DayJet Attracts Attention To VLJs

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DayJet Corp., expected to be the first new on-demand air taxi service to fly VLJs, got lots of attention from the mainstream press at its launch announcement, held without VLJs on Monday. A news conference in Delray Beach, Fla., included Gov. Jeb Bush and Eclipse CEO Vern Raburn. DayJet CEO Ed Iacobucci said he plans to start service later this year flying Eclipse 500 jets between five small cities in Florida, bypassing the airlines' hub-and-spoke system. "You don't have to go through Atlanta to get to Gainesville, okay? That's a promise," he said. Despite that example, though, the five cities to be served haven't yet been named. Fares are expected to range from $1 to $3 per mile. DayJet is expected to get the first Eclipse jets off the production line.

The company plans to fly them with a two-pilot crew and carry up to three passengers. It is on record as having ordered 239 jets, which, barring special arrangements often granted by manufacturers like Boeing and Airbus, would otherwise suggest a near $30 million investment in the form of deposits. Market research has shown that travelers consistently prefer a 50-minute flight in an Eclipse to a 300-mile trip by car, spokeswoman Vicky Harris told the St. Petersburg Times. While no traveler has ever taken a 50-minute flight in an Eclipse, it may nonetheless be a reasonable answer if presented with the two options -- associated costs notwithstanding. The car is DayJet's real competition, she said. The Monday news conference was rescheduled from an earlier date due to a conflict in executive schedules, according to DayJet's Schwartz communications. Similar start-ups are in the works, such as PogoJet and Corporate Clipper.