September 19, 2008
By Alton K. Marsh
DayJet has grounded the remainder of its fleet that was still flying after failure to find $40 million in needed funding forced layoffs and a cutback in operations in May. DayJet officials were not taking calls Sept. 19.
A report on SunSentinel.com said the air taxi company, with service to Florida and southern states, informed the FAA that it would ground all of its aircraft but one. The one aircraft will be used for executive travel as the company fights for needed funding.
The company said in May that its business plan was not only working, but that it had met its early customer-growth goals.
The move came one day after a hearing before the aviation subcommittee of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on issues relating to the FAA certification of the Eclipse 500 aircraft used by DayJet. The Department of Transportation inspector general told the committee the aircraft is safe, but there may have been undue pressure on FAA inspectors and pilots to award type and production certifications. There is no indication the events of Thursday are related to the DayJet standdown.
Before DayJet ceased operations, Eclipse reported a backlog of 2,300 aircraft orders for the Eclipse 500. But of those, more than 1,400 were orders from DayJet. Eclipse now has less than 1,000 orders. Eclipse expects the backlog to grow once the aircraft is certified in Europe.
AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Alton Marsh has been a pilot since 1970 and has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates, aerobatic training, and a commercial seaplane certificate.
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