But Maybe There's Room?
A couple of small operators already flying may provide some insight into how the market will develop for future VLJs. Eos Airlines began in 2003 to offer one "premium" flight every day between New York and London, and this week the company said it will add a second flight each day, starting next month. Eos flies a Boeing 757 fitted out with only 48 seats to serve the needs "of the international business executive looking for the ultimate in space, comfort, service and convenience," the company says. Some may say that sounds like the kind of customer the VLJ makers may be looking for. Eos staffers greet all passengers at the airport curb to help with luggage, check-in, and security clearance, allowing them to arrive just 45 minutes prior to departure. Another niche operator, Linear Air, based near Boston, Mass., and flying smaller aircraft, also has been growing. Linear Air operates a fleet of Caravans fitted out with executive-style interiors, and expects to start adding the first of 30 Eclipse jets to its lineup later this year. "Our goal from the start has been to create a business that would allow us to bridge the gap between current regional business airline travel and private air travel. The Eclipse 500 allows us to do exactly that by offering private jet performance at a price that fits most corporate travel budgets," says Linear Air CEO William Herp.