State looks skyward with new incentives; If Skybus adds jobs, the state may pay it $3.9 million, unusual for a new company

State officials Monday promised a $3.9 million incentives grant to a fledgling airline. The decision, a shift for one of North Carolina's most lucrative incentives programs, could hurt the airports in Raleigh and Charlotte. Skybus...


The Triad, though, is trying to build an industry cluster around air travel. A planned FedEx hub expected to open in 2009 is at the heart of that effort.

DISCOUNT CARRIER PICKS NORTH CAROLINA

Skybus Airlines agreed to make the Triad a base for its operations after North Carolina and community officials promised incentives, including a $3.9 million grant from the state. Here's more on Skybus and what it has planned.

Headquarters: Columbus, Ohio; Top executive: Bill Diffenderffer, CEO

Business: Founded in 2004, Skybus is a discount airline that charges as little as $10 for tickets. It charges fees for every other service, including baggage check and in-flight food, and supplements revenue by selling cabin space to advertisers. It began operations in May.

Risks: Skybus is trying a new business model in a volatile, difficult industry. Investors include investment bank Morgan Stanley.

FLIGHT PLANS

Skybus is expected to create 375 jobs in the Triad, mostly for pilots and flight attendants. Next year, it will begin new air service.

Beginning Jan. 6 A second daily flight to Columbus.

Beginning Jan. 15 Two daily flights to Portsmouth, N.H.; two daily flights to Punta Gorda, Fla.; one daily flight to St. Augustine, Fla.

Beginning Jan. 17 One daily flight to: Fort Lauderdale; Gulfport, Miss.; Chicopee, Mass.

Beginning Feb. 25 One daily flight to Burbank, Calif.

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