We are witnessing the exciting, long-awaited move to localized airports for general flight travel in the USA, made possible by commercial flights on much smaller aircraft. These smaller aircraft are also known as general aviation or business jets. It’s been tried many times, but this time it has real traction. The move to localized municipal airports will be a game-changer, with a cascading impact to be felt by business, real estate, and society. These small aircraft allow your flight plans to be more closely aligned with your specific travel needs, rather than flying with large number of people on a big airplane.
Smaller aircraft > smaller runway > service smaller cities > changing the business model away from big city dependancy. This opens a whole new world of more flexible air travel. It works with smaller economizes of scale, but greater flexibility. The per-seat price is often getting closer to regular commercial air travel. It also can operate at a lower-cost airport with lower rent prices on the terminals, and the pilots usually need simpler certifications to fly smaller aircraft.
Time savers, with simpler parking, logistics, and away from big crowds make the small aircraft travel more efficient.
The smaller aircraft can access shorter runways, unlike a regular passenger jet like a Boeing 737 that needs a large runway at a large airport, usually near a big city.
The key example of the this new trend is JetSuiteX, a service of JetSuite. JetSuiteX offers a per-use, per-seat ticket sale, allowing a normal person to buy a single ride on a small aircraft, like a 30 seat business jet, whereas JetSuite uses a subscription model. So JetSuiteX is effectively competing directly with the commercial airline industry. Their innovate approach is validated with a recent investment from JetBlue. I was amazed to see the JetSuiteX tickets were about the same price as SouthWest…. Wow! But, it allows the ability to fly to some of the smaller municipal airports. Other players in the industry are also moving forward, like SurfAir, LinearAir, Blade, and BlackBird. Many of them are subscription based, while others are charter flights.
This was a dream that was long in the coming. There was a plan to have small feeder airports in southern California connect to LAX at one time. Cessna popularized general aviation and LearJet pioneered early business jets. Later, companies like DayJet worked to have affordable small business jets that could travel to many airports.
This revolution will impact business, real estate and strategy in the future in a big way. Where cities and business can logically be located is no longer constrained to large MSA, metro service areas, for a high technology business. Rather they can now fly in and have access to more remote locations. Watch for big things in transportation and business locations to be happening around the up and coming general aviation and charter routes. Some of the early ones are happening around ski resort towns, with travel to business tech hubs, like Mammoth Lakes, CA to San Jose, CA via JetSuiteX.