Lincoln, Nebraska Based Red Way to Cease Operations

Red Way was announced back in March of 2023 to great local fanfare in Lincoln. The airline had plans to connect Lincoln with up to seven destinations 2x weekly utilizing Airbus A320 aircraft operated by GlobalX. As I mentioned back in March, this represented a massive capacity boost in the market as United Express was the only carrier with a couple of daily flights to Denver, Houston, and Chicago-O’Hare.

Red Way Route Map

These flights were heavily subsidized by the local government and business interests and I never saw anything to lead me to believe they would be remotely profitable. Combine an already aggressive business plan, delays due to running a single aircraft operation, and the much larger, nearby, Omaha Airport pulling in local traffic and you have a house of cards waiting to fall.

In a statement to the media released by the Lincoln Airport Authority, they noted that “LAA was alerted by Red Way executives early this week that the future sustainability of their scheduled operations in Lincoln is not viable and that they will be ceasing all flying operations at the end of August”. The airline and destinations have already been removed from the Lincoln Airport Website with the below message being displayed.

Statement from Lincoln Airport on the cessation of Red Way flights

While I can’t imagine that they burned through the entire $3 million airline incentive fund, one must wonder whether that money would have been better spent trying to lure an existing regional carrier to the airport. Any competition with United in the market would be good for passengers and it seems more likely the airport could sustain 1-2x daily on American Eagle or Delta Connection to Atlanta, Dallas, or Minneapolis rather than starting a home grown Allegiant knockoff. It’s worth noting that all three of the destinations listed above were included in Red Way’s operation.

Red Way was a peculiar airline startup from the beginning and I don’t think many folks outside of Lincoln thought this would be a resounding success. I am surprised at just how quickly they pulled the plug. With Lincoln being home to the University of Nebraska, I thought the airline had a chance through the end of football season.

Did anyone ever get the chance to fly them?

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