The nostalgia associated with airlines from years-gone-by never seems to fade. Perhaps it is memories of classic airliners and white glove service; a time when people dressed up to fly that makes us cling to the past. Over the past decade we have seen a number of iconic airline names be given a new breath. Some of these have been success stories, others have stumbled reaching for a place to call their own and still others have come up for a breath and then sunken back into airline history.
Airlines like Pan Am have been reborn more than 5 times now, each sadly a failed attempt. Airlines like Eastern and National have been given new life and now aim their business plans to start with the charter operations before trying to go head to head with the major airlines in the US. Then there are upstairs like People Express which had high hopes but quickly shut its doors only months after operating its first flight last summer in 2014.
This week we found out about the possible resurrection of another classic airline: Northeast Airlines. They operated throughout the northeastern US while also connecting Florida destinations to their large operations in both Boston and New York. Northeast operated its trademarked two-tone “Yellowbird” aircraft from 1940 to 1972 until it finally was merged with Delta Airlines.
We reached out to Volare Group who currently owns the naming rights to the Northeast Airlines name. As with any new company a large amount of information on their planned operation is still not public, so with a number of questions we asked they were unable to elaborate on in detail. They have however already been working on their operating certificate with the FAA and FSDO, and hope to be operating in the next 12 months. They are following a safe path with intent to begin operations as a charter airline and then make their way into scheduled operations. For years, Volare Group has already had a long standing partnership and alliance with a number of tour operators, cruise lines and resorts. So, gaining passengers to fill their seats will probably be less of an issue as it is to most new airlines.
Their focus of operation is currently planned to follow their namesake and begin in the Northeast with operations commencing in Buffalo, New York to points south, with expectations of Florida destinations. Here they are hopeful to capitalize not just on the 1 million inhabitants of the metro area but also from the neighbors across the border to the North. It’s no secret that Canadians have begun to find it much cheaper to drive across the border and depart from the US to other points, than they do to leave directly from Canada. In addition to this, they are looking at the possibility of placing their call center in the Buffalo area.
While their preferred aircraft will be the Boeing 737-800 they are looking at the feasibility of starting with the B737-400, until their preferred aircraft becomes available through lease or purchase. Their current plans are for a two class layout with 32 inches in economy and 36 inches in the forward cabin. It is unknown if this means a First or Business Class cabin, or just a premium economy. Either way passengers should have a choice in paying for some extra space and amenities. While they plan to start operations in Buffalo, they are keeping their eyes open to other key cities that could at a later time become focus points of operation.
They have already made a decision on the uniform, and as you can see it stands out as timeless and classic with just the right touch of modern. Besides the uniforms, they are planning some unique things to make them stand out. One of the most noteworthy of these is that they plan on having a “Womens Only” restroom on-board the aircraft.
Northeast wants to focus too on fares that fit the everyday flier,
“Common fares, for the common good…”
Certainly an approach that will gain the interest of potential customers. That being said, they may be looking to follow a low cost operation of business. While there is no word if there will be TVs in the seatbacks they are planning to have Wi-Fi and there will be handheld tablets preloaded with games for the youngsters. They are also interested in taking a different route when it comes to food and hope to serve healthy food options. That includes edible organic options, and fruit juices. While we’re not sure where this fits in, there are even plans for apple martinis being served on board.
While they still may be in the planning stages of operating, this resurrection of a classic airline looks like it could be something big. It certainly is something to keep your eye on for the future.