A new charter airline is offering flights with one of the world's most popular and affordable private jets

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Thomas Pallini
·6 min read
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VeriJet Cirrus Vision Jet
A VeriJet Cirrus Vision Jet. Thomas Pallini/Insider
  • VeriJet is a new charter airline that exclusively flies the Cirrus Vision Jet.

  • Vision Jets are among the most affordable private jets flying with VeriJet charging $3,000 per hour.

  • VeriJet is primed to capture the wave of flyers that want to fly private without breaking the bank.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Private aviation has boomed during the pandemic and new entrants are continually looking to disrupt the industry, each with their own competitive edge.

VeriJet is among the latest companies to take on the industry with a new type of charter aircraft that's affordable enough to draw in the newly-minted private flyers that have been fueling the industry since March 2020.

The Cirrus Vision Jet is VeriJet's flagship aircraft and the latest in the "personal private jets" category of aircraft that offers the perks of a jet aircraft without the high price tag. There's only one engine powering the aircraft and only one pilot is needed to fly it, reducing expenses for the operator and the hourly rate billed to consumers.

VeriJet charges $3,000 per hour of flight time plus tax, with a minimum flight time of one hour, if they book directly with the company. That differs from the two-hour minimum imposed by many charter companies and furthers VeriJet's goal of operating as an air taxi company with on-demand flights available on short notice.

Read More: Private jet industry CEOs say business will boom as the wealthy abandon airlines and reveal what they're doing now to take advantage

Richard Kane, a 7,000-hour pilot with a surprising tech background, founded the company and applied his tech know-how with a passion for aviation. His other job is the chief technology officer of Coastal Technologies Group, a company he founded that also supplies countless private aviation operators with cost-saving artificial intelligence programs.

Powered by the world's most affordable private jet

VeriJet Cirrus Vision Jet
VeriJet plans to have 20 Vision Jets by year's end. Thomas Pallini/Insider

VeriJet is the first company to make the Vision Jet the backbone of its fleet and it's the only aircraft that Kane says would make his business model work.

"I've been waiting a long time for this aircraft," Kane told Insider while piloting a Vision Jet over the Long Island Sound.

Cirrus debuted the aircraft in 2008 but Kane waited for the second-generation model that offered key enhancements. One crucial feature is Garmin Safe Return, where the plane will land itself at the press of a button in an emergency, as Insider saw firsthand in 2019. A parachute also comes standard in case of an engine failure.

The entry-level jet can fly up to 1,275 nautical miles, according to Cirrus, and is ideal for those new to private aviation but not wanting to spend tens of thousands on a charter. Nassau Flyers, another Vision Jet operator, told Insider in June 2020 that it costs under $1,000 per hour to fly and maintain, making it one of the most affordable jet aircraft in the market.

VeriJet currently has nine Vision Jets with plans to have as many as 20 by the end of the year. And only having one engine hasn't deterred many passengers from taking flight. "If [passengers] ever bothered to count the engines, they didn't mention it," Kane said.

Passengers wanting two pilots in the cockpit can have an extra one for $850 per day but there are few additional expenses beyond that. VeriJet doesn't charge for overnighting expenses or repositioning costs if they're within 800 miles of Orlando, Florida.

Not just another AI-powered startup

VeriJet Cirrus Vision Jet
VeriJet's aircraft can seat four adults and two children. Thomas Pallini/Insider

Kane describes VeriJet more to be a tech company than an airline, a view similar to David Neeleman's new airline startup that calls itself a "tech company that happens to fly airplanes."

Artificial intelligence optimizes VeriJet's schedule through measures like reducing the number of the money-losing empty legs it flies. The AI trend is sweeping across private aviation as operators adjust to new pandemic travel and rely on the technology to stay competitive.

Sustainability is also a key focus for VeriJet with the number of short flights it operates. The Vision Jet is already more fuel-efficient than many of its contemporaries thanks to the one engine that only burns around 50 gallons per hour while at cruise altitude.

But Kane envisions his aircraft powered by sustainable aviation fuel and has already secured commitments from Williams International, the Vision Jet's engine manufacturer, to continue servicing its fleet at no extra cost when it makes the switch to biofuel.

A true charter airline

VeriJet Cirrus Vision Jet
VeriJet pilots endure vigorous training standards to ensure safety. Thomas Pallini/Insider

The pandemic has opened the door to an operator like VeriJet that gives private flyers an affordable, entry-level option, and this one is run like an airline.

Pilots are held to airline standards and regulations by VeriJet even though it's not required to by the Federal Aviation Administration. All hires must have an airline transport pilot license, undergo simulator training from Cirrus, and then pass VeriJet's own tests, which not even some former airline pilots could pass on the first try.

"I intend to be the safest airline on the planet," Kane said.

Making a booking is as simple as going to the company's website and getting a quote just as if going to an airline's website. A mobile application is currently in development that resembles its airline competitors.

Unlike the airlines, however, VeriJet's aircraft can service approximately 5,400 airports in the US, around 5,000 more than airlines serves. The Vision Jet can also land at hard-to-access airports with shorter runways, as short as 3,000 feet like in East Hampton, New York or Santa Monica California.

Short-haul operations are primarily the name of the game with VeriJet's average flight around 83 minutes and the company can launch a flight as early as one hour after booking. Europe is another target for VeriJet as Kane believes the Vision Jet is the answer to the continent's cost-prohibitive and sustainability-minded approach to aviation.

Kane also isn't worried about the new trend from airlines of starting hub-skipping point-to-point flights.

"They will never be able to respond as quickly as I can," Kane said.

Read the original article on Business Insider