Hooters Air was an airline headquartered in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, USA. Hooters Air flights were operated by Pace Airlines.
The airline was established in 2003 and started operations on March 6, 2003. It was founded by Hooters of America restaurant owner Robert Brooks, who acquired Pace Airlines in December 2002. All flights were operated by Pace Airlines. Hooters Air was owned by Hooters of America, Inc. Brooks initially envisioned Hooters Air as an unconventional means of generating awareness for the Hooters restaurant brand; the carrier was sometimes referred to as a "flying billboard" for the restaurant chain.
Aside from its unorthodox neighborhood chain-restaurant tie-in, Hooters Air sought to differentiate itself from other carriers with a distinctive style of in-flight service. The carrier was marketed towards golfers in an effort to bring casual and tournament players to Myrtle Beach's 100+ championship golf courses. Two Hooters Girls, dressed in their uniforms, were on each flight assisting the (traditionally attired) in-flight crews with hospitality duties. The company advertised nonstop flights for most routes. Although Hooters Air billed itself as a low-fare carrier, rows of seats were removed from the aircraft to provide 34" seating pitch to all passengers, comparable to the legroom offered by many carriers' business classes; in keeping with the golf-friendly orientation of the carrier, this was called "Club Class" seating. Additionally, all seats were upholstered in dark blue or black leather, and all aircraft were painted in Hooters' orange and white company colors featuring the company logo, and mascot Hootie the Owl, on the vertical stabilizer. Also, at a time when many low-cost carriers were eliminating in-flight frills in an effort to curtail expenses, Hooters Air served complimentary meals to all customers on trips lasting over one hour.
All commercial services were suspended on January 9, 2006. Pace Airlines is continuing with charter services. On April 17, 2006, Hooters Air ceased operations, halting scheduled Public Charter service and refunding tickets. The company attributed this cessation of service primarily to a marked increase in fuel costs in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in the autumn of 2005.
The airline is estimated to have cost Hooters of America $40 million.
Destinations at closure Edit
Service to the following airports ended on April 17, 2006
United States Edit
- Fort Lauderdale - Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport
- St. Petersburg/Clearwater - St. Petersburg–Clearwater International Airport
- New Jersey
- Newark - Newark Liberty International Airport
- Allentown - Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton International Airport
- South Carolina
- Myrtle Beach - Myrtle Beach International Airport
Destinations ended prior to closure Edit
- Nassau - Lynden Pindling International Airport
United States Edit
- Denver - Denver International Airport
- Fort Myers - Southwest Florida International Airport
- Orlando - Orlando Sanford International Airport (Ended on March 26, 2006)
- Atlanta - William B. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
- Rockford - Northwest Chicagoland International Airport
- Gary - Gary/Chicago International Airport
- Baltimore - Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport
- Las Vegas - Las Vegas McCarran International Airport
- Columbus - Rickenbacker International Airport
- Tulsa - Tulsa International Airport
- Pittsburgh - Greater Pittsburgh International Airport
- Wilkes-Barre/Scranton - Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport(Ended on March 26, 2006)
- Houston - Houston-George Bush Intercontinental Airport
Puerto Rico Edit
- San Juan - San Juan Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport