Skybus Airlines received another boost in ticket sales when it added more than two months to its flight schedule last week.
The carrier sold 30,000 tickets within the first four hours, Chief Executive Bill Diffenderffer said, representing about 10 percent of the tickets the airline had sold since sales began in April.
Diffenderffer, during a talk yesterday before the Metropolitan Club, acknowledged that the startup has been rocky at times.
"Our on-time performance wasn't what we wanted it to be for the first couple of weeks, and we admit it," Diffenderffer said.
The airline has been improving and has beaten the industry average for on-time performance the past two weeks, he said. He also stressed that Skybus has never canceled a flight, unlike virtually all the major airlines, which have seen significant cancellations and delays this summer.
Elaine Roberts, chief executive of the Columbus Regional Airport Authority, said Port Columbus is on track to have 8 million travelers for the first time. She said added traffic from Skybus and other airlines is making the airport authority rethink plans to wait until 2015 to add a second airport terminal.
Asked what Skybus would look like in five years, Diffenderffer said it will look much the same here in Columbus, but with more destinations. Additional "focus cities" will be added, he said, with direct flights to other cities served by the fleet of 65 planes that Skybus expects will start being delivered by Airbus late next year.
An audience member asked whether Skybus would add flights to Naples, Fla. Diffenderffer replied that they are asked about a Naples flight "20 times a day." Although he declined to elaborate on specific plans, Skybus has been talking with the small Punta Gorda airport north of Fort Myers, about an hour's drive northwest of Naples.
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