This week's New Disruptors video is about one of the most promising air taxi startups out there: DayJet. CEO Ed Iacobucci, the founder of Cytrix Systems, plans to use a fleet of small jets from Eclipse Aviation to offer charter jet service on a per-seat basis for not much more than the cost of a business-class seat on a commercial carrier. But he's trying to disrupt driving more than commercial air travel, since he is targeting secondary cities on the outer edges of the airline's traditional hub-and-spoke system.
Watch the video. (Full transcript after break).
(For more on air taxis, read the feature I wrote about DayJet and Eclipse last March).
TIRED OF THOSE 4 OR 5 HOUR DRIVES FOR BUSINESS TRIPS TO SMALL CITIES WITH BAD AIRLINES SERVICE?
A NEW BREED OF AIR TAXI STARTUPS WANTS TO CHANGE THAT WITH FAST, AFFORDABLE JET SERVICE TO SMALL CITIES ACROSS THE COUNTRY.
THE MOST AMBITIOUS OF THESE STARTUPS IS DAYJET. BASED IN FLORIDA - FOR NOW… IT’S GOT PLANS TO GO NATIONWIDE OVER THE NEXT 5 YEARS.
ED IACOBUCCI, CEO DAYJET: DayJet is essentially a new concept in transportation—that's point to point transportation between hard to get to markets. COVER WITH A MAP OF FLORIDA HIGHLIGHTING Boca Raton Fl, Lakeland Fl, Gainesville, Tallahassee and Pensacola.
All the airlines that we have today are built under what's called scheduled services. Where they build schedules and they advertise the availability and seats and people show up to fill them.
This is entirely different. This is built on small aircrafts that only seats three passengers and two pilots. And those three passengers are matched up by us.
TO AVOID BEING REGULATED LIKE A COMMERCIAL AIRLINE AIR TAXIS LIKE DAYJET ARE NOT ALLOWED TO PUBLISH A SCHEDULE.
ED IACOBUCCI: It turns managing the fleet into a very complicated mathematical problem.
MAKE THAT A MIND–BOGGLING PROBLEM WORKED ON BY DAYJET SCIENTISTS WHO SAY THINGS LIKE…
BRUCE SAWHILL: Theoretical physics
EUGENE TATES: Genetic programming.
THOSE GUYS HAVE COME UP WITH SOME SERIOUSLY POWERFUL SOFTWARE THAT SHOULD MAKE PERSONAL JET TRAVEL AFFORDABLE TO MORE PEOPLE THAN EVER BEFORE
ED IACOBUCCI: The system has to evaluate all the options and all the other commitments that's made and reassign airplanes and customer requests until it finds one that works.
DAYJET PLANS TO BUILD ITS FLEET WITH MORE THAN 300 SMALL JETS FROM ECLIPSE AVIATION, A NEW AIRCRAFT COMPANY THAT JUST GOT FAA APPROVAL TO SELL ITS PLANES EARLIER THIS YEAR.
THE COST OF THE NEW PLANE AND ITS OPERATING EXPENSES ARE LOW ENOUGH THAT DAYJET CAN CHARGE MUCH LESS THAN MOST CHARTER FLIGHTS, BUT STILL MORE THAN TYPICAL BUSINESS-CLASS FARE
FONT: A 300-MILE ROUNDTRIP SHOULD COST BETWEEN $600 AND $1,800
THE PRICE OF EACH DAYJET TICKET WILL BE BASED ON HOW FLEXIBLE EACH TRAVELER IS WITH HIS TIME.
ED IACOBUCCI: some people have a lot of time so they give us their time and we give them a cheaper ticket.
DAYJET DOESN'T EVEN SEE THE AIRLINES AS ITS CHIEF COMPETITION.
ED IACOBUCCI: The number one user of the service we anticipate will be drivers. When you get to all the other Secondary markets where people live… There is not enough demand to make scheduled flights between them. So people wind up driving where they would prefer to be flying.
VERN RABURN, CEO ECLIPSE AVIATION: This aircraft was really designed from the beginning to be more like a car.
TO HELP DETERMINE WHICH MARKETS TO ENTER NEXT… SCIENTISTS AT DAYJET HAVE SPENT THE PAST FOUR YEARS CREATING A COMPUTER SIMULATION OF BUSINESS TRAVEL NATIONWIDE WITH EVERY STATISTIC ABOUT THE BUSINESS TRIPS YOU CAN IMAGINE, INCLUDING PLANE AND TRAIN SCHEDULES, TICKET PRICES, AND DRIVE TIMES BETWEEN CITIES.
ED IACOBUCCI:: For the lack of a better term it's like Sim City on steroids.
ERICK SCHONFELD: Do you see any parallels between what you're doing now and how the PC industry disrupted the computer industry?
ED IACOBUCCI: In the early days of the PC we used to say why do you need a local area network. You can connect to a mainframe and do anything you want to do. But the truth of the matter is, there's an awful lot of data that flows between peers.
Bruce Sawhill, DayJet complexity scientist: It's the beginning of the end of the scheduled world. In the future a lot of things will be fluid like this.