By Karen Di Piazza
On Feb. 27, Boca Raton, Fla.-based DayJet Corp., the parent company of air charter operator DayJet Services LLC, announced it would now fly to more areas in the Southeast. Macon, Ga., Montgomery, Ala., and two Florida areas—North Miami Beach and Opa-locka—are now part of the DayPort network. Most of DayJet’s DayPorts are located at fixed based operations at various regional airports. Since launching service on Oct. 3, 2007, DayJet now flies its members to 45 locations in five states.
“The rapid contraction of regional transportation options is causing many U.S. communities to become increasingly isolated,” said Ed Iacobucci, president and CEO of DayJet. “Businesses in smaller communities regularly miss economic development opportunities and suffer productivity losses because of this growing isolation.”
With each new DayPort community, the company projects an annual economic impact in excess of $10 million from the arrival of DayJet’s on-demand, per-seat service within its first three years of operation.
Vicky Harris, spokesperson for DayJet, said the company has doubled its member network.
“Currently, we have in the neighborhood of 1,400 individuals within companies who belong to our network,” she said. “Areas of service are dictated by the travel demands of DayJet’s members. We still haven’t expanded to North Carolina and Tennessee, which defines the current region.”
On Jan. 15, DayJet’s fleet of twin-engine Eclipse 500 VLJs reached 28.
“Currently, we have 80 pilots who are employed on a full-time basis, with each aircraft flown by a two-pilot crew,” she said. “We have two shifts a day, so the first crew goes home and another crew begins.”
Not all 28 DayJets are used for its airline-type booking operation.
“We use eight to 10 planes to service our members,” Harris said. “Ten aircraft are used for pilot training and the remaining aircraft are used as needed for backup. DayJet is a very methodical company; we’ve planned carefully, and executed our plan to take care of members’ travel needs. Our game plan was to obtain and hold at 28 aircraft for a couple of months.”
In short, Harris said DayJet doesn’t just put aircraft out there hoping for travel demand; rather, it provides travel as demand increases.
Harris said she believes that DayJet will increase aircraft service by the end of the year.
“By the end of 2008, on the high end, we anticipate having a total of 100 aircraft,” she said. “We could see 90 service destinations within seven states. But it’s possible we’ll remain servicing the existing five states. It all depends on customer demand.”
She said DayJet is excited about taking delivery of future Eclipse 500 jets, equipped with Avio NG avionics, as well as aircraft with certification for flight into known icing.
“Having aircraft with upgraded avionics will enable DayJet to provide better service to its members,” Harris said. “Also, now that Eclipse Aviation has two Level D full-motion simulators, it enhances pilot training capabilities.”
She said the company is still in the process of hiring and training pilots.
DayJet says that Southeast business professionals haven’t had regional travel options since scheduled airlines began flying larger aircraft less frequently and on longer flights, abandoning smaller cities.
“DayJet is out to fill that gap—one service area at a time,” Harris said.
For more information, visit [http://www.dayjet.com].