Skybus reorganizes new Charlotte flights; Adding a third nonstop to Columbus, but making cuts to other destinations

Skybus Airlines plans to add a third nonstop flight between Columbus, Ohio, and Charlotte County Airport beginning Jan. 6.

The company's already announced twice-daily, round-trip, nonstop flights to the airline's Columbus hub are scheduled to begin Dec. 5.

The airline, which just arrived in Southwest Florida last month, also said Tuesday that it was discontinuing service to Bellingham, Wash., and San Diego, and cutting one of two daily flights to Burbank, Calif.

The super-economy airline said that service to Bellingham and the one flight to Burbank would end Jan. 6. The San Diego service will end March 7.

"Based primarily on the sharp increase in the cost of jet fuel, we needed to take a look at our scheduling strategy and find ways to use our fleet more effectively to serve more passengers in more cities," Skybus chief executive Bill Diffenderffer said Tuesday in a statement.

"Within the next few weeks, we will be making significant announcements about even more service expansions that will strengthen and broaden our route structure to meet what has been heavier-than-expected demand."

The airline said that customers holding reservations on discontinued flights to Bellingham would be given full refunds. Passengers on the discontinued Burbank flights will automatically be rebooked on the remaining Skybus flight, and will be given the option to change their reservation without charge or request a refund.

No seats have been sold to San Diego past March 6.

In September, Skybus added Portsmouth, N.H., as another destination from Charlotte County, which has landed its first commercial service in 23 years. The Portsmouth service also is scheduled to start on Dec. 5.

Ticket sales in and out of Charlotte County Airport have been promising so far, the airline said.

Skybus is an ultra low-cost carrier, meaning passengers pay for everything from early boarding to beverages, food and gifts during the flights. At least 10 seats will be available for $10 on every flight, every day.

The new routes, like all Skybus flights, will be operated on full-size Airbus A319 jets seating up to 166 passengers.