For new customers who might enjoy the benefits of flying from quieter airports, with fewer security hassles and on a more convenient schedule, the charter market can appear somewhat incomprehensible, especially when using smaller aircraft. William Herp, CEO of Concord, Mass.-based charter operator Linear Air, has what he sees as a solution to help bring lower-cost charter flying to a much larger audience: a nationwide charter market called the Linear Connect Digital Marketplace.
Very light jet air-taxi operator Linear Air received FAA approval to use iPads as electronic flight bag devices yesterday, making it the first commercial air carrier in the FAA’s Eastern region to receive such approval. “iPads in the cockpit enable Linear Air to eliminate 50 pounds of paper, allow seamless updating and more efficient handling of operational and customer service issues,” said company president and CEO William Herp.
Eclipse 500 air-taxi firm Linear Air on Friday announced new benefits for frequent-flier customers from Boston Hanscom Field and Westchester County Airport in White Plains, N.Y. The Concord, Mass.-based charter operator’s new “platinum service” program will be offered at no charge to customers who fly more than five trips from these airports.
Despite the littered road of failed very light jet air-taxi firms, Linear Air said it has been able to make the model work and has even eked out a profit during one of the worst recessions since the Great Depression. The Concord, Mass.-based company said its revenues in the first half increased to nearly $1 million with its four Eclipse 500s, doubling the results from the first half of last year.
Eclipse Aerospace (Booth No. 1235) and Spanish charter operator Jet Ready will launch the first European air-taxi service using the Eclipse 500 very light jet (VLJ) here at EBACE tomorrow.
Before Eclipse Aviation declared bankruptcy and ended production of the Eclipse 500 in late 2008, the company manufactured about 260 of the very light twinjets.
Of these, some 30 were equipped with Avio NG avionics. At press time, seven aircraft had been upgraded for full flight-into-known-icing (FIKI) and Avio NG 1.5 avionics. It’s fair to assume that eventually all of the remaining “NG airplanes” will be upgraded.
Eclipse 500 air-taxi operator Linear Air and High Performance Aircraft Training (HPAT) yesterday announced that they have partnered to provide Eclipse 500 pilot training under Linear Air’s FAA-approved Eclipse training program. Linear Air will continue to offer pilot training at its facility at Hanscom Airport in Bedford, Mass., either in an owner/operator’s airplane or in one of Linear Air’s.
As the liquidation process for the assets of bankrupt Eclipse Aviation drags on, four groups have announced proposals to buy those assets and restart product support and in some cases production for the orphaned Eclipse 500 very light jet. There may be Chinese interest in bidding on the Eclipse assets, too.
With VLJ manufacturer Eclipse Aviation facing Chapter 7 liquidation proceedings, an organization is needed to provide support to owners of the 259 Eclipse 500 jets in the field.
The VLJ era started with a bang on March 6, 2000, when Eclipse Aviation announced the formal launch of the Eclipse 500, a program “designed to apply technological breakthroughs in creating a series of safe, reliable, low-cost jet aircraft that will enable transformation of the U.S. air transportation system.”
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