July 27, 2007

Representatives of a fledgling air taxi service will meet with St. Lucie County officials next week to explore the possibility of providing service from St. Lucie County International Airport.

"They have to figure out if there's enough potential business here to justify it," County Commission Chairman Chris Craft said.

Airport Director Diana Lewis said DayJet officials have been noncommittal but have talked with her several times.

"They would operate out of one of the fixed-base operations here," Lewis said, referring to privately owned flight service centers. "This air taxi idea is causing concern among major carriers because they could lose business travelers."

The air taxi would allow passengers to decide when they want to leave and fly there without changing planes in Orlando, Atlanta or other major airports.

DayJet would use Eclipse 500 aircraft and initially serve Boca Raton, Gainesville, Lakeland, Pensacola and Tallahassee. It plans to expand into five other Southeastern states.

Passengers would use the company's Web site to tell what time they want to leave and where they want to fly. Computers would determine the most efficient use of the aircraft.

Eclipse cabins are about the size of a minivan, with seats for two pilots and three passengers.

Customers would pay a $250 annual membership fee, agree to fly at least four times a year and pay the fare from city to city.

~ jim_reeder@pbpost.com