Airport Seeks Settlement With Skybus

GUILFORD COUNTY --

The relationship between the Piedmont Triad Airport Authority and Skybus Airlines Inc. has descended from smiles and handshakes to consulting with attorneys.

The governing board of Piedmont Triad International Airport voted Tuesday to authorize its legal counsel to try to settle a bankruptcy case between the airport and the defunct discount airline.

The decision came after a closed session discussion following the authority's monthly meeting in the board room at PTIA. A year and a half ago, airport officials and representatives of Skybus, which was based in Columbus, Ohio, celebrated the announcement that Skybus would make PTIA its second hub-type operation.

By early 2008, Skybus was providing about 18 daily flights and provided PTIA its first direct service to the West Coast.

But on April 4, 2008, Skybus announced with little public notice that it would cease flying immediately, leaving thousands of passengers in the lurch and about 100 employees at PTIA without paychecks. Skybus filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware on April 5, 2008.

An updated bankruptcy court filing indicates that the authority wants Skybus to pay $358,634 in claims.

Authority Chairman Henry Isaacson said Tuesday he and other airport officials aren't discussing monetary figures because of the effort to reach a settlement.

The largest part of the claim sought by the authority from Skybus is for outstanding lease obligations, according to the bankruptcy filing.

The lease obligations total $337,726, according to the filing.

Other claims include more than $19,000 for walkways that the airport secured for Skybus jets and about $1,300 for catering expenses related to Skybus, the filing indicates.

This article appeared in Tuesday's edition of the High Point Enterprise.

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