Adam Aircraft Scores Coup With $150 Million Order...

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It doesn't get much better than this, especially for a small company that has yet to deliver its first aircraft, or even receive FAA certification, for that matter. Still, the word "deliver" looms large in the background. In this case, however, Adam Aircraft's entire sales department should be on a well-deserved junket to somewhere featuring rum drinks as it basks in the glow of a $150 million order for its to-be-certificated A700 AdamJet. The order for the company's light-light bizjet comes from a start-up air taxi company called iFly Air Taxi, headed by People Express Airlines (remember them?) founder Donald Burr and someone named Robert Crandall. You may remember Crandall as the longtime head of American Airlines. The Stratford, Conn.-based iFly is slated to start operations sometime in 2005; with what aircraft -- since the AdamJet is not yet certificated -- it hasn't been announced. The $150 million will buy iFly 75 copies of the new $2 million jet. The iFly announcement is the latest in a series of attempts to make the NASA-sponsored Small Aircraft Transportation System (SATS) program a reality. It also gives additional weight to the ongoing Aviation Rulemaking Committee efforts to rewrite FAR Parts 125 and 135, to make them more relevant to the current crop of non-scheduled commercial operators and, of course, the coming aircraft. The iFly business plan apparently involves a network of SATS-like on-demand aircraft operations to and from non-hub airports. Published reports state that iFly will cater to "middle managers," offering them $1,500 round-trip flights of up to 400 nm. All of which is reminiscent of the Nimbus Group, which placed an order for 1000 -- yes, 1000 -- Eclipse 500s in September 2001. Nimbus planned a network of air taxis similar to that envisioned by iFly, but it never got off the ground. In February 2004, the Nimbus Group changed its name to Taylor Madison Corp., which it said was more reflective of its emphasis on the cosmetics and fragrance development industry it decided to pursue.