Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Royale Discontinues Its Service to Eight Cities

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Royale Discontinues Its Service to Eight Cities

Article excerpt

SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) - Royale Airlines has discontinued commuter service to eight of its 12 cities and laid off 55 employees, a company official says.

Bob Grand, Royale executive vice president, said Monday that the Shreveport-based airline has operated under federal bankruptcy protection for more than two years and that cutbacks were necessary to return to profitability.

``The reductions in staff necessitated by this move are deeply regretted, but the employment that will be continued by returning the company to profitability is surely the best course for the long-term health of Royale and its passengers,'' Grand said. ``The bottom line is that the bills have to be paid.''

Royale will continue to fly to Shreveport, Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Oklahoma City.

It has ceased operations in Alexandria, Monroe, Lafayette, Gulfport and Jackson, Miss., Mobile, Ala., and Pensacola and Fort Walton Beach, Fla.

Grand said passenger loads have dropped 20 to 25 percent during the past six weeks, resulting in a substantial loss. He would not say how much Royale has lost.

Grand said 15 of the 55 laid-off workers were based in Shreveport. Additionally, several of the pilots laid off were based in New Orleans but live in the Shreveport area, he said.

Grand called the decision to reduce operations ``an extremely tough one. We've been looking very hard at our routes. Over the last several weeks, we decided we had to make the cuts.''

Royale's reorganization was going well, Grand said, and the airline was expected to soon emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The airline, which opened in Shreveport in 1970, had net earnings of $1.7 million for its fiscal year that ended June 30, 1985. Within a few months, however, the local economy began eroding because of manufacturing and oil-related layoffs that claimed more than 4,000 jobs. …

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