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Skybus Still Without FAA Certification

Skybus, the low-fare airline based in Columbus, is only 12 days away from lift-off. Even though the company has sold more than 200-thousand tickets, it has not yet received final certification from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Skybus still does not have its Air Carrier Operating Certificate from the FAA. The airline will need it by May 22nd, the day it's scheduled to begin transporting passengers. But the situation is not unusual, according to FAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Cory.

"Things are going according to plan," Cory says. "And that's all we can say right now, it's still in process."

That process, Cory says, takes months. On Tuesday a Skybus executive said the carrier's flagship, The Spirit of Columbus, was on a proving run. FAA inspectors examined the crew's compliance with air traffic rules, their performance, and cabin safety requirements, according to Cory.

"When that certificate is finally stamped signed and given to the carrier, the traveling public can be assured that this is a safe operation and we intend to keep it that way," Cory says. "And that's something we do as long as the carrier is in existence."

"When will the FAA grant or deny the ability of Skybus to carry passengers?"

"I wouldn't want to speculate on that."

"Will it be before May 22nd?"

"[I]couldn't say."

"What happens if people have tickets for May 22nd and the FAA hasn't approved the airline?"

"Oh, the carrier could always lease aircraft and crew from an existing certificate holder so that's not unusual," Cory says.

In early April, the U.S.Department of Transportation gave Skybus a waiver to begin selling tickets. DOT says Skybus is "economically fit." It noted on April 6th that the FAA believed Skybus had made "satisfactory progress towards certification."