US air taxi company JetSuite is adding 10 refurbished, second-hand Embraer ERJ-135LR regional airliners to its fleet of 20 entry-level and light business jets, in a move to expand its branded, low-cost, point-to-point service across the USA.
The first aircraft was handed to the operator, based in Irvine, California on 30 March. The second will arrive in late April, and the remainder of the fleet will be delivered over the next 14 months. Each unit is undergoing a $1 million interior and exterior refurbishment, which includes a bespoke 30-passenger configuration.
As well as being available for charter, the aircraft will be deployed on the company's new JetSuiteX scheduled service, which is set to launch on 19 April. The first route will be a weekday service linking Concord Buchanan Field near San Francisco with Burbank Bob Hope airport near Los Angeles. A weekend offering from San Francisco to Las Vegas will begin on 22 April.
JetSuite says the service, which only uses business aviation airports and terminals, is designed "to provide many of the comforts usually associated with private jet travel for the price of a traditional airline seat".
“Many of our customers have been asking us to provide the JetSuite experience in an aircraft with more seats and longer range, and we've listened,” says company chief executive Alex Wilcox. “It is exciting to offer the larger plane at such a price point.”
The economics of the ERJ-135LR, he says,“means that the [whole] aircraft can be chartered for only $8,000 per hour, which equates to less than $300 per seat per hour for 30 passengers".
JetSuite is the fourth largest business jet operator in the USA, with a fleet of 12 Phenom 100s and eight Cessna Citation CJ3s.