JSX’s Controversial Airline Business Model: Should It Be Banned?

JSX’s Controversial Airline Business Model: Should It Be Banned?

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JSX is an innovative but controversial airline. The company is facing quite a bit of scrutiny over its business practices, which I wanted to discuss in this post.

How the JSX business model works

For some background, JSX is a Dallas-based airline that was founded in 2016. Interestingly it has received investments by both JetBlue and United. JSX currently operates a fleet of 30 Embraer ERJ-135 and ERJ-145 aircraft, which are configured with just 30 seats.

JSX is all about offering a premium experience, as the airline departs from private terminals (and there’s private security, rather than the TSA), you can arrive just 20 minutes before departure, and there are free drinks, snacks, and Wi-Fi onboard. Because of the smaller airplanes and private terminals, JSX is also able to operate to some destinations that other airlines can’t fly to.

One of the key things about JSX’s business model is that the FAA considers the airline to be a Part 135 operator. While I’ll talk more about this below, what this means is that the company can hire pilots who are over 65 years of age (otherwise the retirement age for pilots at airlines), as well as pilots who have fewer than 1,500 hours (otherwise the minimum hours for pilots at airlines).

Given the pilot shortage that currently exists, this is a major benefit to the airline, both in terms of recruiting pilots, and in terms of not having to pay pilots as much as they’d make at other airlines. It’s my understanding that JSX typically rosters one senior captain (probably someone who is 65+ with tens of thousands of airline hours) with a junior first officer (who is building up hours to eventually work at a major airline).

All of JSX’s jets feature 30 seats

How JSX gets away with being a Part 135 operator

Why is JSX not subject to the same rules as other airlines when it comes to pilot requirements, security screening requirements, etc.?

Under Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations, most airlines are Part 121 operators, which are the regulations governing scheduled air carriers. JSX, meanwhile, is a Part 135 operator, as these are the rules governing commuter and on-demand operations. How are commuter and on-demand operations defined for these purposes?

  • On-demand operations can be conducted on aircraft with up to 30 seats; the key is that as an on-demand operator, your primary business model can’t be operating scheduled flights, so this could include private jet operators
  • Scheduled commuter operations can also be conducted under Part 135 operations, but only on aircraft with up to nine seats; for example, Mokulele Airlines operates Cessna 208B Grand Caravans in Hawaii, each with nine seats

So how can JSX get away with operating scheduled flights under Part 135 operations with aircraft that have 30 seats? Well, check out the disclaimer at the bottom of JSX’s website:

Flights are operated with E135 or E145 aircraft by Delux Public Charter, LLC (dba JSX Air or Taos Air), which holds an FAA Air Carrier Certificate (4DPA097O) and DOT commuter air carrier authorization. Flights are public charters sold by JetSuiteX, Inc. as the charter operator and Delux Public Charter, LLC as the direct air carrier, subject to DOT Public Charter Regulations at 14 C.F.R. Part 380. PC# 21-125 and PC# 22-146.

Essentially JSX has one company that sells tickets on scheduled services, and then another company that operates the flights. For the company operating the flight, technically these are “public charters,” in the sense that the company isn’t selling tickets. Rather it’s operating flights on behalf of another company that sold tickets.

Airline pilots union takes issue with JSX

Gary at View from the Wing reports on how the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) is attacking JSX. This is being done in the context of a separate regulatory issue whereby SkyWest is trying to set up a Part 135 operation as well, in order to operate Essential Air Service (EAS) routes. In a filing with the Department of Transportation (DOT), ALPA writes the following:

If it looks, swims, and quacks like a duck, it is a duck. Since JSX does in fact provide scheduled service, it should be deemed to do so, regardless of the fictitious regulatory disguise that it dons. JSX unequivocally holds out to the public scheduled service with advertisements such as: ‘Schedule extended! Book our flights through March 2024’ and ‘Hop on: our schedule is now available for purchase through March 2024.’

JSX’s public advertising to consumers belies its filing. JSX’s legal position is that if it were not for the FAA’s carveout, JSX’s flights would be unquestionably and legally ‘scheduled.’ To the consumer, unaware of fine-line regulatory distinctions or even the fine print buried in JSX’s advertisements, JSX’s flights are scheduled – just like its Part 121 competitors.

Gary is fully on JSX’s side here, and argues that “ALPA doesn’t want competition for premium travelers,” and that the union is making “a protectionist argument against innovation.” I have a very different take than Gary.

JSX manages to fly as a Part 135 operator

Yes, JSX is operating under a loophole

In favor of JSX, let me state that:

  • Personally I am a fan of the carrier’s business model, I hope to fly with the airline soon, and I’d feel totally safe flying with the airline
  • I think the 1,500-hour rule is nonsensical, because airlines in Europe have excellent safety records as well, yet you have pilots with just a few hundred hours experience flying; the 1,500-hour rule was imposed following the Colgan Air crash, even though both pilots had over 1,500 hours
  • The union has an obvious motive for making its argument, as it has an incentive to maintain the 1,500-hour rule and a pilot shortage, so that pilots can keep earning huge salaries

While I believe all that, it’s important to be balanced. Is JSX technically following the law? Yes, it would appear so. Is JSX’s model within the spirit of the law? Absolutely not:

  • As far as customers are concerned, JSX is a scheduled airline, as the airline publishes its schedule many months in advance, and consumers can book individual tickets
  • The only reason the airline can get away with operating as a Part 135 carrier while operating scheduled flights is by arguing that it has one company that sells tickets on flights, and another company that operates these “charter” flights on behalf of the other airline

While I want JSX to succeed and I think it’s time for the 1,500-hour rule to go, I also think it’s pretty obvious that the airline is operating using a loophole. Should that loophole be closed? I think it’s totally fair to express concerns in this regard, and I also think that consumers booking JSX don’t necessarily realize the distinction between the standards JSX is being held to compared to other airlines.

There are some really brilliant people behind JSX, and I trust they’re using best practices for safety. However, do we really want a bunch of new operators not subject to the same requirements as other airlines, simply because they exploit a loophole?

Bottom line

There isn’t much innovation in the US airline industry, but JSX has a unique business model, and I want to see the airline succeed. However, the airline is operating the way that it does using a loophole, and I think it’s fair to at least question whether the FAA should allow this.

I’m all for cutting the 1,500-hour rule and potentially raising the pilot retirement age. I also think JSX is perfectly safe to fly. But zooming out, I think there are some valid questions here.

What do you make of the JSX situation?

Conversations (83)
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  1. Ziggy Guest

    I tried JSX yesterday for a flight from NY to South Florida. The experience was superlative from a consumer perspective, clearly a significant step above first class commercial on Delta or United. The trip from kitchen table to kitchen table was about 4 hours, and the service and comfort were outstanding. The pilot looked a bit younger than those typically seen on the big commercial carriers, but I know nothing about exactly how safe the...

    I tried JSX yesterday for a flight from NY to South Florida. The experience was superlative from a consumer perspective, clearly a significant step above first class commercial on Delta or United. The trip from kitchen table to kitchen table was about 4 hours, and the service and comfort were outstanding. The pilot looked a bit younger than those typically seen on the big commercial carriers, but I know nothing about exactly how safe the flight was. I paid $599 one way, tremendous value for the privacy and comfort of this trip. I have a 7-figure annual income and a healthy 8-figure net worth, but I am too cheap to charter a jet. For the right routes, JSX is a great choice. Clearly I will be looking to fly them again.

  2. Mike Murphy Guest

    Insane Saftey issues. JSX is a disaster waiting to happen. Heard from an ex-pilot who worked there.

  3. Goforride Gold

    Whether JSX, or Contour, or Denver Air Connection operates under Part 135 or Part 121 has nothing to do with the pilots being union or non-union.

    The pilots are free to unionize as the see fit in either case, so saying this is about being pro- or anti-union is nonsense.

  4. Michael Guest

    JSX is a great innovation. I have been an airline pilot for the last 35 years and do not feel my job or airline safety is threatened by JSX. Alpa is corrupt down to their underwear and keeping JSX out of alpa hands should be their top priority.

  5. iamhere Guest

    If this airline has another company that is the charter flights then this company should be subject to the normal rules because it operates like a commercial airline. As in the old saying if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck it probably is a duck.

  6. Stephen Guest

    What this whole conversation seems to be missing is that "Should the JSX business model be banned?" Is totally the wrong question. A better question is "Should JSX be held to the same regulatory requirements as other airlines?"

    Let them be innovative, let them give the big airlines (and pilots) some good competition, let them give their passengers the best possible experience. Just don't give them an unfair advantage over the competition by not...

    What this whole conversation seems to be missing is that "Should the JSX business model be banned?" Is totally the wrong question. A better question is "Should JSX be held to the same regulatory requirements as other airlines?"

    Let them be innovative, let them give the big airlines (and pilots) some good competition, let them give their passengers the best possible experience. Just don't give them an unfair advantage over the competition by not holding them to the same government mandated expenses as all of their competitors. If the policies like 1500 hour and 65 retirement rules are pointless then change those for everyone, but don't just change it for one airline amd make all of its competitors still pay higher prices.

    Let it be innovative in the service it provides instead of in the regulations it dodges. These comments are full of people who like the service it provides. That business model doesn't have to go away just because the loophole they are using to save money gets closed.

    1. iamhere Guest

      Yes, agree - it's about the rules so the question is wrong.

  7. Les Abend Guest

    Actually they operate under Part 125. This article is very misleading. For those who won't lookup the facts and don't know 14 CFR Part 125 governs scheduled commuter. ALPA and APA have an agenda. They'll likely win since all their members make $250k and money rules in the US not the truth.

    1. FlyerDon Guest

      Yeah, I just bet you’re Les Abend.

  8. FlyOften Guest

    For JSX -- Rules make no sense. And yet, JSX abides by the rules.
    Against JSX -- BuT the RuLeS!!!

  9. Kit Baker Guest

    The contention that “the union” wants to retain the 1500 hour rule to maintain huge salaries is the same old anti-union claptrap that pretty much negates the value of this entire article.

  10. Jimmie Moore Guest

    I have flown business jets and I am considering going back to the field. Yes many of the FBO’s are TSA free. So what! In the real world people who want to spend the money should do so without being molested or pat down before they get on the aircraft. They should carry what they want aboard the aircraft within reason. If you travel to other countries it’s amazing to see some foreign countries are...

    I have flown business jets and I am considering going back to the field. Yes many of the FBO’s are TSA free. So what! In the real world people who want to spend the money should do so without being molested or pat down before they get on the aircraft. They should carry what they want aboard the aircraft within reason. If you travel to other countries it’s amazing to see some foreign countries are moving into the future while the U.S. moves backwards towards the abyss!
    As far as training new flight crews, take a page from every other country by financing the training the same way education is done!

    1. Goforride Gold

      Yeah, that worked so well with hijackings to Cuba, terrorists in the Middle East, and 9/11.

      Why in the world would you ever want to go back to those days?

  11. Herb Guest

    They can’t be any more dangerous than SWA

  12. Authorizeduser Guest

    We're cancelling business models now, because they're too good? Sometimes I wonder about you people claiming to be Americans

    1. FlyerDon Guest

      Actually Fred unions are the reason we have a middle class in this country and shrinking union membership is why the middle class is getting smaller.

  13. GlobalServicesUA Guest

    My complaint with JSX is you can't fly from one destination to any they serve. Only the nonstops. They won't let you connect. So you have to book two round trips. Frustrating.

    1. Goforride Gold

      They don't want to get into the baggage transfer business.

  14. Jim Brown Guest

    I work on their planes as a contractor.I would not fly on them,the aircraft are old and poorly maintained,I cringe everytime I have to work on one.

    1. Goforride Gold

      Most are former ExpressJet planes, aren't they?

    2. Goforride Gold

      Yes. If you look up "United Airlines Google Fleet", you can find the status of every UA and United Express aircraft still on the books. You can see that a number of former ExpressJet planes are now operated by JSX.

  15. DALtoHOU Guest

    I live in Dallas and have flown JSX 10-15x in the past year, mostly to Houston and Denver. It's a fantastic experience and incredibly efficient. My door-to-door trip time to/from Houston is literally cut in half when flying JSX (~4 hours vs ~2 hours). I get to their private terminal 20 minutes before the flight and that's usually early. Many people stroll in 5-10 minutes before with no problem. On the pilot qualifications issue -...

    I live in Dallas and have flown JSX 10-15x in the past year, mostly to Houston and Denver. It's a fantastic experience and incredibly efficient. My door-to-door trip time to/from Houston is literally cut in half when flying JSX (~4 hours vs ~2 hours). I get to their private terminal 20 minutes before the flight and that's usually early. Many people stroll in 5-10 minutes before with no problem. On the pilot qualifications issue - I don't have anything to dispute the facts that you mentioned, but in my experience, both pilots have usually been on the younger side (just a guess, but mine have typically appeared to be in their 30s/40s). In my 10-15 times flying JSX, I can't recall any pilot who looked to be over 65, though that's not to say they don't exist. I guess that takes us to safety. And their safety record will speak for itself I imagine (seems to be ok so far). By the way, the new JSX WIFI is lighting fast. You can do Zoom calls from the sky.

    1. Flyoften Guest

      Zoom calls from the sky?

      I was considering JSX but now, maybe not.

  16. Bert Guest

    Loopholes trigger tragedies. An unfortunate event in the making.

    1. Carl Member

      Do you mean loophole allowing overnight commuting and reporting for duty without a night's sleep by the two pilots with over 1500 hours experience who caused the crash and loss of lives in the Colgan Buffalo crash?

  17. LBG Guest

    I am a private pilot with a commercial, multiengine, flight instructor certificate and have flown JSX as a passenger. I am very satisfied with the safety, convenience and performance of these flights and believe they should serve as a model for service to non-major airfields.

  18. Travelingmann Guest

    Living in Dallas, I love this airline. It operates from Love Field, does not compete fare wise with WN or DL, and people love it.
    It's growing and it' convenient, quick and easy, and much like the old days of flying. If you look at their pricing they go for premium passengers, and provide a unique service. I've never felt unsafe. There is plenty of room for this type of carrier.

  19. Screeds Guest

    While JSX does hire under the 1,500 hour requirement for a Part 121, according to their hiring site entry level First Officers still require at least 1,000 hours with an exception of 800 being made for military pilots. The characterization by many that JSX is somehow operating unsafely is rather misleading. The core of the arguments by ALPA and APA is not that JSX or similar operators such as Contour, Boutique, Advanced Air, etc. are...

    While JSX does hire under the 1,500 hour requirement for a Part 121, according to their hiring site entry level First Officers still require at least 1,000 hours with an exception of 800 being made for military pilots. The characterization by many that JSX is somehow operating unsafely is rather misleading. The core of the arguments by ALPA and APA is not that JSX or similar operators such as Contour, Boutique, Advanced Air, etc. are unsafe, it's that they don't want competition from non-unionized carriers.

  20. ArthurSFO Diamond

    In an age where almost every single article everywhere is either "this is the worst thing ever" or "this is the best thing ever," I really appreciate Ben's nuanced and balanced take on JSX. It's refreshing.

    1. Justin Guest

      Huh? The question in the article title is literally “should JSX be banned?” This is a typical half-baked millennial liberal take where everything should either be required or banned with zero room for nuance.

    2. JoePro Guest

      "millennial liberal take where everything should either be required or banned with zero room for nuance."

      Ah, yes. Those damn millennial liberal states and their fights to completely ban abortions.

    3. Dander Guest

      This is a airline forum please keep political opinions to other groups

    4. Spencer Guest

      Perhaps you’ve misplaced your reading comprehension skills, but it seems fairly obvious that the title of this article is referring to APLA’s call for JSX’s Part 135 license to be revoked, i.e. banned. Thus, Ben’s article addresses APLA’s claims and evaluates whether they have grounds for their position. Take your bizarre, politicized nonsense elsewhere. You seem desperate to interject it even—or especially—when it has utterly no place.

    5. Gregsdc Member

      That's quite a pot shot, Justin. If you take a moment to finish the thought, Ben wasn't asking a philosophical question, he was writing about whether JSX should be banned...under the current regulatory environment. He then goes on to question the current regulatory environment and nowhere does he advocate a binary ban-or-require position. I see plenty of nuance in the article and Ben's thinking.

  21. Cr- Guest

    Another good thing possibly ruined. What a nice alternative it is.

  22. djibouti Guest

    To me one of the biggest benefits of the JSX model is that one essentially gets to choose whether they want to participate in "security theater". TSA doesn't make me feel safe. If anything, they make me feel threatened. I prefer to fly in a manner that minimizes my concern for my safety.

  23. JP Guest

    This is America, I feel that we should allow remote piloting and you need to do an online course before flying it.
    We let drone pilots fly remotely and kill people, why can't we fly these things remotely.
    If it crashes, the customers knew what they were paying for.

    1. ArthurSFO Diamond

      This Libertarian wet dream doesn't hold up when something goes wrong, like the Titan submersible, and then all of a sudden the taxpayer and society at large has to bear the costs of the business that refused to bear them, like how the Coast Guard spent millions on search and rescue.

      Companies that want private profits but public costs are anti-capitalist and huge cry babies. Just look at all the venture capitalists who cried incessantly...

      This Libertarian wet dream doesn't hold up when something goes wrong, like the Titan submersible, and then all of a sudden the taxpayer and society at large has to bear the costs of the business that refused to bear them, like how the Coast Guard spent millions on search and rescue.

      Companies that want private profits but public costs are anti-capitalist and huge cry babies. Just look at all the venture capitalists who cried incessantly for the government to bail our Silicon Valley Bank despite the VCs being super anti-government

    2. Justin Guest

      Nobody guaranteed those “submariners” that the coast guard or navy would attempt to rescue them. In fact, I strongly believe that anyone in an experimental craft should either pay for “rescue insurance” (if the relevant agencies even wish to offer it) or assume the risk of no attempt being made.

      Libertarians are not crony capitalists — what you described (privatize gains, socialize losses). Libertarians are real capitalists.

    3. Dander Guest

      I’m a libertarian and I say keep politics out of this durum

    4. Carl Member

      Do you mean something going wrong like the crash and loss of lives in Buffalo of the Colgan aircraft operated by two pilots with over 1500 hours of experience who commuted overnight before reporting for duty without a night's sleep? And then the pilots unions leveraging the outrage to create the 1500 hour rule which doesn't address overnight commuting prior to reporting for duty?

    5. Carl Member

      Do you mean something going wrong like the crash and loss of lives in Buffalo of the Colgan aircraft operated by two pilots with over 1500 hours of experience who commuted overnight before reporting for duty without a night's sleep? And then the pilots unions leveraging the outrage to create the 1500 hour rule which doesn't address overnight commuting prior to reporting for duty?

  24. Paul Tomasch Guest

    I see the point but as it was also said the regular airline industry lacks innovation and quality. Good to see somebody actually caring for passengers comfort

  25. RF Diamond

    It should not be banned but encouraged. Having more airlines benefits consumers.

  26. derek Guest

    Ben and Gary need to have a boxing match or at least arm wrestling.

    1. Khatl Diamond

      If Zuck and Musk are looking to a cage fight...?

  27. Zain Guest

    I agree with Ben on the spirit vs. written text of the rules. This is an obvious loophole that JSX is exploiting-just as Turo exploits loopholes around car rentals by making it car-sharing, and Uber/Lyft have exploited loopholes around taxi services. Breaking the spirit of the rules is still wrong.
    I'd say that at this point it's become what some would call a necessary evil. JSX is getting pilots trained in an industry where...

    I agree with Ben on the spirit vs. written text of the rules. This is an obvious loophole that JSX is exploiting-just as Turo exploits loopholes around car rentals by making it car-sharing, and Uber/Lyft have exploited loopholes around taxi services. Breaking the spirit of the rules is still wrong.
    I'd say that at this point it's become what some would call a necessary evil. JSX is getting pilots trained in an industry where labor demand outstrips supply. I don't like the current situations, but rules do exist for a reason. If the rule is bad, fix the rule, let new pilots train under more experienced.

    1. Carl Member

      When you have rules that only protect a vested interest and don't have underlying rationale nor public policy, then I am all for creative circumvention, it can help create change. The absolute retirement age is unsupported as is the 1500 hour rule.

  28. Tim Dunn Diamond

    You take a very balanced approach here, Ben.

    And the bigger reason why ALPA is fighting this is because Skywest is trying to expand the 135 model to provide reconfigured CRJ service to small cities.

    ALPA is trying to put a stake in the ground and take out JSX in order to ensure that Skywest's proposal also dies.
    One size fits all rarely works and there is room for 121 and 135 in the US air transportation system.

  29. George Romey Guest

    Presumably the size of an aircraft translates into the complexity of flying it. It's why an A320 pilot couldn't simply jump behind the controls of an A380 and be ready to go. So the 1,500 rule probably doesn't make sense for a 30 passenger plane. Also, if people are skeptical of the pilot training then don't fly the airline. One reason (among many others) that I will never get onboard a Spirit or Frontier flight...

    Presumably the size of an aircraft translates into the complexity of flying it. It's why an A320 pilot couldn't simply jump behind the controls of an A380 and be ready to go. So the 1,500 rule probably doesn't make sense for a 30 passenger plane. Also, if people are skeptical of the pilot training then don't fly the airline. One reason (among many others) that I will never get onboard a Spirit or Frontier flight is that I question the amount of money they invest in safety. Moreover, given the obesity rate of Americans today I think deplaning over 200 passengers on an A321 in 90 seconds would never happen. I wouldn't want to be on that plane if an emergency occurred.

    1. Tim Dunn Diamond

      that might have been true at one time but that isn't necessarily true now, esp. with fly by wire aircraft such as the 777 and 787 and all Airbus passenger aircraft. With FBW, the whole point is for the pilot to make reasonable control inputs and the flight computers are supposed to determine the size of the output to the plane's control surfaces plus stop something that could lead to instability to the aircraft.

      ...

      that might have been true at one time but that isn't necessarily true now, esp. with fly by wire aircraft such as the 777 and 787 and all Airbus passenger aircraft. With FBW, the whole point is for the pilot to make reasonable control inputs and the flight computers are supposed to determine the size of the output to the plane's control surfaces plus stop something that could lead to instability to the aircraft.

      And the entire Airbus lineup does allow for a fairly short transition between models that is far faster than on non-FBW Boeing aircraft.

  30. betterbub Diamond

    What's the point of making an airline modeled around the private jet experience if it's ultimately not a private jet?

    1. Dominic Kivni Guest

      It doesn’t cost as much as a private jet either…

    2. Stephen Guest

      You get some of the perks of the private jet experience (private terminal, no TSA or showing up hours ahead of time, VIP-ish experience) but don't have to pay the same price you otherwise wpild have to pay for those perks. It's not hard to see the appeal. Should that get them a free pass on the government mandated costs all their competitors have to pay? That's a different question, but the appeal of a charter-esque airline seems pretty solid.

  31. Mark Guest

    I fly JSX all the time. They give the private plane experience at low cost. If the flight is delayed, or there is some thing that was not perfect within a half hour of the flight landing, I have a credit in my email. Everything about the experience is wonderful. The only negative is they fly out of private terminals. However with Uber available. It has not been a problem for me or my family.

    1. pstm91 Diamond

      Very curious as to how flying out of a private terminal is a negative. Flying out of an FBO is a huge part of the premium experience of flying privately (or JSX) vs. flying out of the main terminal. Even if it's a bare bones FBO/lounge, the fact that you can show up 20 minutes prior to the flight and breeze through security is amazing. So I would love to know what aspect you find as a negative.

    2. BenjaminKohl Diamond

      Generally, i think the flying out of private terminals would be the biggest positive. I have never flown JDX, but they fly out of the same terminal I fly GA at at my local airport. The passengers look really relaxed and comfortable, and come only a few minutes before their departure time.

    3. djibouti Guest

      I disagree with that being the negative. The private terminal and minimal security theater is the #1 reason I fly with them.

      The only negative is seat assignment fees. Yuck.

    4. snic Diamond

      My one experience flying Cape Air (a 9 seat plane) was very positive, in part because of the absence of security theater in the private terminal. Definitely no downside to private air terminals, unless you desperately need Chik-Fil-A and other overpriced disgusting food.

  32. Gabriel C Guest

    I'm curious about how do (regular) insurance policies would apply when all those apply only to "scheduled regular airline flights" (knocking on wood)

    1. rmreddicks Guest

      Best question on this forum.

  33. Sean M. Diamond

    The way the doomsayers are screeching you would think that Part 135 is the wild west where drunk cowboys are hopping off their horses directly into cockpits of ERJs as they race down the runway.

    Part 135 has different standards than Part 121, but those are still pretty darn robust standards when applied properly. The biggest issue with most incidents/accidents by Part 135 operators is non compliance rather than actual deficiency of standards. If the...

    The way the doomsayers are screeching you would think that Part 135 is the wild west where drunk cowboys are hopping off their horses directly into cockpits of ERJs as they race down the runway.

    Part 135 has different standards than Part 121, but those are still pretty darn robust standards when applied properly. The biggest issue with most incidents/accidents by Part 135 operators is non compliance rather than actual deficiency of standards. If the argument is that Part 135 is unsafe in any way, shape or form, no Part 135 operations should be conducted at all. But that isn't the issue is it?

    1. snic Diamond

      Well, there's a reason why the regulation limits regular scheduled service to 9 passengers per plane. What is that reason? Could it be that only 9 lives (plus crew) are at stake vs hundreds for other regularly scheduled services?

      And if you are going to allow one carrier to fly >9 passengers regularly under this regulation, why can't United fly a 777 under this regulation? (Maybe your point is that it should be allowed to?)

    2. Adam Guest

      I’ve flown JSX about 10 times now. Always Broomfield - Phoenix. It’s not quite corporate jet travel but it’s close. I agree that they are flying via a loophole but in my view, it is the loophole that should be modified, not the airline operating model. The jets are about 22 years old (I believe United flies some jets this age and their average fleet is 15 to 17 years old. I believe many of...

      I’ve flown JSX about 10 times now. Always Broomfield - Phoenix. It’s not quite corporate jet travel but it’s close. I agree that they are flying via a loophole but in my view, it is the loophole that should be modified, not the airline operating model. The jets are about 22 years old (I believe United flies some jets this age and their average fleet is 15 to 17 years old. I believe many of these jets were owned by United. While I love this airline, I think Ben was objective in his pros and cons evaluation. Well done!

  34. David Guest

    The problem is, as Ben points out, virtually none of the pax realize they’re flying on a Part 135 “charter” subject to different standards than the Part 121 scheduled carriers they’re familiar with. The carrier should be required to clearly and succinctly disclose before accepting a booking that their pilots may be over 65 and may have less than 1500 hours experience. As long as the pax is fully aware of that and agrees to...

    The problem is, as Ben points out, virtually none of the pax realize they’re flying on a Part 135 “charter” subject to different standards than the Part 121 scheduled carriers they’re familiar with. The carrier should be required to clearly and succinctly disclose before accepting a booking that their pilots may be over 65 and may have less than 1500 hours experience. As long as the pax is fully aware of that and agrees to that, fine, they should be able to complete their booking.

    1. Elijah Guest

      You say that as if the average flyer has any idea that those restrictions are in place for most airlines they fly. Joe Schmoe has no clue how much training a pilot receives and certainly is not qualified to decide in the moment whether or not that’s enough.

  35. Eric Marmont Guest

    Contour also operates under Part 135, using E-135/145 aircraft. The difference Contour is chasing after EAS money, and providing service to communities that wouldn't have air service, such as Crescent City, California; Page, Arizona to name two. I swear the 1,500 hours figure was just pulled from thin air..in the meantime pilots are drowning in debt by the time they can get a paying job at a Part 121 carrier such as Skywest, United etc.

  36. Gary Leff Guest

    There's no question that JSX has tailored its operations to conform to the law as it is currently written. That is precisely what they should do. They have backing from JetBlue, United and Qatar. They even pass muster for JetBlue to codeshare with them.

    As you acknowledge they are safe and innovative, so there is no justification for blackballing them - other than consistency to impose bad rules.

    You write "I’m all for cutting...

    There's no question that JSX has tailored its operations to conform to the law as it is currently written. That is precisely what they should do. They have backing from JetBlue, United and Qatar. They even pass muster for JetBlue to codeshare with them.

    As you acknowledge they are safe and innovative, so there is no justification for blackballing them - other than consistency to impose bad rules.

    You write "I’m all for cutting the 1,500-hour rule and potentially raising the pilot retirement age. I also think JSX is perfectly safe to fly."

    The best way to get there is this demonstration case showing the benefits of the change. The 1,500 hour rule (which Europe doesn't have, yet has just as strong a record on safety) doesn't enhance safety and neither does the 65 year retirement age when pilots still have to pass health checks.

    Hiring recently-retired senior captains (who get to spend their nights at home since over 90% of JSX flights return to base each evening), their cockpits often have more average hours than mainline legacy carriers do. TSA has not expressed the concerns over their safety regime which ALPA offers to DOT, which doesn't even have jurisdiction of airport security.

    This is 100% meant to protect a rule that limits entry into the profession. It makes air travel less accessible especially to smaller markets and for smaller O/D routes. That's bad for the country and even bad for safety when it pushes people to drive to further away airports.

    ALPA is pursuing self-interest not only at the expense of a legal business, and at the expense of customers benefit from their product, they are doing it *at the expense* of safety.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Gary Leff -- We're in agreement about the 1,500-hour rule, and about how aviation is safe in Europe. I agree with changing the rules, but I don't agree with creating loopholes that compromise safety in terms of regulatory oversight.

      The thing is, JSX's high safety standards aren't because the company has to have those high safety standards, but because the company chooses to have those standards.

      What if JSX were an operator where maintenance...

      @ Gary Leff -- We're in agreement about the 1,500-hour rule, and about how aviation is safe in Europe. I agree with changing the rules, but I don't agree with creating loopholes that compromise safety in terms of regulatory oversight.

      The thing is, JSX's high safety standards aren't because the company has to have those high safety standards, but because the company chooses to have those standards.

      What if JSX were an operator where maintenance and safety weren't taken seriously, and where both the captain and first officer regularly had just over 250 hours. But as long as tickets are sold through one company and the flight is operated by another company, that would be within the rules as a Part 135 operator. Would you be fine with that?

      Part of the logic of requiring Part 121 operations is that there's a certain safety oversight. That doesn't apply here, and I'm not sure passengers realize what they're getting themselves into in that regard.

    2. Gary Leff Guest

      Passengers do not know the details of safety oversight at major airlines.

      Should Southwest have to post on its website
      https://www.faa.gov/newsroom/faa-proposes-392-million-civil-penalty-against-southwest-airlines
      " Southwest operated 44 aircraft on a total of 21,505 flights with incorrect operational empty weights, and center of gravity or moment data. "

      https://www.nbcnews.com/id/wbna29469571
      "The airline was fined for flying 46 airplanes on 59,791 flights without performing mandatory inspections for fuselage cracks. The planes, Boeing 737s, carried an estimated...

      Passengers do not know the details of safety oversight at major airlines.

      Should Southwest have to post on its website
      https://www.faa.gov/newsroom/faa-proposes-392-million-civil-penalty-against-southwest-airlines
      " Southwest operated 44 aircraft on a total of 21,505 flights with incorrect operational empty weights, and center of gravity or moment data. "

      https://www.nbcnews.com/id/wbna29469571
      "The airline was fined for flying 46 airplanes on 59,791 flights without performing mandatory inspections for fuselage cracks. The planes, Boeing 737s, carried an estimated 145,000 passengers."

      Or just two weeks ago you reported "United A320 Had Accident, Flew Seven More Times Before Being Grounded" https://onemileatatime.com/news/united-a320-accident/

      If you have a theoretical concern that a future airline might lack JSX's commitment to a rigorous safety program, then the reform you want to see isn't forcing JSX into part 121 operations. It's probably to part 91, and probably more support for FAA inspectors?

    3. Jason Guest

      There's no "loophole". JSX is in full compliance with the laws as written.

    4. Ben Guest

      Ben, as a pilot (ATP, CFI/CFI-I), I believe you are misunderstanding the 1500 hr rule with regards to 135 opps. In 135 ***jet*** opps, the captain is required to have an ATP (1500hrs). Technically, the FO can be hired with *just* a CPL and multi engine rating and only 250hrs. However, in reality that’s nearly impossible. Furthermore, the published FO mins at JSX are:

      “800 hours (This is most likely do to their insurance policies...

      Ben, as a pilot (ATP, CFI/CFI-I), I believe you are misunderstanding the 1500 hr rule with regards to 135 opps. In 135 ***jet*** opps, the captain is required to have an ATP (1500hrs). Technically, the FO can be hired with *just* a CPL and multi engine rating and only 250hrs. However, in reality that’s nearly impossible. Furthermore, the published FO mins at JSX are:

      “800 hours (This is most likely do to their insurance policies requiring higher FO mins)
      50 hours multi-engine required
      75 hours instrument actual/simulated
      FAA First Class Medical Certificate”

      I say this all alleviate concerns around “inexperienced” pilots.

      Remember both the ATP captain and CPL FO, also have an E135/145 type rating too. Which is an additional 4-6 weeks of hard core training on that specific aircraft.

    5. Khatl Diamond

      Every normal business tailors that business to ensure it operates under the law. As for terming the existing regulation as a loophole, only time will tell whether Congress intended it to be written that way or whether they change the regulation. The same with any other regulation. As currently written, JSX is not bending or breaking the law, but is operating in compliance with it.

    6. Eds183 Guest

      The reality is that JSX is operating in a loophole space of regulations. They should fully expect that loophole to be closed. The whole model of having another company sell the scheduled tickets is bullocks. They operate scheduled service and odds are a federal judge somewhere down the line will rule that way.

      If the 1500 hour rule and 65 age limit is such a big deal, the airlines should lobby congress and convince...

      The reality is that JSX is operating in a loophole space of regulations. They should fully expect that loophole to be closed. The whole model of having another company sell the scheduled tickets is bullocks. They operate scheduled service and odds are a federal judge somewhere down the line will rule that way.

      If the 1500 hour rule and 65 age limit is such a big deal, the airlines should lobby congress and convince the public that it should be changed through legislation.

      MD's, Attorneys, Pilots, and other skilled professionals do whatever they can to protect their earnings from competition. State medical licensing boards generally act as a de facto cabal in limiting residency slots and make it nigh impossible for foreign trained doctors to practice. Pilots use training/age regulations to help keep their wages high.

      Perhaps if the airlines were really concerned about pilot shortages they would have funded pilot training programs and worked on a program to pay the tuition of pilots at the various training schools instead of using 80% of their free cash flow on stock buybacks from 2015-2020. Southwest spent $5.6 billion, AA ~$5B on buybacks 2017-2020. Each $250M/year can probably train 5-7000 pilots over a 4 year period. A whole lot more Boomers are retiring than are being replaced in the workforce, low unemployment is here to stay for a long while. Employers have to adjust.

      Even at higher fares, planes are full and aircraft are scarce. Sorry, "underserved" markets is just another word for middle of nowhere towns who don't have $$ or population to make air travel profitable. People choose to live there and if they want actual services, they should figure out how to make it profitable for airlines to serve them instead of relying on federal largesse and regulatory loopholes.

    7. LarryInNYC Diamond

      The question of whether JSX is "conforming" to the law as currently written has not, to the best of my knowledge, been tested. It strikes me that there's a reasonable to high chance it would not pass muster in a court of law.

      Whether what they're doing is legal or not is independent of whether the organization challenging them has self-interested reasons in doing so.

    8. Gary Leff Guest

      Why do you think this?

      DOT and FAA believe they conform to the law.

      The certainly meet the plain letter reading of the law, and wouldn't a court extend Chevron deference to federal agency judgment in any case?

      EVEN ALPA SAYS THEY CONFORM TO THE LAW AS IT STANDS TODAY, they just think that regulations should be changed.

    9. Eskimo Guest

      Y'all

      "law as it is currently written"

      We can't even have an agreement of the 2nd Amendment interpretation "as it is currently written".

      LOL

    10. digital_notmad Diamond

      And yet in this case, all parties from all sides involved agree that it complies with the law as it is currently written. The ALPA filing is about whether the law SHOULD BE CHANGED FROM HOW IT IS CURRENTLY WRITTEN TO ABUSE JSX TRAVELERS WHO COULDN'T OTHERWISE AFFORD PRIVATE.

    11. Eskimo Guest

      By the way shouldn't the real Gary say something?

    12. digital_notmad Diamond

      If that comment is intended to imply that I'm a Gary sock, then I'm mostly flattered but rest assured I would take a much more aggressive posture against bigotry on his site than he has (notably, recently he used sharing Epoch Times on social media as an example of relatable behavior, making conspiracy theorists feel seen and represented in some way, and is perhaps a microcosm of the atmosphere that results in the VFTW comments...

      If that comment is intended to imply that I'm a Gary sock, then I'm mostly flattered but rest assured I would take a much more aggressive posture against bigotry on his site than he has (notably, recently he used sharing Epoch Times on social media as an example of relatable behavior, making conspiracy theorists feel seen and represented in some way, and is perhaps a microcosm of the atmosphere that results in the VFTW comments section looking like it does). So I'd much rather be associated with Lucky's policy views than Gary's, but in this particular instance, Gary is dead on the money.

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ArthurSFO Diamond

In an age where almost every single article everywhere is either "this is the worst thing ever" or "this is the best thing ever," I really appreciate Ben's nuanced and balanced take on JSX. It's refreshing.

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ArthurSFO Diamond

This Libertarian wet dream doesn't hold up when something goes wrong, like the Titan submersible, and then all of a sudden the taxpayer and society at large has to bear the costs of the business that refused to bear them, like how the Coast Guard spent millions on search and rescue. Companies that want private profits but public costs are anti-capitalist and huge cry babies. Just look at all the venture capitalists who cried incessantly for the government to bail our Silicon Valley Bank despite the VCs being super anti-government

5
Screeds Guest

While JSX does hire under the 1,500 hour requirement for a Part 121, according to their hiring site entry level First Officers still require at least 1,000 hours with an exception of 800 being made for military pilots. The characterization by many that JSX is somehow operating unsafely is rather misleading. The core of the arguments by ALPA and APA is not that JSX or similar operators such as Contour, Boutique, Advanced Air, etc. are unsafe, it's that they don't want competition from non-unionized carriers.

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