A new semi-private jet company is aiming to provide a travel experience that’s as world-class and sustainably minded as Aspen itself.
AspenJet is launching nonstop semi-private charter flights to and from some of Aspen’s top feeder markets: Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Dallas-Austin, San Francisco and South Florida. By spaciously reconfiguring 88-seat jets to fit just 30 seats, this executive-class flying experience also provides travelers with essential health and safety precautions, and physical distancing.
With the exclusive ability to fly nonstop from New York and South Florida, these travelers now have direct access to Aspen without connections or TSA lines. The service is expected to begin in early 2021.
“This concept of shared flight takes the people currently chartering private planes and moves them into the carpool lane,” said AspenJet Founder, President and CEO Patrick Dial. “That means fewer flights coming in, less noise, less pollution, and less operational burden on the airport.”
Sustainably minded travel
AspenJet’s retrofitted Embraer E-JETS aircraft feature General Electric’s ultra-quiet engines, and Dial is also developing partnerships for enhanced fuel logistics, when and where possible, as well as utilizing new Biojet fuels to reduce carbon emissions. There will also be in-flight use of various eco-friendly materials throughout.
“AspenJet is prioritizing the values of being sustainable in launching a new charter airline — we’re trying to tie as much of that into our brand as possible,” Dial said. ”We’re designing an exclusive service for discerning travelers who also want to be more socially conscious and environmentally friendly.”
Dial said both commercial and private air travelers need more options in the marketplace for more sustainable travel. Many want the ability to fly in style without being wasteful, he said.
“There is a movement afoot with first-class commercial travelers wanting and needing an elevated travel experience, especially during COVID, while many private flyers are looking to downsize,” he said. “They’re starting to understand they don’t need as much extravagance, so does it really make sense to fly alone on a giant private aircraft?”
Built with the Aspen community in mind
AspenJet’s aircraft will have a wingspan under 95 feet, which is the current maximum at Aspen Airport. With older generation jets soon being taken out of service, AspenJet’s ERJ-175 and/or ERJ-190 aircraft provide a self-mandated compromise solution both now and in the future if/when an airport expansion leads to larger aircraft in Aspen.
Dial, who has an aviation background and is a full-time Aspen resident, has closely followed the airport’s visioning process and has incorporated relevant community input into his business plan to avoid the use of larger jets.
“We want AspenJet to be right in line with the wants and needs of the community, ultimately, being good stewards in helping maintain the character of our community” Dial said. “As a consequence, shared-flight means less flights into Aspen, which we all agree would be a good thing.”
Affordability and convenience
Private charter jets have always been a popular option for Aspen travelers, but one segment of that business involves small groups traveling together and sharing the costs for private charter jets. Dial said it’s common for a group of 8 or so friends or family members to book a jet, but there’s a risk that one or more people in the group drop out.
“They say they’ll share the airplane costs and agree on what it costs, and then a person bows out at the last minute and the rest of the group is stuck paying the difference,” Dial said.
Other services use crowdsourcing technology to find an empty seat on a jet heading to or from Aspen, but it makes finding the flight you want, at the price you want, much harder.
“We’re taking away the risk of crowdsourcing a private airplane with friends by providing scheduled, semi-private service for about ⅓ of the cost,” Dial said.
Connecting with new friends
When you step onto your semi-private flight, everything from the service to the style to the food is going to feel like Aspen. Like sitting at the Ajax Tavern or on the Sundeck on a Sunday afternoon, Dial envisions a flying experience much like the social experience and culture of Aspen.
“The magic of AspenJet, like the magic of Aspen itself will be about making new friends, ones you might hike, bike, ski, dine or possibly do some new business with, as well as enjoying a more socially-conscious, eco-friendly, way to fly,” Dial said. “Think carpool for the jet-set crowd. And, enjoy an all-new type of travel experience that we’re coining to be ‘Experiential Travel. Elevated Flight.’
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