Photo Shoot

August 14, 2008 at 3:15 PM | by | ()

Patrick Swayze took over Gary/Chicago International on Wednesday to shoot an episode of his new show "The Beast." So far, we haven't seen any photos of him goofing off at GYY.

And the airport director says they aren't just filming inside:

I think they're using one of the repossessed planes we have out there, I think an older 737, for their shoot.

Luckily Swayze won't have to deal with passengers begging for autographs: GYY hasn't had commercial service since Skybus went bust back in April.

Related Stories:
· Gary Airport Offers Setting for Swayze [Post-Tribune, via]
· Very Funny, Johnny Castle, Now Get Back to Work [Jaunted]

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Viva Aerobus Update: "Madness" in Austin

May 27, 2008 at 2:30 PM | by | ()

Relatively new Mexican LCC Viva Aerobus made its first flight into Austin, Texas on May 1, and the early reviews are fairly decent. And the airline is certainly thrilled, says a spokesman:

The Austin-Cancun route has been madness. We underestimated the potential of the American market.

Flights between AUS and CUN have been close to capacity all month, says the airline. (Maybe those promotional fares of $10 each way helped?) Monterrey has proven less popular, with only about 55 percent of the seats sold on a given flight.

Apparently unconcerned about fuel prices, Viva Aerobus is looking to expand to Chicago this summer and Las Vegas this fall. The carrier needs DOT approval first, and there's one other little problem at Gary/Chicago International: The airport still needs to build out an international arrivals gate and staff it with customs agents before Viva Aerobus lands at GYY.

Related Stories:
· $8.3M Needed to Make GYY "International" [NWI P-T]
· Gary Airport Keeps Hanging Hopes on LCCs [Jaunted]
· New Airlines: Que Onda, Viva Aerobus? [Jaunted]

[Photo: Charlie_tj]

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Gary Airport Keeps Hanging Hopes on LCCs

Where: 6001 W. Industrial Highway [map], Gary, IN, United States, 46406
May 12, 2008 at 2:15 PM | by | ()

Just a couple months ago, Gary/Chicago International was hyping Skybus as the spark that would turn the airport into the region's third air traffic hub. But the ultra-LCC only managed 23 days at GYY before flaming out, leaving the airport without a commercial carrier yet again.

Despite the setback, the airport is moving forward with a plan to link the South Shore Line commuter rail to the terminal, providing a seamless connection between GYY and downtown Chicago. That sort of easy-to-use public transportation is exactly what would make the airport a marketable alternative to O'Hare and Midway--if only passengers had the chance to use it.

The new Mexican LCC Viva Aerobus has applied to fly to Gary but can't start service to Monterrey until the DOT gives the OK. If and when that happens, maybe the combo of low fares and easy airport access will finally end the curse of the LCC at GYY. Or maybe not.

Related Stories:
· Airport Authority Outlines Train Station Plans [NWI Times]
· Skybus Travel: "Significant News Event" in Gary, Indiana Today [Jaunted]
· Bill Diffenderffer Says Skybus Is No Hooters Air [Jaunted]

[Photo: Google Maps]

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Skybus CEO "Respects" Southwest

January 28, 2008 at 9:45 AM | by | ()

When Skybus announced it would fly into Gary, Indiana, locals had more than a sideways glance for the ultra-no-frills airline. After all, they'd seen a number of carriers--including Hooters Air--come and go over the years. So Skybus CEO Bill Diffenderffer had some 'splaining to do when the Times of Northwest Indiana called up to chat about the airline's future plans.

The Skybus chief tells reporter Keith Benman that while Gary-Chicago International hasn't had much success with commercial airlines lately, the congestion at bigger airports that's recently strangled domestic service is making smaller airports more attractive. Diffenderffer says everyone benefits from fewer delays and smaller terminals: The airlines can turn planes around quickly and passengers don't have all the parking, security and baggage hassles of, say, O'Hare.

And while another low fare carrier you may have heard of, Southwest, is also operating out of a secondary Chicago-area airport, Midway, Skybus doesn't see them as the competition, Diffenderffer says:

What you'll find is that we actually don't fly against Southwest. We try to not fly against Southwest, because we respect them too much. What we want to fly against are the connections on 50-seat airlines.

Related Stories:
· Sorry No Phone, Just Cheap Seats [NWI Times]
· Skybus Announces Service to Gary, Indiana [Jaunted]
· The Skybus CEO Emails Us [Jaunted]
· Skybus coverage [Jaunted]

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Skybus Travel: "Significant News Event" in Gary, Indiana Today

January 9, 2008 at 8:00 AM | by | ()

Airport officials at Gary/Chicago International are hosting a press conference this morning at 10 am for "a significant news event." State Representative Charlie Brown (real name!) told The Times of Northwest Indiana that the airport will be announcing a deal with Skybus to start flights between GYY and Greensboro, North Carolina.

If the announcement comes through, this will be quite a move for Skybus. Gary airport is only a 27-mile drive from the very heart of Chicago, much closer to the city than say Stewart International is to New York. This will also be yet another route out of Skybus' new hub in North Carolina, probably to be operated with a newly delivered aircraft.

Skybus is certainly staying true to its new strategy of shorter flights, which don't burn tons of pricey fuel. But as a point-to-point airline still in the start-up stage, the 'bus is still hindered by limited destinations. To wit: For now, low fare fans in Chicagoland won't be flying direct to sunny Florida.

UPDATE: Skybus has officially announced Gary-Greensboro service. The airline has also confirmed what we expected: flights to Niagara Falls, New York and Wilmington, Delaware.

Related Stories:
· Skybus Airlines to Swoop into Gary [Times of NWI]
· The Skybus CEO Emails Us... and New Routes! [Jaunted]
· Skybus coverage [Jaunted]
· New Routes coverage [Jaunted]

[Photo: atlaviation]

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Skybus Double Dip: The CEO Emails Us... and New Routes!

January 7, 2008 at 10:30 AM | by | ()

We talk a lot about Skybus around here, and we've even gone so far to name the low cost carrier Best Travel Newcomer of 2007. All of which prompted Skybus CEO Bill Diffenderffer (at right in the photo) to write in to say hello. We've been hard on the airline in the past, but we've got nothing but respect for a guy who will reach out to tell his side of the story:

I was flattered and surprised that you selected Skybus as Best Travel Newcomer--whatever that means! I was surprised because most bloggers still don't understand our model. They want us to have help desks and generally behave in a manner similar to what they are used to (even though that model doesn't work very well). It is not possible to do that at the fares that we charge.

What Diffenderffer didn't mention were rumors that Skybus could soon announce service to "Philadelphia" (actually Wilmington, Delaware), "Chicago" (Gary, Indiana) and "Toronto" (Niagara Falls, New York, 80 miles away and in a different country). The carrier's been scouting Niagara Falls for months, so something's definitely shaking on that front.

Officials at the airports are staying mum, as is the airline's spokesman. But all three destinations would fit well into Skybus' model of smaller airports in outlying areas serving passengers who wouldn't normally have access to commercial flights. Here's hoping Diffenderffer emails us as soon as he's ready to confirm all three of the new cities.

Post-click, the full email from the Skybus CEO.

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