Relief is in sight for business travelers from Washington, DC, New York, and Boston (and 12 other cities soon to be announced.) Linear Air represents the next great thing in the realm of business travel. Travel on the major airlines has become more and more complicated and delay-ridden. For the business traveler, the solution is the air taxi. With an air taxi, the business traveler will no longer have to contend with long lines at airports, delays while waiting for connections, and having to spend the night out of town because there's no same day return flight available. Because Linear Air's luxury planes are small they can take advantage of the runways at practically all of the regional airports around the country - which will put the traveler much closer to their final destination than is currently the case.
Linear Air will be able to take its passengers to virtually any airport in the Northeast or Mid-Atlantic, to Canada, and seasonally in the Caribbean.
The air taxi concept is fairly new, an outgrowth of the air charter business, and is made possible by the advent of the Very Light Jets (VLJs) that are coming on the market. These jets can fly at a ceiling of 41,000 feet, which allows them to avoid most bad weather, are luxuriously appointed for each passenger, and have all the latest safety equipment, not to mention top-of-the line design.
Linear Air is currently doing business as a charter, flying the Cessna Caravan which seats 8 people in luxurious comfort. They expect to being their taxi service in late 2007, after they've obtained their fleet of 30 Eclipse 500s - the first VLJ on the market. (In contrast, DayJet, which also expects to start flying in late 2007, will have a fleet of 300 Eclipses. DayJet, however, will confine its service to Florida to start with.)
The Eclipse is designed to be flown by a single pilot, but it can be customized with a co-pilot's seat as well, and all those built for commercial travel will be so customized. Three to four passengers will be seated in luxurious comfort while the VLJ gets them to their destination quite quickly. The Eclipse has a 370-knot maximum cruise speed, a 3,314-feet-per-minute rate of climb, and a maximum altitude of 41,000 ft. Its takeoff distance is 2,297ft, and its landing distance (assuming a 4,600 lb landing weight), is 2,155 ft, which will allow it to take advantage of the hundreds of the shorter runways of the regional airports that Linear Air will be utilizing.
The fare to take an air taxi to your destination is comparable to taking a full-fare coach flight on a major airline. But there is an opportunity for saving money. Linear Air offers a service which they call "Fair Fares." If you book a flight with them you are charged the "full fare" for your seat - what you will pay if the flight takes off with a minimum passenger load. However, even at this rate the ticket price is almost the same as for a full coach fare on a major airline. However, as the flight fills up, your ticket price goes down - and your account is credited - for you to use on future travel on Linear Air.
As a charter service, Linear Air has scheduled service four times a week for each of the route that they fly. When the air taxi portion of their business takes to the air, it will expand their service exponentially.
Linear Air is based in Lexington, Massachusetts. Its founder is William Herp, a successful entrepreneur and its CEO is Michael Goulian. They have assembled a crack team to ensure that their new air taxi venture is a success.