Ex-JetBlue executives set up JetSuite VLJ operation

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A group of former JetBlue Airways executives has formed a very light jet operation that pays the owners of the aircraft in return for allowing the company to charter their aircraft during any downtime.

JetSuite, founded by Alex Wilcox, has 50 Embraer Phenom 100 VLJs on firm order, with options on an additional 50 in the Phenom family it will also pay $25,000 a month to Phenom owners for the right to charter their aircraft on one-ways and other deadhead flight segments.

 
 

Wilcox, who served as president of India's Kingfisher Airlines after leaving JetBlue, says that JetSuite will offer simplified pricing with no hidden fees or charges. It will offer one-way pricing with no repositioning charges. "We will have no 'bait-and-switch' prices," he says.

Wilcox says that JetSuite will be the first and only private-jet fleet operator with airline-level standards for engine-condition trend monitoring, and will be certified under FAR Part 135.

The JetSuite operation will be based at Hawthorne airport near Los Angeles International, with additional operations at Henderson Executive in Las Vegas. It will limit itself to the western and south-western states of the USA. The company has begun informal discussions with its Federal Aviation Adminstration flight standards district office on certification, with the first revenue charter service planned for June 2009.

JetSuite pilots will be directly employed and trained by the company's vice-president of flight operations, who is a former United Airlines DC-10 fleet captain. Usto Schulz, a former JetBlue vice-president for safety and an FAA veteran, will serve as vice-president of certification and safety, while Robert Murphy, who has worked for both JetBlue and Kingfisher, will manage corperate affairs.