December 6, 2012

Portland startup airline gets FAA's OK for passenger service

An Elite Airways spokesman says a number of airport officials have approached the airline about serving their markets in the Northeast and Southeast.

By Edward D. Murphy emurphy@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

PORTLAND - Elite Airways has received its Federal Aviation Administration certification and is operating charter flights while exploring options for scheduled service between airports in the Northeast and Southeast.

click image to enlarge

Elite Airways' currently uses two 50-seat CRJ-200 regional jets like this to operate charter flights for college sports teams. The airline is hoping to add a 70-seat regional jet and a Boeing jet, either a 737 or 757.

Courtesy photo

"We've been working on it for more than five years -- that's how long it takes" to get certification, said David Dow, director of sales for the Portland-based airline.

Dow said Elite currently operates charter flights for college sports teams on two of its 50-seat regional jets. The airline hopes to soon add a 70-seat regional jet and a Boeing jet, either a 737 or 757, he said.

The airline also hopes to announce scheduled service in the next couple of months, Dow said, with secondary airports in the Northeast and Southeast likely to get service. That means flights to Florida, for instance, would likely be to an airport in Melbourne, on the state's east coast, rather than Orlando.

Melbourne, Dow said, is underserved, even though it is only about an hour's drive to Orlando and close to Port Canaveral, where a number of cruise lines operate.

Although the airline is headquartered in Portland, Elite hasn't made any decisions about cities where it will operate in the Northeast, Dow said.

He said a number of airport officials have approached the airline about serving their markets.

Staff Writer Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:

emurphy@pressherald.com

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