Two Air Taxi Firms To Operate Out of Polk County

SATSair will barnstorm 104 Florida airports during the next month to promote the company's commuter air service.

DayJet said it hopes to expand within two years from the five initial hubs to as many as 50 DayPorts in Florida and other southeastern states, including Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and North and South Carolina.

SATSair and DayJet operate different aircraft.

The Greenville company flies exclusively the Cirrus SR22, a four-seat propeller aircraft made by Cirrus Design Corp. of Duluth, Minn., that includes a parachute in the tail section in case of an engine malfunction. It currently operates 26 airplanes every day of the year, Hill said.

DayJet will fly exclusively the Eclipse 500 VLJ (for "very light jet"), a new aircraft developed by Eclipse Aviation Corp. of Albuquerque, N.M. The company projects the fuel-efficient jet will operate at half the cost of other jet aircraft.

The company just delivered its first Eclipse 500 to a Southern California company Jan. 4. DayJet said it would start with 10 Eclipse 500s, but has ordered at least 239 jets for its first two years.

DayJet and SATSair are not the only U.S. companies getting into the air taxi business. Linear Air of Lexington, Mass., hopes to begin Eclipse 500 service in the northeastern U.S., according to The New York Times.

Eclipse also has competitors selling to the air taxi companies, the Times reported. Adam Aircraft of Englewood, Colo., is awaiting federal certification for its A700, a six-passenger light jet. Brazilian manufacturer Embraer Air hopes to sell its four-passenger Phenom light jet next year, and Honda said it is working on a six-seat model similar to the Eclipse.

The SATSair Fly Florida Tour begins Monday at Pensacola Regional Airport. Company co-founder McConnell will fly weekdays through March 15, when he will end at the Fernandina Beach airport.

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