Hooters Air
Alyson Aliano  /  Redux Pictures file
Bob Brooks, CEO of Hooters chain of restaurants, is pictured on the inaugural flight of Hooters Air. "The flying industry is in a terrible mess. ... I've got a fair amount of money, but I don't have enough to fix this animal," Brooks said Wednesday.
updated 3/29/2006 5:31:58 PM ET 2006-03-29T22:31:58

Hooters Air, which featured women in orange short-shorts and tight T-shirts on flights, will be grounded beginning next month except for private charters out of Winston-Salem, N.C.

Bob Brooks, chairman of the Hooters restaurant chain, and president Mark Peterson told The (Myrtle Beach) Sun News for a story Wednesday that the company will focus on charters for tour groups and sports teams.

"The flying industry is in a terrible mess. ... I've got a fair amount of money, but I don't have enough to fix this animal," Brooks told the newspaper. "Now I think the best thing we can do is basically put it to bed, at least for right now, until the industry changes."

Hooters Air, which last summer served 15 destinations including non-stop flights to the Bahamas has been suspending and canceling flights since Christmas. Its Web site shows it as having three Boeing aircraft.

Industry analysts have said problems for the Myrtle Beach-based airline range from a highly competitive low-fare airline industry to rising fuel prices.

A woman who answered the phone at the airline's Myrtle Beach office said neither Brooks nor Peterson would give interviews and referred The Associated Press to The Sun News article. A woman who answered the airline's customer service line said Hooters would take reservations until April 17. Neither woman would give her name.

Peterson told the newspaper that some of the roughly 350 employees in Winston-Salem will be laid off, but he didn't say how many.

Brooks bought Pace Airlines in 2002 and launched its first scheduled flights from Myrtle Beach to Atlanta on March 6, 2003.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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