Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman introduced the “The Spirit of Columbus”

During last year’s state of the city Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman announced plans for the city’s own airline. Wednesday, Coleman and airline investors introduced the first plane of Skybus’ fleet which is set to take off sometime this spring.

“The first plane is named the spirit of Columbus,” Coleman announced.

The bright orange plane with its butterfly logo set parked outside the future passenger holding area at Port Columbus. Skybus is set to offer non-stop, low-fares to major US markets.

But low-fare airlines have had some major problems recently. About a week ago JetBlue held many of its passengers on runways for up to nine hours and canceled many of its flights leaving hundreds stranded. The snowstorm combined with what the company called poor internal operation caused the cancellations. Coleman said he’s confident Skybus will not have those kinds of problems.

“You know, that’s JetBlue’s issues. They were overcome by the weather as many were. They were, so Skybus, you can’t worry about what won’t work, you have to worry how to make everything work,” Coleman said.

Skybus president Ken Gile said the airline already has situations like those of JetBlue covered.

“We’ve already talked to the city of Columbus and the port authority here to establish a plan just in case this should come up. We’ve already worked with Elaine Roberts and her staff to move forward with that. Our dispatchers are experienced, our chief pilots experienced. So we will work as our best to avoid that situation. But if something like that comes in we’ll work in concert with the airport to solve it,” Gile said.

Skybus is expected to create 1,000 direct and 10,000 indirect jobs. The airline has agreed to buy 65 full size planes.

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