It’s all too easy for industry analysts to say that if the air-limo concept–point-to-point service for the masses–is possible, someone would already have done it. Perhaps they’re missing the bigger picture, which is that all of the ingredients to create a viable air limo aren’t yet available.
Ed Iacobucci, founder and former chairman of software maker Citrix Systems, on April 25 announced his latest project–regional, per-seat, on-demand air-limo service using Eclipse 500s. His company, DayJet, has placed a firm order for 239 Eclipse 500s and taken options for 70 more and plans to start service with the very light jets by the middle of next year. Iacobucci hopes to transform regional business travel in the U.S.
The market for very light jets (VLJs) will be worth $2.52 billion over the next five years, according to a new study by UK-based consultants PMI Media. The report’s author, Philip Butterworth-Hayes, expects six VLJs will make it into service: the Adam Aircraft A700, Cessna Citation Mustang (the first of the breed to receive FAA certification), Diamond D-Jet, Eclipse 500, Embraer Phenom 100 and HondaJet.
A day after Teal Group lead analyst Richard Aboulafia was quoted in the International Herald Tribune as saying the nascent very light jet (VLJ) market has the potential for a spectacular flameout, Eclipse Aviation founder and CEO Vern Raburn fired back by calling the oft-quoted (some might say over-exposed) market forecaster’s comments “ignorant and stupid.”
Air-limo startup DayJet of Delray Beach, Fla., late last month revealed its launch region–the Southeast–and said it would start on-demand, per-seat operations with Eclipse 500 VLJs in November. DayJet president and CEO Ed Iacobucci said the service will initially be among five airports in Florida–which will be announced next month–and then spread to 20 airports throughout the region by the end of next year.
The Small Aircraft Transportation System (SATS) vision of providing safe, reliable and affordable air transportation for every community in America will move a step closer to reality later this year when DayJet begins per-seat on-demand operations in Florida.
As anticipation builds over the pending certification of the first very light jet, the Eclipse 500, “There’s a new sense of legitimacy for the idea of personalized air mobility in the form of per-seat fleet operations [using VLJs],” according to NASA Langley advance planning office director Bruce Holmes. “After all, mobility is freedom, and the big picture of the VLJ is individualized air travel.”
Per-seat, on-demand start-up operator DayJet said its first Southeast DayBase and maintenance facility will be at Gainesville Regional Airport, Fla. Gainesville was one of five inaugural Florida service locations announced in June. DayJet plans to start service using Eclipse 500s in November.
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