Luxury Caravan Service Hopes to Add Eclipse

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Linear Air, based in Lexington, Mass., says it's seen revenues increase 450 percent in a year in its on-demand and semi-scheduled service using eight-seat Cessna Caravans. The luxury-appointed Caravans carry customers to up to 500 destinations in the Northeast and eastern Canada as well as seasonal service to the Caribbean. The company, which recently added a fourth Caravan to keep up with demand, will look to convince investors its future business warrants 30 Eclipse 500s. CEO William Herp says the Eclipses will allow major expansion of the service. "We're looking forward to expanding our ability to serve frustrated airline travelers and those looking for better private charter economics on short-hops," Herp said. Linear Air needs $50 million to buy the Eclipses and it's banking on its experience with the Caravans to convince lenders it's a good idea. Despite the obvious differences in the aircraft, Herp claims the Caravan operation has a lot in common with the proposed Eclipse service. "We've built a sizable customer base flying Cessna Caravans, and we're confident that the Caravan is a good proxy for the trip profile and operating cost of the VLJs," he said.