By Russ Niles, Editor-in-Chief
DayJet has cut its fleet by more than half and its staff by more than a third as it scales back operations in the absence of capital to fund expansion. DayJet founder and CEO Ed Iacobucci told AVweb on Tuesday the company needs about $50 million to essentially triple its current size to achieve the "critical mass" necessary to be profitable. DayJet operates out of 11 "Dayport" hubs and flies to more than 30 destinations. Iacobucci said they need 20 to 30 hubs and up to 50 aircraft to start making money and they've been unable to find investors because of the tight market. As a result, staff has been trimmed by 100 to 160 and the company is selling or leasing 16 of its 28 Eclipse 500s "to minimize the loss." But Iacobucci said he predicts the company will find the money it needs and the expansion will take place within a year. "Keep watching us because you're going to see a lot of development," he said. "The model works." Iacobucci also downplayed the impact of the decision on Eclipse, which lists DayJet as its largest customer, with more than 1,400 aircraft reserved.
Iacobucci said Dayjet has "made no changes to our order book" and the delay in its overall plan should have little impact on Eclipse in the short term. "Our orders were not cancelled, they were deferred," he said. He said Eclipse has "plenty of customers" who will be happy to get their aircraft earlier because of the deferral. Eclipse declined comment on the DayJet decision. In its first six months, DayJet's "proof of concept phase," Iacobucci said the company proved there was a market for the modified point-to-point service. More than 1,500 people paid to sign up as "members" of DayJet and more than 500 actually used the service. About 50 had flown more than 10 times. He said customers generally liked the service and the airplane and, after initial technical bugs were ironed out, the company was generally satisfied with its performance. Iacobucci said he's looking forward to the aircraft being fully equipped with all the navigation and systems it's supposed to have so that it has even more utility. "The airplane is not a problem," he said.
There Are Glimmers Of Hope in This Air Taxi Thing (AVweb Insider blog)
Maybe It's Not About the Airplane (AVweb Insider blog)