Costa Mesa-based Trans World Express has a new service that it hopes will take off.
Starting Feb. 1, the commuter airline will have two nonstop flights every day from John Wayne Airport to Big Bear. The flights, which have an introductory round-trip fare of $78, are aimed at "young yuppies" who can't wait to hit the slopes, TWE spokesman Bob Ochsner said.
The big advantage is time. The new flights are scheduled to take 40 minutes--compared to a 2 1/2-hour drive in traffic from Orange County.
"I've been approached by a lot of people in Newport Beach who ski," said James B. Slemons, TWE's chairman and chief executive. "They all say they'd take off weekdays, but they'd spend half the day driving" to and from ski resorts.
The airline is billing its new, year-round service as the first regularly scheduled, commercial service from the county to Big Bear. It originally was scheduled to begin early this month on weekends but was snowed out for the first two weeks.
By next month, however, the airline expects the new service to take off. Eventually, TWE plans to originate the 18-passenger flights out of Los Angeles--rather than John Wayne--with service continuing to Orange County, then Big Bear.
If the new service flies, Slemons said, rates could go up to $98 after the first month or so.