Money Saver or Moneymaker?

Independence Air is calling its planned flight from Dulles International Airport to San Juan, Puerto Rico, "low fare service."

But an early peek at fares for the daily nonstop flight, announced last week and scheduled to begin Dec. 16, shows one-way tickets as high as $399 and no lower than $179. And that's without taxes.

That's a far cry from the $69 one-way sale fares the Dulles-based carrier was offering last spring for flights to the West Coast.

Those flights were money losers, though, and Independence, which is struggling to stay out of bankruptcy, plans to drop all West Coast service this fall.

The service to San Juan -- Independence's first Caribbean destination -- could be a moneymaker, said the airline's spokesman, Rick DeLisi.

"The flying time (plus fuel consumption and cost of operation) is considerably less" to San Juan than to the West Coast, he said in an e-mail. "Non-stop flights to San Juan . . . will be about 3.5 hours each way, compared to six hours each way" to San Francisco.

Early this week, Independence's Web site was offering a $698.70 fare, taxes included, for a roundtrip flight to San Juan during the heavy-demand holiday season, leaving Dulles on Friday, Dec. 23, and returning on Monday, Jan. 2.

Independence's main competitor on that route, United Airlines's low-cost carrier Ted, quoted a $838.70 fare on the same days.

Ted had the lower fare for a midweek Dulles-San Juan roundtrip in January: $290.70, compared with Independence's $398.70.

DeLisi said Independence might consider offering sale fares after the holiday season.

Moral of the story: shop around.

New Office Building in Leesburg

Leesburg Mayor Kristen C. Umstattd plans to do the ribbon cutting tomorrow for the 7,500-square-foot Joshua Chamberlain Building at 210 Wirt St. SW. The building was named after a Civil War hero and designed by local architects Kevin Ruedisueli and Karl Riedel.

Retail Center Near Airport

A Gaithersburg company, Hubert Construction, has broken ground on Dulles 606 Retail Center, a two-building, 82,000-square-foot project just west of Dulles International Airport. Hubert recently completed a 32,000-square-foot project, Heritage Hunt Retail Center, in Gainesville.

Office Complex Has New Landlord

Local companies Cigital Inc., Loudoun Executive Concepts, Washington Radiology Associates, Alpha Corp. and VeriSign Inc. have a new landlord. Buchanan Partners LLC of Gaithersburg recently sold its Lakeside at Loudoun Tech office complex -- on Route 7 in Sterling -- to New York-based Tishman Speyer Properties LP for $88.5 million. VeriSign, which registers Internet domain names, occupies more than half of the 305,000-square-foot complex, which faces a nine-acre lake.

Dates to Watch:

Today: The Loudoun County Small Business Development Center sponsors a "Start Your Business" seminar at 11 a.m. at Thomas Balch Library, 208 W. Market St., Leesburg. The free seminar will offer tips on marketing, licensing, accounting, business-plan development, sources of financing and buying insurance. Next Thursday, the center will offer another free seminar for small-business owners on bookkeeping and tax issues at 6 p.m. at Eastern Loudoun Regional Library, 21030 Whitfield Pl., Sterling. To register for either seminar, call 703-430-7222 or e-mail

Tomorrow: Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.) is scheduled to speak at the Loudoun Economic Summit, which focuses on telecommuting, at Lansdowne Resort and Conference Center. Register at

Oct. 15: The Loudoun Expo Trade Show will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Dulles Town Center, sponsored by the county's chamber of commerce. For information, call Roxanne Remley at 703-777-2177 or e-mail

Nov. 15: The Dulles Area Association of Realtors' fourth annual trade show will be held at the National Conference Center at Lansdowne.


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