Airlines Promote Routes, Fares in Wake of Independence Air Failure

Hours after pilots parked the last Independence Air jet at Washington Dulles International Airport, some carriers on Friday were touting expanded service and fare sales for discount-minded travelers in the bankrupt airline's market.

JetBlue pushed a $25 one-way fare on its new route between Dulles and Boston beginning Jan. 17. The special price is for customers who buy tickets by Jan. 10 and travel by Feb. 15. US Airways said it was cutting by 40 percent its fares between Washington and Boston and Washington and New York. Southwest Airlines promoted a systemwide fare sale with flights beginning at $49 one way.

Spirit Airlines, which serves Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, said it is considering adding discount service to some markets once served by Independence Air.

Independence Air flew across the East Coast and into major cities on the West Coast before financial problems led it to cut back on some routes.

The airline, which employed about 2,700 people, began service from Dulles on June 16, 2004. It filed for bankruptcy protection in November and, failing to find a major investor or a buyer, halted passenger operations Thursday night.

Its fleet of 42 planes - a dozen 132-seat Airbus A-319 jetliners and 30 smaller 50-seat Bombardier CRJ jets - were parked in hangers or on storage surfaces at Dulles, its hub. The aircraft awaited liquidation with other company assets subject to the approval of a federal bankruptcy judge.


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