NEWPORT NEWS - Start-up airline PEOPLExpress has yet to start flying out of Newport News-Williamsburg International Airport, but it's one step closer to taking off.

In a post on its Facebook page Saturday, president and founder Mike Morisi said the company has 'a firm purchase agreement' to acquire an existing certificated airline and he expected the deal will be finalized in the coming weeks.

'We are very excited to let you know our plans and will as soon as we can give you some concrete information. Thank you again for your belief in us and support and please....stay tuned,' he ended the message.

Officials announced the launch in February 2012 and they'd hoped to begin service by late Summer. They said the airline will travel to Newark, Pittsburgh, Providence, R.I., Orlando and West Palm Beach, Fla., focusing on leisure travelers.

They stressed the airline will 'put the fun in flying again.'

The Peninsula airport hopes PEOPLExpress will fill some of the gap left by the departure of AirTran.

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