Beginning Sunday, there will be a new kid on the airline block. Kansas City-based Vanguard Airlines will begin service in the Beehive State with flights between Salt Lake City and Kansas City with a stop in Denver.
The Deseret News reported Oct. 26 that the airline planned to begin service Nov. 15. However, the Salt Lake start-up was delayed because it took longer than anticipated to complete the FAA-approval process.Vanguard steps up to bat as a low-fare carrier on the Salt Lake-Denver route recently abandoned by Morris Air (after its takeover by Southwest) and Continental Airlines.
One-way fares between Salt Lake City and Denver will be $65 on weekdays and $45 on weekends. One-way fares between Salt Lake City and Kansas City will be $115 weekdays and $85 on weekends.
"These are our only fares. We will offer them on every seat, on every flight, on every day. We require no advance purchase or minimum stay," said Vanguard President and CEO Bob McAdoo in a telephone press conference from Kansas City Friday afternoon. "We offer low fares to those people who are price sensitive."
The service, he said, "will look a lot like Southwest's." Vanguard's break-even load will be "in the 50 percent range."
Denver-bound flights will leave Salt Lake International at 9:30 a.m. and 5:50 p.m. The airline says it will add another flight Dec. 26 with a 3:05 p.m. departure time.
Delta Air Lines, which has five daily non-stops between Salt Lake City and Denver, says it will remain competitive. "We always welcome competition in any market we serve," said Tom Lazour, Delta's manager of corporate communications. "We will remain competitive in the marketplace."
Currently, Delta has a 21-day, advance-purchase fare of $190 roundtrip for the Salt Lake City-Denver route.
Vanguard has its eye on routes not yet served by a low-fare carrier. "We are going to be aggressive in markets that Southwest hasn't been involved in," said McAdoo.
"I know what the Denver/Salt Lake market can do. I was the corporate controller for Texas International Airlines and we came to Salt Lake with a `Peanuts' fare. We had a tremendous market in both business and leisure travelers. The Denver/Salt Lake market is a huge market."
What has the public's response been so far? "Before we even announced we were in business, our reservations office was getting 500 calls a day. We hadn't even put our first ad in a paper."
Vanguard will use "peak" and "off-peak" pricing. Peak flights depart weekdays before 7 p.m. and off-peak flights depart on weekends or after 7 p.m. on weekdays. The lower-quoted fares are for off-peak flights.
It will fly used Boeing 737s with 128 seats - all in coach. The planes have been overhauled and the interiors have been refurbished. The planes' exteriors are gray with a purple "V" on the tail.
Hudson General Corp., the company that handled baggage and other ground services for Morris Air, will do the same for Van-guard.
Vanguard Airlines is privately owned.
Only a buck
Vanguard Airlines is offering an introductory fare of $1 each way on its nonstop flights Sunday, Dec. 4, and Monday, Dec. 5.
The offer is available only if you make reservations.
Call 355-9800, 1-800-VANGUARD or your travel agent.