We have said before that the on-demand air taxi concept, based on very light jets like the Eclipse 500, will take off in the USA.

Distances between population centres, a flourishing entrepreneurial sector, the long acceptance of private aviation and frustration over stressful airline travel all create a climate in which air taxis will flourish.

Europe, where DayJet - the pioneering, Florida-based air taxi operator - plans to launch services this year, is not the USA. The business aviation market in Europe is booming and fringe regions such as Russia and Turkey are feeding that growth further.

However, DayJet may find it harder to sell the idea of air taxis to Europe's business executives. It will be up against vested and other interest groups, from airline associations and politicians to the vociferous green lobby to whom business aviation rivals suburban 4x4s as the ultimate in climate-changing indulgence.

Europe shares many characteristics with the USA - similar populations, an integrated economy and overcrowded airports - but there are many differences. They include Europe's largely excellent state-funded railways, more congested skies, fewer small airports and - not least - a corporate cultural wariness about expensive executive "perks" such as private air travel.

There is a niche for air taxis in Europe, but building the critical mass DayJet envisages will not be easy.


Source: Flight International