Presidential Airways Inc., which ended scheduled service under its own name earlier this year to become a feeder service for Continental Airlines at Dulles Airport, hopes to enter into similar arrangements with other airlines at other airports.
The two-year-old airline also hopes to provide more feeder service for Pan American World Airways out of Dulles, the airline's president and chief executive, Harold J. Pareti, told shareholders yesterday.
Despite the joint marketing agreement with Continental, Presidential is still operating at a loss, Pareti said.
Pareti met with shareholders in what was to have been the Reston company's annual meeting. But because 54 shareholders had not been properly notified of the meeting, the actual meeting and shareholder votes were postponed until Sept. 28.
Since the shareholders had already gathered, however, Pareti used the meeting to bring them up to date on the developments of the last year.
He said that the airline has made progress in cutting costs and increasing yields but that profits have still eluded the carrier. However, Pareti said that a relatively small increase in passengers would result in the airline turning the corner to profitability.
As a result of improvements in the airline's operations, Presidential can make money by filling more than 43 percent of its seats, he said. Since April the percentage of seats filled -- a statistic known in the airline industry as the load factor -- has increased, reaching 39.5 percent in July and 40 to 41 percent in August, he said.
In January, Presidential and Continental announced a joint marketing agreement, accompanied by an agreement for Presidential to sell its Dulles midfield terminal to Continental. Since then, Presidential -- which had aspired to dominate Dulles and to compete head-to-head with the major airlines -- has provided service as Continental Jet Express.
The joint marketing agreement has been a mixed blessing, Pareti said. Presidential's flights are now listed with Continental's in the computer reservations systems used by travel agents, and its routes are designed to bring passengers from smaller markets to Dulles to connect with Continental flights elsewhere.
Continental recently cut back service from Dulles from 87 flights a day to 54, however. Pareti said that Presidential took over some of those routes and that the elimination of others would have only a small impact on Presidential's traffic.
But he noted that the joint marketing agreement "has left an image problem with the public -- with the travel agents. People look in the computer and see our flights listed as Continental," he said. As a result, "travelers who want to book away from Continental," which has been the object of consumer complaints, also book away from Presidential, he noted.
In addition to the one with Continental, Presidental has a marketing agreement with Pan Am, Pareti said. Presidential now is listed as a Pan Am feeder service providing service from Norfolk to Dulles, he said.
Pareti said he hopes to expand connecting service to Pan Am on routes on which the carrier does not compete with Continental. In particular, Pareti said he hopes to provide feeder service from some of its smaller markets for Pan Am flights to Europe.