ViaAir Sold To Atlanta Charter Flight Broker

ViaAir is no longer flying scheduled services. Recently, ViaAir was acquired by Ashley Air, an Atlanta-based charter operator. This new owner will integrate ViaAir’s operations and focus on stabilizing business going forward.

Via Air
ViaAir, after facing financial difficulties, has now been acquired by Ashley Air. Photo: Via Air

ViaAir’s financial troubles

Back in May, Simple Flying reported on ViaAir’s financial troubles. A severe pilot shortage struck the operator, who was forced to cancel their final scheduled routes. Unfortunately, this left some passengers stranded.

Simple Flying reached out to ViaAir regarding their operations. The carrier indicated that, instead of operating scheduled routes with passengers, they were seeking charter operations. However, it appears that those plans did not work out for ViaAir.

Via Air Planes
Via Air operated a small fleet of regional jets. Photo: Wikimedia/ViaAir

ViaAir’s sale

CH-Aviation reports that ViaAir has been sold to Ashley Air, an Atlanta-based charter broker. They do not offer scheduled passenger routes, rather Ashley Air works with customers to tailor a private jet experience. For passengers who want a more complete experience, they can also work to get vacation packages that include cruises and excursions.

How does ViaAir fit in?

At first glance, ViaAir doesn’t seem to fit well into Ashley Air’s business plan. For a start, Ashley Air caters to high-end travelers, while ViaAir offered low-cost flights on regional jets. At the end of their business, they only operated E120 turboprops and E145 jets.

ViaAir Interior
The interior of a ViaAir jet. Photo ViaAir

CH-Aviation reports that Ashley Air’s CEO had the following to say about acquiring ViaAir:

“Our first order of business is to expound on Via Airlines’ operational capabilities with a significant capital infusion to maximise its potential, satisfy the market and eventually expand to the hundreds of communities that desperately need direct air service”

The future

Based on the above statement, it seems that ViaAir’s operations will work in tandem with Ashley Air. Perhaps Ashley Air could use their new acquisition for Essential Air Service operations to underserved communities. If Ashley Air finds a way to combine low-cost air travel with hotel and experience packages, there could be a way for this model to be successful – especially if Orlando operations are resumed. For example, here are some of ViaAir’s former routes from Orlando:

Via Air routes from Orlando
ViaAir operated only a few routes out of Orlando. Rendering courtesy of Great Circle Mapper

Overall

ViaAir is no longer operating scheduled passenger flights. Instead of pursuing charter operations, it seems that this acquisition will give ViaAir a little more life. Looking ahead, Ashley Air could extend their vacation packages for low-cost travel. For example, Ashley Air could pair ViaAir flights with vacation packages to destinations like Disneyworld.

DIsneyworld
Perhaps Ashley Air could sell vacation packages for Disneyworld in Orlando. Photo: Roger Ahlbrand via Flickr

What do you make of this latest acquisition? Would you purchase ViaAir tour packages through Ashley Air? Let us know in the comments!

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