Low-cost carrier Skybus files for bankruptcy

/ Source: The Associated Press

Skybus Airlines has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, becoming the third airline in less than three weeks to fail.

The low-cost carrier filed papers in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware Saturday night, Skybus spokesman Bob Tenenbaum said.

The Columbus-based airline was known for its $10 fares and a la carte, pay-per-service flying. Like other airlines, it has struggled with rising fuel prices and a slowing economy.

Skybus declared bankruptcy less than a year after beginning service. Its final flight landed in Columbus early Saturday.

Port Columbus International Airport invested millions in terminal improvements tailored to the airline. Skybus made 74 daily flights to 15 U.S. cities and had about 350 employees in Columbus and another 100 at a second hub at Piedmont-Triad International airport in Greensboro, N.C.

The Columbus airport now has five open gates, an unused ticket counter and some soon-to-be-emptied offices, airport spokeswoman Angie Neal said. Skybus planes were parked at some of the airport's gates Monday, she said.

In its nine-page filing, the airline reported liabilities of $50 million to $100 million and listed assets of $100 million to $500 million. Skybus said it has more than 200 creditors.

Skybus pulled the plug less than two weeks after Chief Executive Bill Diffenderffer resigned to pursue a book-writing career. He was succeeded by Michael Hodge, the company's chief financial officer for the past year.

The announcement adds to a string of bad news for airlines, which have been hurt by a slowing economy, high fuel prices and maintenance concerns.

Aloha Airlines filed for bankruptcy protection March 20 and ATA Airlines followed last week.