Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

northernbizzkit1

Victory!

Recommended Posts

This was a rather interesting article in the paper today. Wouldn't it be hilarious/amazing/great to see this airline start up and choose Memphis as its base? I would be so giddy! It would be amazing/my pipe dream to see Northwest continue its operations and then have this airline operate out of the C terminal or build a new terminal where the cargo slots by the C terminal are. IMO, it's either going to be this or Northwest if it came down to Memphis as the chosen city.

Ambition takes flight

Don't try to toss cold water on her plans for airline

By Jane Roberts

Contact

November 2, 2005

When Penelope Turnbow tells you her plans for starting Victory Airlines, save your breath on the airline doom and gloom stuff.

She's so far beyond that, you're going to end up feeling like a rain cloud on her sunny outlook.

It's partly because the industry is so desperate that she's pulling for Victory, the national airline she intends to launch in 2007, perhaps in Memphis, with 50 new Boeing 737s, her own cadre of "customer touch people" -- pilots, flight attendants and ticket agents -- and almost nothing else.

No computer system, no maintenance hangars, no mechanics -- and more to the point -- no tiered pricing strategies, cancellation fees or guessing if your ticket will the cost the same next month as it did this month.

It will, Turnbow says.

"People want to know when they are going, what they are going to pay and where they are going to sit. They want certainty."

If visitors looked dazed, she asks the next question. "If you have to go to

Nashville four days next week, will your ticket cost the same each day? Can you guarantee your bag won't get lost?"

They move in closer.

Turnbow "rejects" the concept of business and leisure travelers, saying simply, "I want what I want regardless of the reason I'm flying."

And if you need to change your flight? "You'll do that yourself, probably on your cell phone," she says. No charge.

"People think it's price, price, price. That's not what they told us," said Turnbow, 41, an entrepreneur since at least age 8 when she asked her father for a calculator for Christmas so she could help him add up his receipts instead of simply collecting them.

He owned Turnbow Trucking in Savannah, Tenn. She's not only the first in her family to graduate from college, she also earned a master's and a law degree -- all from the University of Memphis -- then joined the legal department at FedEx Corp., where she continued to steep herself in transportation and gathered a mantle of mentors around her.

Victory, she says, will meet needs of travelers in middle-class America in an industry that has not stratified to appeal to market segment, unlike automobile manufacturers, hospitality and retail.

Turnbow now needs to raise $100 million before the Department of Transportation will take her seriously. She refuses to say who her investors are, per Security and Exchange Commission rules, except that the deepest pockets have been in the Northeast.

"The whole concept of Victory is to innovate," she said. "We don't feel the industry has even started down that road."

Five years after the airline is funded, Turnbow expects to have 1,500 employees, flying "from Point A to Point B three or four times a day."

In the 18 months since she quit corporate attorney work to start Victory, she's interviewed "more than a thousand people" and bought enough consumer surveys to confirm that 18 percent of the traveling public wants a carrier like Victory.

Tickets would be sold on Victory's Web site and through travel agents but definitely not through Expedia.com and other sites that also happen to be owned by the major airlines.

Much of the labor would be sourced to U.S. contractors.

"We're not doing it to save costs. We're doing it because it allows us to take advantage of the deep experience at Boeing and the deep experience at Unisys," she says.

She has relationships with both companies, including plenty of discussions with Boeing, the company that would manufacture her planes.

While outsourcing is not new in aviation, niche marketing is new and looking smart, said David Treitel, president of SH&E International Air Transport consultants in New York.

"What we see happening in international markets is a very clear stratification," he said.

Two new airlines, Eos and Maxjet, are targeting business-class travelers in flights from New York and Washington to London's Stansted airport. Eos began flying in mid-October. Maxjet starts today.

"But in the domestic context, where you serve and what markets you're going to fly is critical," Treitel said.

Turnbow has identified 14 cities she says "would welcome our service in the United States because they are underserved or overpriced."

Memphis, she adds "needs more airlines serving this airport."

Turnbow is considering five cities as potential headquarters cities. Pittsburgh is one. Memphis is another.

Experts agree with Turnbow's industry assessments to a point.

"She has a point about certainty, and she has a point about outsourcing," said David Field, Americas editor of Airline Business. "But starting an airline is inherently risky under any circumstances, and now it's more risky than ever."

And it's not true that other airlines have not differentiated themselves, he said.

"JetBlue appeals to a hipper, slightly more sophisticated audience. AirTran doesn't tend to be as hip, but it has satellite radio."

The takeaway, he said, is that location and market share matter.

"JetBlue wouldn't have worked anywhere but New York because it has a larger demographic of people willing to pay more for style.

"You cannot forget the absolute fundamental basics; you've got to have a home base with lots of people who want to fly. Memphis and Pittsburgh don't have it," he said.

Turnbow is unfazed. With a management team of 17 hand-chosen "shareholders," including Philip Roberts, the well-known aviation economist who once directed travel for Ford Motor Co., and Kelly Cole, the onetime Turner Broadcasting producer and strategist behind Skechers shoes, she's pursuing investors, including Memphians.

"People have told me all my life to wait my turn," she says. "They say, 'When you're 40, you'll be ready.'

"Well, I was born 40, and I'm going to stay 40," she says with the confidence of a woman who learned as a kid how to back a semi-trailer tractor into a parking spot.

"All we need is money. Frankly, there's prejudice right now against this industry from the investment community," she said. "But we know there are people out there who see opportunity."

--Jane Roberts 529-2512

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Thats Awesome. I hope it actually happens.

Im not sure how they would have space there however. hmm oh well. lets see how it plays out

True...I think that if it would happen, Memphis would either become a regional hub for NW with a few mainlines to a few of the major business centers and still keep the Amsterdam flight and then this airline would operate as flights to all the major cities and perhaps Carribean destinations. If this were the scenario, I'd say that Northwest would focus all of its operations in the "B" and "A" concourses while Victory would take over concourse "C" and still share with American, US Airways, AirTran, Continental, and (by that time) JetBlue and Air Canada.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

True...I think that if it would happen, Memphis would either become a regional hub for NW with a few mainlines to a few of the major business centers and still keep the Amsterdam flight and then this airline would operate as flights to all the major cities and perhaps Carribean destinations. If this were the scenario, I'd say that Northwest would focus all of its operations in the "B" and "A" concourses while Victory would take over concourse "C" and still share with American, US Airways, AirTran, Continental, and (by that time) JetBlue and Air Canada.

I think Victory will be served well to base here. Room for expansion, great central location, the airport has phenomenal logistics and on-time performance. If it were a low-cost carrier, then there would be plenty of passengers returning to use MEM instead of Little Rock or Nashville.

Hopefully we can still keep NWA and bring in Jet Blue. I would like to see Pinnacle thrive as a regional carrier.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hopefully we can still keep NWA and bring in Jet Blue. I would like to see Pinnacle thrive as a regional carrier.

I hope that NWA looks at Victory as some inferior start-up and won't care if they based themselves in Memphis. I could see Pinnacle growing to be an Independence Air type (except without the financial troubles) with a very large network and some bigger planes like an ERJ-190. And yes...I'm thrilled about Jet Blue...I keep getting told that it's Spring of next year, so we shall see! I'd love to see a wave of new airlines enter the Memphis market...and have one hub itself here!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hope that NWA looks at Victory as some inferior start-up and won't care if they based themselves in Memphis. I could see Pinnacle growing to be an Independence Air type (except without the financial troubles) with a very large network and some bigger planes like an ERJ-190. And yes...I'm thrilled about Jet Blue...I keep getting told that it's Spring of next year, so we shall see! I'd love to see a wave of new airlines enter the Memphis market...and have one hub itself here!

I'd like to see a hub for a large airline and a headquarters for a startup.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.