XO Bulks Up Winter New York-South Florida Private Jet Shuttle Flights

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Vista Global's XO is expanding its shuttle flights between New York and South Florida this winter. However, it will have company. Blade and JSX also offer individual seats on scheduled flights they operate between private jet terminals. There's also a new entrant: The Fleet Club plans to use a model like several members-only services connecting the West Coast and Hawaii. While the types of aircraft vary, the shared flights all use private terminals, enabling passengers to skip congested airline terminals, including snaking lines to check baggage or pass-through TSA security.

XO will operate up to five shuttle flights per day in each direction linking Westchester County Airport north of New York City and Teterboro Airport, the primary private jet airport for Manhattan, with Palm Beach International, Fort Lauderdale International and Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport. The winter schedule calls for 30 flights per week.

Teterboro (1st), Palm Beach (2nd), Westchester County (5th), Opa Locka (8th) and Fort Lauderdale International (22nd) ranked among the busiest airports for private jets in 2021.

"XO pioneered and continues to lead the shared flight opportunity, so private flyers can enjoy private flying benefits at one-tenth of the cost of a full charter," said Lynn Fischer, Chief Marketing Officer at XO. "In addition to economic value, shared flights offer significant sustainability advantages. While, on average, fewer than three passengers travel on board a private aircraft, shared flights accommodate 10 or more passengers, increasing the efficiency of seating capacity by 230%."

Earlier this year, XO acquired two Bombardier regional jets to boost the flights. Each airplane has been reconfigured in a 1-by-1 configuration with just 18 seats and two cabin attendants. Gourmet meals can be preordered and there is 4G WIFI to stay connected. One-way tickets start at $1,500 per seat.

For its part, Blade hasn't announced its schedule yet. However, CEO Rob Wiesenthal tells Forbes the flights will start before Thanksgiving, for the seventh straight year from Westchester to Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport and for the second year in a row to Palm Beach International Airport.

"We've seen a tremendous number of our regular flyers who have made their second homes in Florida their first homes, have bought second homes in Florida or have moved altogether, but come back to New York from time to time," says Wiesenthal.

The flights, which normally end at Easter, will continue through May this season, he says, pointing to Blade's private terminals at HPN and OPF and its helicopter flights in New York that allow customers to transfer from Manhattan to Westchester County Airport, which is located about 30 miles north of the city.

Blade will use aircraft with 12 to 16 seats. Last year 10-pack ticket books were priced from $2,560 one-way per seat.

JSX, which has been adding flights between Texas, Colorado, Las Vegas, Phoenix and Southern California, continues with its flight between Miami International Airport and Westchester Country, which operate five to six times a week in each direction and start at $769.

Its flights are on reconfigured Embraer E135s and E145s with 30 leather seats and extra legroom. It is adding connectivity via SpaceX's Starlink starting later this year.

New is The Fleet Club. The start-up brings together Bernard Schwartz, a veteran hospitality entrepreneur and Michele Sullivan, who has 15 years of experience organizing similar members-only shuttles to Kona where Schwartz was a customer.

Plans call for twice-weekly flights from the Signature Flight Support terminal at Miami International Airport to both Eagle County Regional Airport in Colorado and Long Island's MacArthur Airport, using FBOs. While the Eagle flights will operate with a Boeing 757, the flights to New York will use 737s, in both cases configured 2-by-2 with first-class seating and at least 48 inches of pitch between rows.

Schwartz, whose APICII has helped develop hospitality concepts for clients ranging from Montage Los Cabos and Miami's Bath Club to the Seattle Mariners, says both private jet clubs are already about half sold to their maximum of 200 members.

He says Islip is an easy helicopter hop to Manhattan and is at the doorstep of the Hamptons, providing an appeal to those of you who split your time between Miami, New York City and Eastern Long Island.


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