Air Taxi Of The Future, Flying Today

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With fleets of very light jets ready to come on the market in the next few years, many operators are planning to use them in the development of point-to-point air-taxi systems. Aerobatic pilot Mike Goulian and partner Bill Herp have the same idea, but they've decided to jump the gun and start building their business now, using the VLJ-air-taxi model but flying four Cessna Grand Caravan turboprops. And it seems to be working. In their first year of operation, Linear Air has grown from two employees to 25. Based at Hanscom Field, just outside of Boston, Mass., the company flies weekenders to Nantucket in summer and the New Hampshire ski resorts in winter, and zips business commuters to White Plains and Teterboro, near New York City. Passengers can charter the airplane to fly anywhere in the Northeast for about $750 per hour, or they can buy a single seat. The company has 25 Eclipse 500 jets on order, but will continue to operate the Caravans to accommodate larger loads or shorter runways.