DALLAS – Today in Aviation, US low-cost carrier PEOPLExpress (V2) MK. II was launched at a press conference at Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport (PHF), Virginia, US, the carrier’s new base, in 2012.
The PEOPLExpress brand was reincarnated from the US airline that operated between 1981 and 1987. Once the fifth-largest domestic airline in the country, the original PEOPLExpress revolutionized aviation in the 1980s.
Management, including Michael Morsi from the original airline, hoped that reviving the brand would bring the “unique spirit of innovation to address today’s market needs.”
A New Look
PEOPLExpress MK. II retained the iconic double-face logo on the tail. But the brown and beige tones of the original airline were replaced with a fresh green color scheme.
The first aircraft to receive the new livery was Boeing 737-400 (N745VA). Plans were that V2 would operate four 737s in a two-class, 150-seat configuration. Economy had 138 seats, plus 12 ‘Living Large’ seats featuring more room for a fee.
On June 30, 2014, V2 took to the skies for the first time from PHF to Boston (BOS), New York (EWR) and Pittsburgh (PIT). Delays with acquiring its operating certificate led to the pushback of the operational start date. Subsequently, all flights would be operated by charter carrier Vision Airlines (V2).
However, on September 26, 2014, the airline suspended operations. Management cited crew and maintenance issues and planned to return to the skies from October 15. But in November, PEOPLExpress was evicted from PHF due to over $100,000 of unpaid fees.
In a final twist in the saga, Michael Morisi pleaded guilty to fraud and tax evasion charges concerning the carrier’s collapse in July 2019. He was subsequently jailed for two years in February 2020.