Two weeks ago I wrote that Via Air hadn’t shown up at an airport they were supposed to fly to and no one knew why. The Downtown Mobile airport in Alabama couldn’t even get hold of them to find out why.
Last summer I discovered that Via Air was the worst airline in America with an F-rating from the Better Business Bureau and 71% of their TripAdvisor reviews poor or terrible, compared to 27% for Allegiant, 26% for United and 6% for Southwest.
Now it appears that airline has shut down its commercial service entirely, with the exception of a single route. The airline is blaming a lack of pilots. Two weeks ago they also blamed the FAA for “slower and more methodical” oversight following the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX, an aircraft Via Air did not operate.
Lack of pilots might have been a credible explanation for not expanding, or scaling back on some flights. It hardly does the job explaining the elimination of service at 14 of 16 remaining airports, and offering only four scheduled flights a week.
Credit: Via Air
There’s no statement on the airline’s website about the shut down. Every flight I could think to check shows up as cancelled.
The Austin airport’s website shows several Via Air flights still operating, but Via Air’s website shows each as cancelled.
Although there are no new press releases on the Via Air website, or notices of any kind, it doesn’t appear to be possible to book a flight online — except for the Jackson, Mississippi to Orlando Sanford route.
Via Air had moved from public charter operations to running commercial Essential Air Service subsidized flights out of Beckley and Parkersburg, West Virginia to Charlotte in 2014. They also ran unsubsidized flights from Beckley and Parkersburg to St. Augustine, Florida.
The Florida-based carrier then expanded operations and grew to a fleet of 6 fifty seat Embraer ERJ-145s and 4 thirty seat EMB-120 Brasilia turboprops.
I warned potential passengers in the past that I’d be skeptical buying tickets on Via Air. Some passengers appear to have been stranded reportedly without promised refunds. Then again they hadn’t been providing promised refunds or compensation even when they were still trying to operate a full schedule.