Will DC Air fly?

BET founder is confident of new venture despite odds

of US Airways cost $141.2 million, and Johnson insists he’s the sole investor.

“I have no intentions of selling control of the airline,” says Johnson. “It’s private, and I have no desire to take it public.”
Johnson is constrained by a “no flip cause,” which states DC Air will be financially penalized if Johnson sells a majority equity interest other than through a public offering.

Transactions are scheduled to be completed in 2001, which will make DC Air fall in the top five of the be industrial/service 100 list for 2002, provided revenues continue.

“[Johnson] will have to grow to profitability as rapidly as possible,” says Maynard H. Jackson, three-term mayor of Atlanta. He says Air Atlanta’s positioning in Delta’s backyard made it difficult for it to grow as quickly as it needed to survive. However, Jackson, who is currently chairman of Jackson Securities in Atlanta, does believe it can be done. “DC Air is much better positioned than Air Atlanta was because DC Air is starting off with substantial planes and personnel.”

The appointment of US Airways Senior Vice President of Corporate Development N. Bruce Ashby as acting president of DC Air shows that Johnson is already off to a good start. Whether he flies or remains grounded will be determined over time.

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