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All she needs is money. . . .

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Well-known member
Mar 14, 2003
Ambition takes flight
Don't try to toss cold water on her plans for airline
By Jane Roberts
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
psysix....You've been at flightinfo for 2 days and you already have 41 post!?!?!? Busy-body!
By the way the airline doesn't exist yet!!
"$30k/yr. as 737 Capt.? Signe me up. Can't wait to make it to the big time!"


90% of the Aviation grads in the past two years. :rolleyes:
I heard they're also buying E190's . . . .
$10/hour F/O. . . .
psysix said:
Do they have any west coast bases?

What's the QOL like at Victory airlines?
Dude, shut up already with the stupid questions. In two days you've made 47 completely worthless, crap posts... are you intentionally trying to look like an idiot?

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