Direct Air has suspended all its flights amid the spring break season and will not resume operations until May 15, the discount airline announced on its Website.
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, the airline said in a statement.
Direct Air marketing officer, Ed Warneck, told The Sun News that the carrier was suspending flights because of a missed fuel bill that prevented the company from re-fueling its planes. They pulled the plug, Warneck said speaking about the fuel supplier. When that happens, you can't put the plane in the air.
On Monday, passengers were stranded in airports trying to find alternative routes after being greeted by empty Direct Air check in counters.
Passengers who called the airline's customer service line were greeted with a recording, which diverted callers to the carrier's website.
Customers with reservations between the dates of suspension should contact their credit card providers for a refund, according to the Direct Air Website. The U.S Department of Transportation is also tracking down information for customers about refund methods, but specifics were still being worked on Tuesday, according to Myrtle Beach Online.
Direct air is a public Charter based in Myrtle Beach. The company has a network of charters across 17 cities from the Niagara Falls to Pittsburgh. The number of passengers flying out of Myrtle Beach on Direct Air has grown from 65,043 in 2009 to 92,502 last year, according to statistics from Myrtle Beach International Airport.
Warneck has announced that the airline plans to resume flights after solving the issue. It's temporary, he said of the suspended flights. We will have this fixed.
Passengers who were booked on Direct Air flights on Monday were angered by the sudden suspension, which came without notice.
Oh my goodness. It was a total shock, she said. Why didn't they know ahead of time? This couldn't have been all of a sudden. I'm very disappointed in them right now, Carol Tabone of Rochester, N.Y., told Myrtle Beach Online.
Delta, US Airways and Spirit have been working to book stranded passengers on new flights to and from Myrtle Beach.
We have informed various local travel agents of Direct Air flight cancellations and suspensions and are working with them to assist any visitor who may have experienced a canceled or suspended flight, The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce's President Brad Dean said in an email. We are offering various local travel agents' contact information to anyone calling our visitors center for assistance, in addition to providing them the contact information of both the airport and Direct Air's corporate headquarters.