Battle Of The Bathrooms?
For years, industry players have been watching and commenting on who will be the big winner in the coming very light jet (VLJ) wars. Some say the first manufacturer to bring a VLJ to market will be the winner. This camp nominally would favor Eclipse and the Eclipse 500, since it received at least provisional certification last month. Others say the real winner will be the manufacturer with the best reputation for reliability and standing behind their VLJ product. Most in this corner would favor Cessna and its Citation Mustang. Still others, perhaps romantically, maintain the VLJ market is new enough and different enough that all the old rules don't apply. This camp, perhaps after having spent too much time at high altitude, believes the jury is still out. And, so far, it is. But a new theory on which will be the predominant VLJ has emerged: the one with the best lavatory.
A story in yesterday's New York Times detailed the start-up plans of newcomer Magnum Jet, which plans to offer on-demand service over certain routes. The whole idea is to refuse long-distance flights and, instead, focus on regional trips to get middle managers to and from their business appointments without an overnight stay. According to the Times story, Magnum is betting on the Adam A700 VLJ instead of the Eclipse in part because it has a lavatory. Could the winner of the coming VLJ aircraft wars really be decided on something as mundane as whether there's a bathroom? Or could the deciding factor work out to be direct operating costs, reliability and maintainability?