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US airline JSX exploits loophole to offer private jet experience at business class prices

Simon Calder’s Travel

A US airline that provides seats on chartered planes for business class prices has been called “not safe” by aviation insiders.

Texas-based carrier JSX could face federal charges for its rule-bending approach to providing the “private jet experience”.

US Federal Aviation Administration regulations allow much easier security requirements for on-demand public charter planes with less than nine seats. However, single seats cannot be sold and flight times or cities cannot be specified.

JSX founder Alex Wilcox told Bloomberg: “I spent months without sleep, just looking at all the rules, looking for ways why it couldn’t be done.

“Every single person we talked to said, ‘No, you can’t do it.’ So we did it.”

To work a loophole in the rules, Wilcox created two companies that work together as one. One company sells tickets and schedules flights and a second flies the aircrafts on specified routes at set times and dates.

This allows JSX “hop-on” tickets, including from Austin to New Mexico, to sell from $249 (£196) – a much more affordable price point than industry competitors.

The private jet experience on the JSX website is outlined as “flying designed for you” with “No crowds. Dedicated hangars. Baggage included. Free drinks. Fast Wi-Fi.”

After investment from United Airlines in 2022, the airline now operates almost 35,000 flights over 48 routes across the US and claims to save “up to two hours” per journey swerving long lines in airport terminals.

Following JSX’s success competitors are now lobbying against the public charter plane practice with the US Transportation Security Administration and the FAA considering changes to overrule the loophole.

Bob Jordan, Southwest’s chief executive officer said to Bloomberg: “If you’re going to be a scheduled carrier, whoever you are, follow the rules for a scheduled carrier.

“We have decades of proof that accidents have significantly declined and safety has significantly improved. Just follow that standard.”

The Southwest complaint and similar sentiments from American Airlines and other commercial carriers could lead to federal charges against public charter carriers operating like JSX.

Doug Parker, former American Airlines chairman, said: “They say it’s a better model. It’s not a better model because it’s not safe.”

JSX, originally founded in 2015…

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