July 10, 2008

DayJet Launches Service At St. Pete-Clearwater Airport

By Ted Jackovics, Tampa Tribune, Fla.

Jul. 10--CLEARWATER -- DayJet, which operates on-demand flights throughout the Southeast aboard three-passenger "very light jets," announced Wednesday that St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport has become its 14th major location.

On Wednesday, the Pinellas County airport joined Sarasota Bradenton International and Lakeland Linder Regional as Tampa Bay area airports where travelers can book flights to more than 60 Southeast U.S. destinations, many of them airfields in small towns with no commercial airline service.

Boca Raton-based DayJet distinguishes itself from air taxi operators, which generally require renting an entire aircraft for a round-trip flight, with pricing and scheduling on a "per seat, on-demand" basis ranging from $1 to $4 a mile.

Passengers tell DayJet where and when they want to travel. DayJet responds with flexible pricing depending upon the period when the traveler wants to leave.

For example, a sample one-way fare from St. Petersburg-Clearwater International to Tallahassee Regional Airport might be $365.20, based on offering the passenger a six-hour departure window from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. If the passenger wanted to narrow the time frame to leave between 8 and 10 a.m., the flight would cost $858.93 on the hypothetical trip a DayJet spokeswoman discussed.

The lowest price available for a one-way reservation made Wednesday on a Continental Airlines flight this morning between Tampa International Airport and Tallahassee was $303.50.

"It means a lot for Tampa Bay and Pinellas County, especially for business people whose time is money," said Noah Lagos, St. Petersburg-Clearwater International's director.

The new revenue that DayJet will generate for the airport by operating out of the Sheltair Aviation Services facility won't help much, but the word-of-mouth exposure among travelers is bound to benefit the Pinellas airport, Lagos said.

The airport will lose one of its two primary carriers in August when USA3000 discontinues Pinellas flights in response to high fuel prices.

The airport reported an 11 percent gain in June to 72,417 passengers compared with June 2007.

Reporter Ted Jackovics can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 259-7817.


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