Maxjet ceased operations and filed for
bankruptcy on Dec. 24 after two years of service, citing escalating
fuel prices, increased competition and economic uncertainty as
factors in its failure.
transatlantic, premium class-only carriers said Maxjet's demise
should not raise doubts about the viability of their business
Eos, Silverjet and
L'Avion insisted that they were doing much better than Maxjet,
which they said tried to expand too quickly without firmly
establishing itself in its core markets. They said Maxjet did not
develop a strong enough product or niche to fend off its
Maxjet had expanded
from its London Stansted-New York market to Washington Dulles, Las
Vegas and Los Angeles, although it had recently ended the
Washington service. It also faced new Kennedy-Stansted competition
from American Airlines, which began two-class service on the route
on Oct. 28.
From the start,
Eos, which began its Kennedy-Stansted service at the same time, has
aimed for a higher-level, higher-paying market than
For example, Maxjet
flew 767 aircraft configured for 102 seats that did not recline to
flat, which is becoming the business class standard. Eos provides
21 square feet of space per passenger on 757s configured for just
48 seats that recline to a fully horizontal lie-flat bed; its fares
are substantially higher than Maxjet's but still lower than a
traditional carrier's business class.
Eos focused its
early growth on adding Kennedy-Stansted frequencies. It also said
its GDS participation, a dedicated sales team and strategic
corporate partnerships had helped make it a "significant player" in
the corporate travel market. The airline says it now carries one
out of every nine business-class passengers between New York and
secured an additional $50 million and expects to add as many as
three new routes this year as the airline expands its fleet to
eight aircraft. But Eos is not revealing much about its financial
results other than to say it is "flight-level
its Newark-London Luton service in late January 2007, taking a
middle ground between the Maxjet and Eos products. Silverjet, which
flies 767 aircraft configured for 100 seats and operates a private
terminal at Luton, has seats that recline to angled, lie-flat beds.
The airline says it serves "gourmet food" onboard.
"We've been able to
create a better service at a better price point [than Maxjet],"
said Greg Maliczyszyn, Silverjet's director of communications for
Silverjet had been "much smarter with growing organically and
saving costs. We're not trying to overextend ourselves."
London-Dubai service in November, and said its strategy was to
build frequency on a smaller number of routes with high utilization
of its aircraft.
Silverjet said its
revenue per flown passenger was $1,821 per roundtrip flight for its
first six months of operation, compared with $1,641 for Maxjet in
its first six months, and that its average fare paid was 50%
higher. Silverjet also noted that it just raised an additional $45
million from existing and new investors.
profitable within two to three months," said Silverjet CEO Lawrence
Hunt. "We're in a completely different place than [Maxjet]
premium-class carrier most like Maxjet is Paris-based L'Avion,
which began flying from Orly Airport to Newark in January. It uses
757s configured with 90 seats that recline to 140
L'Avion is adding a
second aircraft to increase the frequency on its Paris-Newark route
on Jan. 20. To start, L'Avion will add a second daily flight on
Fridays and Sundays.
L'Avion reported a
79% load factor in December, and spokesman Ira Weinstein insisted
the airline was "doing fine."
always a concern, he said, and he said he expected British Airways
to enter the market with its new business-focused product from
European countries to the U.S. But he said L'Avion would continue
to hold an advantage, in part because it flies from Orly Airport,
which is less crowded and closer to downtown Paris than Charles de
To contact reporter Andrew Compart, send e-mail to [email protected].