Punta Gorda is getting flight from Portsmouth; Skybus adds New Hampshire flights to ones between Charlotte and Columbus, Ohio

Less than a week after the super-economy airline returned commercial passenger service to Charlotte County Airport for the first time in 23 years, Skybus has added a second destination: Portsmouth, N.H.

Nonstop service between Portsmouth and Punta Gorda and Portsmouth and St. Augustine will begin on Dec. 17, the company announced Tuesday. Meanwhile, Skybus' twice-daily, round-trip, nonstop flights to the airline's Columbus hub are scheduled to begin Dec. 5.

Bill Diffenderffer, the airline's chief executive, said the company also is looking at adding a third destination from Charlotte County in the future.

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

"We really like the whole Punta Gorda area and we're very happy with how those flights are booking," Diffenderffer said. "When you have an airport so well situated between Sarasota and Fort Myers you can really cover the whole Southwest Florida coast."

The early flight from New Hampshire will leave Portsmouth at 11:02 a.m. and arrive in Punta Gorda at 2:31 p.m. The return flight leaves Portsmouth at 2:56 p.m. and arrives Portsmouth at 5:49 p.m.

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 at $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.

Portsmouth has been a very good destination from Columbus, and bringing service to Florida already is paying off, Skybus spokesman Bill Tenenbaum said.

"There is a very strong market to the Boston area and New Hampshire -- and even southern Maine -- to Florida."