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Discount Airline WinAir Shuts Down

July 7, 1999

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) _ WinAir Airlines of Salt Lake City has shut down after operating as a discount airline for eight months.

The airline, which had its hub at Long Beach, Calif., ceased operations Tuesday after a deal to raise additional money from an investor group fell apart.

``We ran out of financial fuel,″ said Richard Winwood, the airline’s founder and a co-founder of what is now Franklin Covey Co.

Winwood said WinAir lost more than $15 million.

WinAir started as a charter airline. It began offering commercial flights in November. At its peak, it employed 500 people and offered 14 flights a day from the Long Beach Airport, including flights to Salt Lake City, Las Vegas and Oakland, Calif.

The airline now employs about 360 people.

Customers with paid reservations will receive refunds.

For customers still on the road, WinAir is talking with other airlines to see if they will help passengers with their return trips, said Larry Gelwix, WinAir’s chairman.

WinAir hoped to draw passengers through a combination of low fares and the convenient location and small size of the Long Beach Airport. It had been drawing more passengers in recent months, Winwood said.

``The thing that is most disappointing to me is that we really have proved that a small airline can operate out of the Long Beach Airport,″ he said.

The startup costs were significantly higher than expected, said Winwood.

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