Niagara Gazette

Local News

December 24, 2012

TOP 10: Direct Air ends service, strands passengers (No. 9)

Niagara Gazette — It was a jolt to the thoroughly positive image that the sparkling new Niagara Falls International Airport had projected for months.

Without any warning, Direct Air, a Myrtle Beach, S.C.-based carrier, suddenly stopped all its flight operations on March 13, stranding its passengers in the Falls and at numerous airports elsewhere in the nation. Two days later, it filed for bankruptcy.

One commissioner on the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority — the agency that runs both the Niagara Falls and Buffalo airports — said: “This abrupt interruption is like a black eye and I think that’s bad, particularly for those customers.”

When the airline did announce that it was suspending flights until May 15, thousands of passengers were left holding useless tickets. The shutdown dealt a severe blow,especially to families and students bound for spring-break vacations in the Sun Belt. At the time, the carrier had been serving 17 sites including the Falls, Myrtle Beach, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale.

Media across the nation complained it was virtually impossible to reach the airline officials for any comment. Most calls were answered by a recording that simply said all representatives were busy and that callers should check the company’s website for further information.

Direct Air Marketing officer Ed Warneck told a reporter that the carrier had missed a fuel bill. He also cited rising fuel costs as the prime reason for the non-payment.

Henry Sloma, former interim chairman and a current commission on the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority board, said he also had learned that a supplier refused to fuel the company’s aircraft. Shortly after the flight operations shutdown, it was disclosed that Direct Air owed the NFTA an estimated $80,000 for landing fees and other items.

“I feel badly for the people who had planned vacations and may be stuck in Florida or somewhere with this announcement,” Sloma added. Amidst the setback to the Falls airport, Sloma remained optimistic. “I think we’re on track. Carriers will come and go. That’s very common in the airline industry. We continue to market. We continue to do that.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
House Ads
AP Video
Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee Senators Push to End Hamas Threat in Cease-Fire A Young Victim's Premonition, Hug Before MH17 U.N. School in Gaza Hit by Israeli Strike Raw: Deadly Storm Hits Virginia Campground Officials Warn of Avoidable Death in Hot Cars Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' House Committee at Odds Over Obama Lawsuit Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands Raw: UN School Used As Shelter Hit by Tank Shell Raw: Gunmen Attack Iraqi Prison Convoy Plane Leaves Ukraine With More Crash Victims The Rock Brings Star Power to Premiere Raw: Families Travel to Taiwan Plane Crash Site Arizona Execution Takes Almost Two Hours Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page

Do you think cigarette sales to non-Native American customers should be taxed on reservations?

Yes. Items should be taxed like they are everywhere else.
No, the indian reservations are sovereign land and they are selling them on their land.
Not up to me. Native Americans decide the rules on their land.
Don't care. Smoking isn't good for you.
     View Results