Direct Air, a charter airline known for cheap fares and spotty service, has suspended operations till mid-May (it says). Financial problems. Can't pay for gas, among other things.
Direct Air, based in Myrtle Beach, S.C., is not actually direct. In fact, on its Web site it calls itself "an indirect air carrier providing public charter air flights, and offering all- inclusive vacation, golf, and entertainment packages."
The carrier offered 17 destinations -- mostly from cold places to warm places(for example, Niagara Falls, NY, Pittsburgh, Springfield, Ill., Columbus, Ohio -- Sanford, Lakeland and West Palm beach in Florida).
Notice I did not say the carrier "flew" to 17 destinations. That's because Direct Air used contractors to fly the three Boeing 737s and two MD-80s in its leased fleet.
Meanwhile, stranded passengers are scrambling to find alternate transportation home. Also see this, which has some good background, from the Myrtle Beach paper.
The Direct Air statement, in full, as it appears on its Web site:
Direct Air finds it necessary to suspend flight operation from Tuesday, March 13, 2012 until May 15, 2012. This decision was made to address operational matters. We are currently evaluating strategic alternatives for Direct Air.
Direct Air is committed to our passengers, employees, and the communities we serve.
Please check back here for more details."