photo by Drewski2112Minneapolis-based charter carrier Champion Air has announced that it will end operations on May 31, after 11 years of flying. “This is a sad day for the entire Champion family,” said Champion President and CEO Lee Steele. He went on to say that Champion's "business model is no longer viable in a world of $110 oil, a struggling economy and rapidly changing demand for our services" and that "the management team and our board of directors have decided that the best course of action is to cease flying and to wind up our operations in a responsible, deliberate manner.”
Steele said that the airline was experiencing a "perfect storm" from a slow economy and the current state of credit markets, which had a "negative impact" on the airline's attempts to attract investors.
Champion's end marks not only the end of the airline but also for Boeing 727 passenger service in the US (Champion operates a fleet of 16 Boeing 727-200s). This announcement comes just days after Aloha Airlines' surprise shutdown, which also meant that another 'old-style' airplane, the Boeing 737-200, left US scheduled passenger service.