Major airlines fighting extinction, going after smaller charter upstarts

After accepting tens of billions of dollars in pandemic relief, some major airlines are now going after smaller, upstart competitors who invaded their still recovering market shares. Let JSX be an example.

JSX airlines is what's called a Public Charter Air Operator, a kind of hop-on jet service that allows it to fly planes, up to 30-seats, in and out of their own private terminals at many U.S. Airports, big and small. Such operators, meet decades old federal operations, safety and security regulations that apply to them. "The FAA even clarified themselves that they could not find any statistical evidence to support the ideas that there was any threat or risk involved," said Ben Kaufman, a JSX senior executive. 

JSX has flight attendants, power to every row of seats, free WiFi as well as snacks. Your checked bags are handed to you as you come of the aircraft; no waiting at carousels. Like 50 plus other such airlines, it is growing in popularity.

JSX passenger Allen Scott uses JSX between the Bay Area, Los Angeles and Las Vegas where he does a lot of business. "The benefit is really time. You know, you can get here 20 minutes before the plane takes off and it's easy to get off the plane," said Scott. Alex Holmes used to fly Southwest "They're a very good airline. I've been very happy with them. It's great. I've been able to show up 10 minutes `before the flight and go right on," said Holmes.

Since JSX and similar companies are charter operations, the rules, from security to crew flight hours, are different than those imposed on major carrier such as American, Delta Southwest and others. Now, major carriers, citing safety concerns, are urging the Federal Aviation Administration to consider changes for these small carriers which could wipe them out as competitors. 

More than 70,000 passengers and supporters have already written to the FAA, to leave these airlines be. "Instead of trying to go after JSX, maybe they ought to consider going into the same business," said passenger Holmes. "There's nothing stopping these carriers from staring an operation similar to ours," said JSX’s Kaufman.

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These charter carriers often fly into smaller airports long abandoned by big commercial airlines. JSX cites Concord's Buchanan Field, where it now flies. "It was the first flight to touch down in that airport in 24 years," said Kaufman.

And so you know, JSX says it is backed by United, JetBlue and Quatar Airways, passing all of their rigid safety audits.