The Rise of the Air Taxi?

Get ready for traffic jams in the sky! Small airlines flying so-called “Light Jets” or “Very Light Jets” (VLJs) are springing up and expanding service. They operate these fleets as “air-taxis” or “air-cabs,” the idea being that you fly in a small jet (or small turbo-prop) plane from a small regional airport, with up to 11 other passengers, travel on-demand (when you want), and pay approximately full-coach prices. As the “taxi” fills up, each passenger pays less.

The business model may work because these jets cost so much less than larger airliners. For example, the Eclipse VJL can cost as little as $1.7m (wait, let me get my checkbook), which allows these airlines to charge as little as $600 per hour, or, alternatively, $1-3 per mile per passenger, up to 1000 miles. They also operate out of tiny airports, such as Teterboro (NJ) or Hanscom Field (MA), which saves them money, and passengers time.

Recently, Linear Air, a Boston-based airtaxi service, expanded their service to the DC area (Manassas). They even offer service to Puerto Rico.

SATSair offers a similar type of service and is based in South Carolina. Other competitors include DayJet, out of Florida, and Pogo, started by former American Airlines CEO Crandall.