By Mateen Kontoravdis
JSX Elevates Flying Experience with Starlink and Rapid Growth
It’s been a year of constant growth and development for JSX. After moving its corporate headquarters from California to Dallas almost five years ago, the air carrier has been hard at work refining its product and growing its network across the country. While Las Vegas to Los Angeles may have been JSX’s original bread and butter, the semi-private flights are gaining momentum across the country with unique route opportunities popping up everywhere.
Over the past few years, JSX has proven to offer a fresh experience to air travel, sprinkling in unique services and offerings throughout a passenger’s journey. Passengers seem to want more as the air carrier experiences nonstop year-over-year growth.
From 2019 through today, JSX has grown its annual enplanements by 118%. While 2022 was the air carrier’s busiest year with over 30,000 revenue flights flown, this number is expected to grow by over 65% in 2023. This year, JSX expects to record about $500 million in revenue and the air carrier’s CEO predicts that this number will grow to over $1 billion in the next five years.
More Airports, More Airplanes, More Opportunities
All regularly scheduled U.S. airlines operate as Part 121 carriers and have access to just 517 airports across the country. JSX, however, operates as a Part 135 carrier, allowing the air carrier to access over 1,500 airports nationwide. As long as the airport has at least 5,000 feet of runway pavement, JSX can land its jets there.
Throughout the industry, legacy carriers such as American, Delta, and United have been affected by a pilot shortage and have shifted focus to newer, larger jets such as the A321neo and 737 MAX 10 that allow for more seat capacity per flight. As a result, these carriers continue to pull out of smaller, regional markets. Between 2019 and 2022, regional airlines in the U.S. saw a 34% dip in flight traffic, over 18% more than medium and large airports across the nation.
Despite a significant nationwide rebound in air travel over the last two years, JSX CEO Alex Wilcox is confident that the major airlines will likely not return to the small airports that they have pulled out of, leaving thousands of seats out of smaller markets that have proven demand. Wilson believes that this will provide a significant opportunity for JSX as it expands its point-to-point route network. Since its inception, the air carrier has found it relatively easy to stimulate demand at airports with competition versus airports where JSX is the only carrier providing flights.
While the thesis of the air carrier’s network began in California on routes less than 500 miles, JSX has slowly embraced longer flights and expanded eastward. Since 2018, the air carrier has been adding flights from its new home in Dallas as well, connecting the state to its West Coast network as well as Austin and Houston. Despite heavy intra-Texas competition, the air carrier is expecting to launch a new city within the state over the next 12 months. JSX also recently began operating flights to New Mexico as well, flying all Taos Air flights.
The air carrier has also found success along the East Coast since the first flight touched down in Miami in November 2021. New flights to Martha’s Vineyard and Portland, ME are being added from White Plains and additional growth along the East Coast is expected over the next few years. The air carrier is also actively looking at opening a base in Florida to complement its Dallas and West Coast bases.
As an exclusive Embraer E-135 and E-145 operator, you would expect JSX to be flying older, worn out aircraft. And while the jets may be over 20 years old, each JSX aircraft goes through the air carrier’s signature “Planecycling” program prior to entering service. This sustainable reconfiguration breathes new life into the old cabins of each jet the air carrier acquires.
The E-145 can accommodate up to 50 passengers, but JSX has just 30 seats onboard each aircraft in a 1-1 configuration. Each seat has at least 34-inches of legroom and a power outlet. The air carrier also removed the overhead bins and added bright lighting to give the cabin a spacious, airy feeling.
There are currently 16 E-135s in the fleet. These jets exclusively operate short, California routes. JSX also has 21 E-145s in its premium 1-1 configuration. The air carrier recently acquired over 40 additional E-145s and plans to retrofit and add one more jet to its fleet every six weeks over the next few years.
Additionally, JSX recently signed a lease in a vacant hangar next door to the Frontiers of Flight Museum at Dallas Love Field. This will serve as its headquarters, maintenance facility, and future passenger lounge. The space is expected to open in October 2023 and will offer an upgraded experience for passengers traveling with from Dallas. A new Operations Control Center is also being built near the hangar.
With over 1,000 employees, additional aircraft joining the fleet, and operations spreading across the country, JSX is ascending to new heights. While certain routes are profitable, the air carrier is not yet collectively profitable. Executives at JSX expect profitability soon, though they didn’t mention a timeline. The air carrier is privately owned with high profile backers including JetBlue and Qatar Airways.
An Unmatched Experience with Starlink WiFi
As the air carrier grows and welcomes new customers, it has heavily focused on refining the passenger experience. Customers flying JSX will always depart or arrive at a private terminal, away from the busy crowds in the cities the air carrier serves. In fact, JSX customers are advised to arrive for the flight just 20 to 30 minutes before departure.
Once onboard, passengers have access to SpaceX’s Starlink wifi from takeoff to touchdown. Connecting to Starlink is extremely easy. All you have to do is turn on the WiFi signal after switching to airplane mode and select the “Free JSX Starlink WiFi” network. There are no pop up menus or other requirements and the wifi is completely free throughout the trip.
During a recent demo flight, I experienced the fastest internet connection I’ve ever had while inflight. The download speeds were faster than the typical speeds I experience on the ground. Starlink wifi allows passengers to easily stream their favorite services such as YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu, eliminating the need for the air carrier to offer pre-selected content. You can quickly
Wilcox also teased that the air carrier is in the process of becoming the first to be certified by the FAA for inflight videoconferencing on applications such as FaceTime and Zoom.
JSX is the only air carrier in the world to offer Starlink, though more airlines such as Hawaiian Airlines and AirBaltic are expected to adopt the technology in the future. Each aircraft in the fleet will feature Starlink wifi. The installation process is done in house by JSX and takes approximately eight hors per aircraft.
While the wifi works at stellar speeds, the onboard service is also an impressive feat of flying with JSX. Once airborne, passengers on all flights are offered free alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages as well as a wide range of snacks. Drink choices include local and trendy picks from the various regions that the air carrier serves
Passengers traveling on flights over 500 miles are treated to the JSX long-haul experience. This includes hot towels and fresh cold food for all. Some choices include a Mediterranean Mezze, Thai Noodles, and a Chicken Wrap. Upon landing, passengers can collect their baggage airside as they deboard. While customers can earn United and JetBlue points when flying on JSX, the air carrier is also planning to launch its own unique loyalty program in the near future.
From convenient private terminals, industry leading wifi, and enhanced onboard offerings, JSX is working to innovate and set a new standard for the air travel experience. The air carrier continues to grow and offer a unique alternative to the traveling public as leisure demand reaches new records.