As very light jets enter production, first in line for many of them are air-taxi (also called air-limo) operators hoping to offer new ways to make business travel easier. As soon as it begins receiving the first of the 309 Eclipse 500s that it has on order, DayJet of Delray Beach, Fla., will start offering “per seat, on demand” service between five Florida cities. The company hopes to expand to 20 locations in four Southeastern states within a year.
Linear Air, in Bedford, Mass., will be the first operator in the Northeast to fly Eclipse jets. The outfit already flies passengers to Nantucket, New York, Maine, and other regional destinations in comfortably appointed Cessna Caravan turboprops. The first of its VLJ fleet is due early next year. In the Midwest, Point2Point Airways offers service with Diamond Aircraft’s Twin Star piston aircraft, and it has placed an order for a fleet of Diamond D-Jets.
OurPlane in Buffalo, N.Y., is among the fractional operators that have become VLJ customers. It has ordered 21 Eclipse 500s, which it plans to sell in quarter shares (corresponding to 100 or 200 hours of flight time per year, depending on the purchase level) beginning at about $330,000 per share. And Jet-Alliance of Westlake Village, Calif., has announced that it will sell one-sixteenth shares (corresponding to 50 hours of flight time per year) of Eclipse 500s for about $100,000 per share.