Friday, February 3, 2017

JetSuiteX Delays Santa Monica Service Plan

JetSuiteX, which had planned to begin serving Santa Monica Airport (SMO/KSMO) on February 6, has delayed its launch date after entering into a standstill agreement with the city of Santa Monica. The public charter operator had planned to begin flying its Embraer EMB135s on scheduled flights between SMO, Carlsbad and San Jose, California, on February 6, but “has agreed not to operate at Santa Monica prior to February 15,” according to a JetSuiteX statement.
The city of Santa Monica signed a settlement agreement with the FAA on Saturday, allowing the city to close SMO at the end of 2028. The consent agreement also allows the city to shorten SMO’s 4,973-foot runway to 3,500 feet with 30 days' notice. With only 3,500 feet of runway at SMO, none of the JetSuite airplanes that fly JetSuiteX trips could use the airport (Phenom 100, Citation CJ4 and ERJ135).

According to JetSuiteX, it sold flights to more than 1,000 customers after announcing the service on December 14. JetSuiteX has now cancelled all SMO flights from February 6 through 24 “to avoid uncertainty and confusion…and will issue full refunds for all affected customers.”

More than half of the ticket buyers were residents of Santa Monica, and the charter operator planned to offer discounts to any Santa Monica resident after their first ticket purchase to encourage residents to benefit from using SMO. “I think we need to give the city and the residents a reason to use the airport,” JetSuiteX CEO Alex Wilcox told AIN in December.

“Given the uncertainty surrounding the status of the airport,” he said, “we have entered into this standstill agreement to provide time for an orderly process to negotiate with the city. We apologize to our clients…who have been adversely affected by the unprecedented recent events concerning SMO.”

(Matt Thurber - AINOnline News)

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