Per-Seat Air Taxi To Use Existing Bizjet Fleet

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Critics of the planned per-seat air taxi operators have long complained that if the concept was viable then why not use existing business jets instead of an unproven very light jet for the service. Alfred Rapetti, a former investor in fractional provider Avantair, has listened and is taking on that challenge. Last Thursday he formally launched BusinessJetSEATS to offer "by-the-seat private charter service" from community airports using the existing 2,000-strong jet charter fleet in partnership with CharterX. In an interview with AVweb, Rapetti said his per-seat, air-taxi service -- which is available now in 215 markets in the U.S. -- costs half as much as whole airplane charter and has all-inclusive pricing and no membership fees. BusinessJetSEATS has a licensing agreement with start-up light jet air-taxi firm Earthjet to use its proprietary back-end scheduling and front-end flight-booking systems. Rapetti said his company's low price does not come from squeezing the charter operators; instead it allows charter operators to make more profit by aggregating seats offered at a discount compared with chartering the whole airplane to one customer. "We are committed to making the operator successful which is critical in today’s market where commoditization is happening and there’s a rush to the bottom regarding charter pricing, he concludes. "BJSI adds value by delivering customers and eliminating waste by filling empty seats. This is a true win-win."