[private] Easy Sky, the San Pedro Sula-based discount airline that made waves last year by offering flights between Roatan and La Ceiba for the price of taking the ferry, is in talks that could lead to a major expansion of its regional service out of Roatan, to include some international routes, according to an industry source who asked not to be identified because details were yet to fall into place as of press time.
If agreements materialize as the source implied was likely, the cost of getting to Roatan for international visitors could drop considerably.
Meanwhile, Easy Sky is once again offering service to and from La Ceiba, at fares as low as Lps. 400 each way with 36-hour advance purchase, according to Jesus Correa, the airline’s chief operating officer. But he said the service was being offered just once a week, leaving Roatan Saturday morning and returning Sunday afternoon.
As the Voice reported in November, Easy Sky triggered a price war last September when it began offering twice-daily service to La Ceiba for Lps. 500 each way (see “Price Wars” in the November Voice or at www.bayislandsvoice.com.). Those flights were suspended in late 2011. A December 17 Tripadvisor post by a Los Angeles woman said Easy Sky staff claimed competitors Taca and Sosa had “taken them to court over their low air fare.“ The rumor quickly propagated on Google Alert. However, both Taca and Sosa denied there was any such suit, and Correa confirmed the matter never went to court.
“What they were saying was, ‘how could we run with such low fares,’” Correa said. But he said authorities dismissed the complaint and the flights resumed “for the community” in May.
A Taca representative said Taca was not a party to any dispute over the La Ceiba flights. Taca was absorbed into the Colombian airline Avianca in June, and its brand name is set to disappear.
Juan Antonio Sosa, general manager for Sosa Airlines, said by e-mail that Sosa “never took any legal action of any kind against Easy Sky” with “any judicial or governmental institution” concerning the La Ceiba flights. But he said the fare Easy Sky was charging did not cover its costs and as such could not be sustained unless Easy Sky was covering its losses with funds from sources other than its ticket sales, in which case he said the authorities would take action on their own.
Easy Sky announced on its Facebook page, also in May, that it would soon be offering discount service between Roatan and Tegucigalpa. But Correa said the airline was still seeking additional aircraft to be able to operate that service, which he said would be priced at around $50 each way, plus tax. He said Easy Sky also hoped to offer service between Tegucigalpa and La Ceiba at that same price, and might possibly lower its fare between Roatan and San Pedro Sula to that level as well.
Correa said Easy Sky planned to resume daily service between Roatan and La Ceiba as soon as it can acquire the necessary aircraft.
As of press time, the only Easy Sky flights that could be booked online were twice-daily flights between Roatan and San Pedro Sula at a one-way fare of $95, tax included, except for the the morning departure from San Pedro Sula, which is $74. [/private]