New Salt Lake-based airline taking off with cheap fares



    A new Salt Lake-based airline is trying to break into the market with flights from the Long Beach Airport.

    Winair airlines started flying commercial flights a month ago and so far, business looks promising.

    “We’ve been up about a month. We’re very pleased with that month,” said Kelly Archibald, marketing director for Winair.

    Jenny Van Wagenen, 20, a junior majoring in business management from San Marino, Calif., flew Winair during Winair’s first month of business. She said she chose Winair because of the cheap fares but she could tell the company had some things to work out.

    “They fly at weird times, right in the middle of rush hour,” Van Wagenen said. “When we flew they were still working out a lot of kinks. Our flights were really late and we never got there on time.”

    Currently, Winair offers point to point flights from Long Beach to Salt Lake City, Seattle, Las Vegas, Sacramento and Oakland with introductory rates as low as $39 each way.

    The airline’s hub is in Long Beach even though the company’s headquarters is in Salt Lake. This is because the city approached Winair with an offer.

    “Long Beach has been kind of empty for a while. They have 29 remaining slots which we’ve purchased,” Archibald said. “We feel we have a niche as far as Long Beach goes.”

    Archibald said the city of Long Beach has spent a lot of money cleaning itself up. The city is cleaner and there are more interesting sites to see in Long Beach lately, Archibald said. She also said the Long Beach Airport is a wonderful alternative to LAX.

    “People pay an extra $30 to $200 to fly out of John Wayne because they hate LAX,” Archibald said. Long Beach airport is also the closest airport to Disneyland and downtown Los Angeles. The other airport necessities are also more convenient, Archibald said.

    Van Wagenen said the Long Beach Airport was easier to handle. “It was smaller and you got your bags faster and parking was cheaper,” she said.

    “The rental cars are literally a stone’s throw away and the baggage terminal is 15 feet from the gates,” Archibald said.

    Locally, Winair wants to appeal to the business class and students, said Trajan Bayly, sales and marketing representative.

    “We’ve done a majority of our advertising in The Daily Universe because of the strong California presence there,” Bayly said.

    Though the first month has been good, it has not been complaint free.

    “There’s always complaints, but on the whole we’ve had a positive experience,” Archibald said. At the Long Beach Airport, there is a full-time employee who takes local calls about too much noise from specific airlines, Archibald said. During the first month, Winair did not receive one noise complaint due to modern hush-kits on Winair planes, which is unprecedented in the industry, Archibald said.

    Van Wagenen said her parents didn’t like the flight because at times, the airline seemed unorganized and unprofessional.

    Winair has until March to fill all 29 slots with their flights at the Long Beach Airport before the slots become available to competitors. Right now, the company is focusing on filling those to build business for expansion, Archibald said.

    When asked if Van Wagenen would fly Winair again she said she would because the company still had the cheapest fares. If the fares were comparable to others, she would choose another airline, she said.

    The company was organized in July, 1997. At that time, Winair flew only charter flights carrying the likes of the Utah Jazz, BYU athletic teams, University of Utah athletic teams and others, Bayly said. The first non-charter flight was Nov. 2.

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