VLJs ‘Not Revolutionary,’ but Do Enable Air Taxis

 - January 24, 2008, 10:42 AM

Despite one aircraft manufacturer’s claims, “very light jets are only evolutionary, not revolutionary,” noted Arie-Willem Van Doome, COO of Netherlands-based air-taxi firm Bikkair, which started operations last week with a Cessna Citation Mustang. Speaking yesterday at the International Air Taxi Convention in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Van Doome did credit VLJs as the “trigger and enabler” for a new breed of air-taxi operations. As more VLJ air-taxi firms pop up throughout the world, a clearer picture of how these new small jets will be operated is emerging. While DayJet and Earthjet are based on a per-seat model, the majority of VLJ air-taxi firms will offer whole aircraft on demand, according to Etirc Aviation managing director Dr. Matthijs de Haan. This will be amplified in Europe, said London Executive Aviation CEO Patrick Margetson-Rushmore, since cultural differences largely deter potential customers from sharing the cabin of a small aircraft with strangers. VLJ air-taxi executives say one of the biggest hurdles for the nascent industry is introducing a new mode of transportation to the 90 percent of the population who have never flown in a private aircraft. To that end, Bikkair has created an unorthodox video animation to educate potential customers.