Defunct airline PeoplExpress eyes fresh start, route to Palm Beach International Airport

Airport stresses more flights, tourism dollars

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Flying out of Palm Beach International Airport might soon get easier thanks to an old airline from the 1980s.

PeoplExpress Airlines announced it's coming back into business and is choosing PBIA as a flight destination target.

"My first question was,'The PeoplExpress?'" said Michael Simmons, finance and administration director at Palm Beach International Airport.

It is technically not the original PeoplExpress that was absorbed in the late 1980s by Continental Airlines.

The reusing of the name came about when some former employees of PeoplExpress and some new airline hopefuls got together and decided it would be wise to use a brand with some familiarity.

"When a carrier starts a new market, especially a new carrier, other airlines start looking at that and say what are we missing," said Simmons.

Simmons said the move might not only help restore PBIA back to busier days, but the effects go beyond the tarmac.

"It means those visitors are going to come here and spend money and the money will stay right here within the county," said Sophie Gaeta at the Palm Beach County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Gaeta said just one new flight per day, amount to about $13 million dollars of tourism spending a year.

Some question the timing of the launch given many companies in the airline industry are cutting back or merging.

"If you think about buying low and selling high in the financial world, it's kind of the same situation. Things ebb and flow and we're at a low point," said Cristine DeZarn, PeoplExpress Airlines.

DeZarn said it is the perfect opportunity and place to take off again.

The specific routes have not been written in stone. PeoplExpress said the destinations it is zoning in on are Pittsburg, Newark and Providence.

Once a plan gets off the ground, one-way flights could start at $69 per ticket.

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