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Airline Based Around An Effecient Nine Seat Jet?  
User currently offlineMOBflyer From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 1209 posts, RR: 4
Posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 3648 times:

What do you think about an upscale airline offering nonstop service from airports that currently do not have the facilities nor the certification to support larger aircraft. (IIRC, an airline-configured aircraft with less than 10 seats can operate in any field, regardless of Part 139 certification. )

As for stations, my initial thoughts are like Gulf Shores, AL (JKA) to interior southeastern destinations (MEM, BNA, RDU, ATL, CLT, etc)

The local FBO would serve as a terminal.

Being an upscale airline, it would be necessary that the fleet be all jet. While Cape Air flies nine seat aircraft that are props, (C402s, IIRC) this would likely need to be something like a D328JET (first class config); Embraer's Legacy Shuttle; or maybe a reconfigured business jet.

Nonstop service in these unique markets will likely demand a yield premium, allowing for the additional cost of the jet. Prices per seat ought to be recoverable at first class prices.

My intention is that this would be brainstorming session, so all ideas and CONSTRUCTIVE criticisms are welcome and encouraged.

35 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21627 posts, RR: 55
Reply 1, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 3617 times:

It wouldn't work. There isn't enough consistent demand in the airports that you mention of the business variety that it would take to fill those planes in that sort of configuration.

There could very well be demand for an air taxi service in those markets, but it would be with smaller aircraft that are better suited for that type of mission, and would be on a non-scheduled basis.

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently offlineMOBflyer From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 1209 posts, RR: 4
Reply 2, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 3586 times:



Quoting Mir (Reply 1):
It wouldn't work. There isn't enough consistent demand in the airports that you mention of the business variety that it would take to fill those planes in that sort of configuration.

There are 654.8 passengers per day that travel between ATL and the central Gulf Coast (MOB, PNS, GPT). You don't think that there are 18 people whose actual destination is on the Alabama beaches?


User currently offlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21627 posts, RR: 55
Reply 3, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 3554 times:



Quoting MOBflyer (Reply 2):
You don't think that there are 18 people whose actual destination is on the Alabama beaches?

I'm sure there are. I'm not convinced, however, that there are 18 people willing to pay the fares it would take to turn a profit with that type of operation when there are other airports with regional service that aren't that far away.

Remember, just because people go from Point A to Point B doesn't mean they can afford to fly from Point A to Point B, much less do so in a premium cabin.

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently offlineERJ170 From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 6771 posts, RR: 17
Reply 4, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 3497 times:

If Cape Air can do it.. then a 9 seat aircraft can do it..

Make sure that the airline offers RDU/CLT/WAS/ORF/ATL-MEO (Outer Banks), RDU-EWN/AVL/CHS/ORF, and EWN/AVL-WAS for $100 each way..



Aiming High and going far..
User currently offlineJayDavis From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 2000 posts, RR: 15
Reply 5, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 3497 times:

Isn't this what Day Jet is all about in Florida?

User currently offlineFlyHoss From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 598 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 3497 times:

There was a Cessna Citation II airline that was based in CVG, IIRC. That airline (I'm sorry, I can't recall the name right now) failed after a few years; they blamed greater than forecast engine expenses (again, IIRC).

Some research into this carrier may be useful to you, MOBflyer.



A little bit louder now, a lil bit louder now...
User currently offlineTornado82 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 3487 times:



Quoting ERJ170 (Reply 4):
If Cape Air can do it.. then a 9 seat aircraft can do it..

Cape Air can do it in a Piston Prop. There's a HUGE difference between costs in a piston prop and a 9 seat jet.


User currently offlineERJ170 From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 6771 posts, RR: 17
Reply 8, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 3455 times:



Quoting Tornado82 (Reply 7):
Cape Air can do it in a Piston Prop. There's a HUGE difference between costs in a piston prop and a 9 seat jet.

Ahhh.. miss the jet part.

In that case.. never mind.. NetJet is about to move to RDU anyway so there will be WAY too much competition...



Aiming High and going far..
User currently offlineMOBflyer From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 1209 posts, RR: 4
Reply 9, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 3449 times:



Quoting ERJ170 (Reply 4):
If Cape Air can do it.. then a 9 seat aircraft can do it..

The major difference here would be that this operation would be with jets, something that Cape Air does not operate.

Quoting JayDavis (Reply 5):
Isn't this what Day Jet is all about in Florida?

DayJet is a per-seat charter/membership type deal. This would be scheduled service, with exclusively a premium cabin.

Quoting FlyHoss (Reply 6):
There was a Cessna Citation II airline that was based in CVG, IIRC. That airline (I'm sorry, I can't recall the name right now) failed after a few years; they blamed greater than forecast engine expenses (again, IIRC).

Thanks, I'll do that.


User currently offlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21627 posts, RR: 55
Reply 10, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 3449 times:



Quoting Tornado82 (Reply 7):
Cape Air can do it in a Piston Prop. There's a HUGE difference between costs in a piston prop and a 9 seat jet.

 checkmark  Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket (along with Cape Air's other destinations) are also much more popular than the Alabama shore.

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently offlineFlyHoss From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 598 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 3424 times:

Quoting FlyHoss (Reply 6):
There was a Cessna Citation II airline that was based in CVG, IIRC. That airline (I'm sorry, I can't recall the name right now) failed after a few years; they blamed greater than forecast engine expenses (again, IIRC).

Some research into this carrier may be useful to you, MOBflyer.



Quoting MOBflyer (Reply 9):
Thanks, I'll do that

It might have been "Enterprise Airlines." If I find something definitive, I'll pass it along...

Found a little more, see:

Airlines Operating Business Jets (by ElpinDAB Mar 19 2006 in Civil Aviation)?threadid=2667769&searchid=2668315&s=Enterprise%2BAirlines#ID2668315

[Edited 2008-01-09 19:20:53]


A little bit louder now, a lil bit louder now...
User currently offlineMOBflyer From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 1209 posts, RR: 4
Reply 12, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 3351 times:



Quoting FlyHoss (Reply 11):
It might have been "Enterprise Airlines." If I find something definitive, I'll pass it along...

Right on the money...
http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-6465905.html

Thanks a lot, FlyHoss.

Does anybody know the economics of the Citation II? A better but comparable solution?
Also, what are other resort hotspots like Gulf Shores/Orange Beach around the South that don't have service?


User currently offlineRFields5421 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 7607 posts, RR: 31
Reply 13, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 3342 times:

There are already several "airlines" providing that service.

Flight Options, NetJets, FlexJet and more.

Anyone willing to pay that level for the service is just going to go ahead and charter a small jet.


User currently offlineERJ170 From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 6771 posts, RR: 17
Reply 14, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 3323 times:



Quoting RFields5421 (Reply 13):
There are already several "airlines" providing that service.

Flight Options, NetJets, FlexJet and more.

Anyone willing to pay that level for the service is just going to go ahead and charter a small jet.

Yeah.. but you can get a Cessna Grand Caravan in the executive configuration that can seat 8 that would work just as nice.. maybe not the range, but it would do quite well also.. and you would probably make more money for less...



Aiming High and going far..
User currently offlineTornado82 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 3318 times:



Quoting ERJ170 (Reply 14):

Yeah.. but you can get a Cessna Grand Caravan in the executive configuration that can seat 8 that would work just as nice.. maybe not the range, but it would do quite well also.. and you would probably make more money for less...

Or, if you're in any type of hurry and want to seat 8ish... a Pilatus PC-12 is alot faster than that plane that is as slow as the car it shares a name with.


User currently offlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21627 posts, RR: 55
Reply 16, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 3257 times:



Quoting ERJ170 (Reply 14):
Cessna Grand Caravan



Quoting Tornado82 (Reply 15):
Pilatus PC-12

Both good planes that are more economical than a jet, but let's compare this type of airline to chartering. One of the great advantages of chartering is that you set the schedule. In order for an airline to be competitive with chartering, they have to offer enough frequency to make themselves attractive. And in order to make money on that additional frequency, there have to be enough passengers to fill each of the flights to a certain load factor. Which means you need more people on the route than you would to fill one flight. Despite the increased economy of a Caravan or PC-12 over a jet, it's still going to be quite expensive compared to a regular airline flight, and especially so compared to driving. Are there enough people who are willing to pay that extra money over the airlines or driving, particularly when they can't pick their own destination (which you can do with a charter)? Some areas have the market to support that kind of service. I've never heard of the Alabama beaches being one of those areas, particularly when PNS is only 30+ miles away and can offer same-airline flights to anywhere in the country and beyond on DL. And DL already offers first class to PNS on some flights, and could easily make it available on all flights by putting its CR9s on the route. There's no way that a Caravan-based scheduled airline could compete with the cost structure of DL flying to MEM, BNA, ATL, RDU and CLT.

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently offlineMOBflyer From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 1209 posts, RR: 4
Reply 17, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 3113 times:



Quoting Mir (Reply 16):
There's no way that a Caravan-based scheduled airline could compete with the cost structure of DL flying to MEM, BNA, ATL, RDU and CLT.

But Cape Air's similar aircraft can compliment B6 ops? Additionally, this would be a full service airline. There would be no attempt to compete with DL's relatively low fares.

On a separate note, how would a code-share with Delta work out? Delta's Beach Express...


User currently offlineMiller22 From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 718 posts, RR: 4
Reply 18, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 2968 times:

I think your biggest problem would be Day Jet. I'm not optimistic about small-gage premium service, simply because it's too close to the charters or fractionals and the customer would be nailed down to a schedule. Given that Day Jet has a lot of money behind them, they'll be able to at least milk the niche for as much as its worth, putting serious pressure on your market. I just don't see anyone consistently paying premium dollar for inferior service and scheduling.

You get down to the Beech 1900 range, and you may be able to pull something like that off. The business person worries most about schedule, which means you can get away with props and slower aircraft better than those willing to sit in ATL for three hours to avoid spinning propellers. Sounds backwards, I know, but many an airline has been successful doing that.

All told, you have to find a niche that noone can fill, no matter how much bank they have. If you were profitable on an 8 seat jet, you'd see Day Jet within weeks. I get the feeling they're going to be desperate for cash.


User currently offlinePC12Fan From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 2444 posts, RR: 5
Reply 19, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 2813 times:

It would be a very limited market. If the are passengers that want to fly that far from a destination, most likely there will be another larger airport nearby that could provide the connection. But I do see what you are getting at and I believe the PC-12 would be the ideal aircraft. With nine passengers the PC-12 still has a range of 600nm. A decent speed of 280 kts max criuse. Pending on the configuration, I believe a potty could also be included. (theoretically as I think the lav is only avialable in the executive configuration, but hey, we are talking theory after all)


Just when I think you've said the stupidest thing ever, you keep talkin'!
User currently offlinePmk From United States of America, joined May 1999, 664 posts, RR: 2
Reply 20, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 2746 times:

It's been tried twice, bu the same company, the business model doesn't work. The company was called SkyTaxi. There's not much left on the internet about them but here is one article.

http://www.avweb.com/avwebflash/briefs/190442-1.html

PMK


User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 30987 posts, RR: 86
Reply 21, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 2726 times:
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Quoting Mir (Reply 3):
I'm not convinced, however, that there are 18 people willing to pay the fares it would take to turn a profit with that type of operation when there are other airports with regional service that aren't that far away.

Another issue to consider is would those 18 people all want to fly (in 2 groups of 9) at the same time to allow two flights out and two returns, maximizing efficiency?


User currently offlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21627 posts, RR: 55
Reply 22, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 2701 times:



Quoting MOBflyer (Reply 17):
Additionally, this would be a full service airline. There would be no attempt to compete with DL's relatively low fares.

DL is a full service airline too. The point I'm making is that the airline you propose will need to charge more than DL does in order to make a profit due to higher costs per passenger (small props are better than small jets, but they're still a pretty inefficient way to move people). So much more that it's difficult to imagine why enough people would consistently choose to fly that airline when they could fly DL out of very-nearby PNS for much less, even in first class, to anywhere in the country as opposed to just a few places in the southeast.

Comparisons to Cape Air run into some significant problems. You want to run significantly longer routes than Cape Air. JKA is 260nm away from ATL, and the other destinations you mentioned are farther than that. Cape Air's longest route (BOS-RUT) is 110nm, and the flights to the Cape and islands are all 80nm or lower. You want to fly into an airport with airline-served alternatives right nearby. Even if you don't fly into JKA, you can get there easily by car from MOB or PNS. That's not the case for Cape Air staples like MVY and ACK - they're the only suitable airports on their respective islands, so it's either Cape Air or the ferry.

Quoting MOBflyer (Reply 17):
On a separate note, how would a code-share with Delta work out? Delta's Beach Express...

Not very well either, when they already fly into an airport 30 miles away on aircraft with first class service.

Quoting Miller22 (Reply 18):
All told, you have to find a niche that noone can fill, no matter how much bank they have.

 checkmark  The niche you need is "people travelling to the Alabama coast who are willing and able to pay much more money for a very small increase in convenience." I do not believe that such a niche exists in enough of a reliable quantity. You may get a full flight every so often, but that isn't going to pay the bills.

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently offlinePavlovsDog From Norway, joined Sep 2005, 658 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 2630 times:

Personally I think there is a massive market for non-stop, medium range services between medium sized cities in the Eastern half of the US. Something like a Southwest model with connection opportunities at virtually every city but with the focus on O+D. Personally I would choose Saabs as the basis of the fleet. The 340 is a great size for the small markets and the 2000 with it's higher speeds would be ideal for longer routes.

Harrisburg, Hartford, Syracuse, Richmond, Roanoke, Greensboro, Knoxville, Jacksonville, Jackson, Biloxi, Birmingham, Little Rock, Wichita, Lousiville, Dayton and Grand Rapids are the kinds of markets I'm thinking about. Obviously you don't connect all the dots but with some decent planning it should be possible to create a niche operation with high customer loyalty who don't want to connect at IAD, CVG, CLT, ATL or MEM to get to their final destination. Fares could be reasonable with a low cost structure and demand could be primed just like WN has done in larger markets. Many of these cities had service to a greater number of destinations before derugulation. I think it could work.


User currently offlineFlyASAGuy2005 From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 7004 posts, RR: 11
Reply 24, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 2615 times:

Quoting ERJ170 (Reply 4):

Cape Air's planes are night seats right?

[Edited 2008-01-12 06:20:06]


What gets measured gets done.
25 EMBQA : Plain and simple it been tried many times before and failed. The cost far to operate out paces profits and the load factors are not there...........
26 Post contains images Mir : They are nine seats, yes. Those nine seats can also be night seats at the right time of day. -Mir
27 2175301 : While I suspect that their might be a few places where this could work... I am more impressed by the ability of the Charter companies to accommodate r
28 MOBflyer : SkyTaxi was an ON-DEMAND taxi service. This would be a scheduled airline offering a premium product. A scheduled airline has many economic advantages
29 Drewwright : I think it is a great idea that just needs to be fleshed out a little bit more. The traveling public is becoming weary of the hassles associated with
30 2175301 : Sorry if I misunderstand... But, if it was a scheduled passenger service with tickets generally available to the public; I believe that it would have
31 MOBflyer : I am not positive about the specifics, but I know that there are thresholds regarding TSA presence. For example, scheduled public charters from IWA t
32 RFields5421 : I think you will find a significant number of people using 10 hour and 25 hour purchases rather than an actual fractional ownership. Yes the companie
33 Post contains links and images EMBQA : Been tried.. failed badly............ MyAviation.net photo: Photo © Pierre Langlois Sitting in BNA....... View Large View Medium Photo © Paul Robbi
34 Paddy : Get it? Got it? Good! It's a cool idea, MOBflyer, but the market just isn't there for the above reasons. One comes across countless other proposals l
35 AirBuffalo : Define "premium service" --- the routes discussed here are essentially short hops or feeders out of remote airports. under this assumption, the follow
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