Maxing Out: MaxJet Changes Schedule

MaxJet cuts D.C.-London Route; adds Vegas flight

By: Jim Calio

Earlier this month, MAXjet, the all-business-class airline, announced that it is suspending its four-times-weekly service between Washington D.C. and London. However, the airline said it expects to resume flights on May 24, in time for the summer. At the same time, the company announced that it was adding a third flight to its Las Vegas to London route beginning March 10.

The announcement came in the face of increasing competition among so-called “niche” luxury airlines for the lucrative trans-Atlantic trade. MAXjet currently flies six times a week out of New York, and last November it inaugurated twice-weekly service from Las Vegas to London’s Stansted airport.

Although unexpected, the move, according to one industry observer, “makes good business sense. The demand just wasn’t there for the Washington route,” she said, “although it will probably pick up for the summer. But their New York flights are going out full, and Las Vegas sells itself to the strong leisure market in the U.K.”

Passengers whose flights have been canceled have a choice of being switched to a Virgin Air departure out of Washington D.C., rebooked on a MAXjet flight out of New York or given a full refund.

MAXjet flies into Stansted airport, about 40 miles northeast of London and known mainly as a hub for low-cost European carriers such as Ryanair and EasyJet.

The airline’s Las Vegas service was kicked off in early November, and according to company officials it has more than met expectations, bringing with it a huge influx of British tourists. It is also the first time that a business-class-only airline has tried to crack the market in the western U.S. since MGM Grand tried and failed years ago.

“Most of our traffic is going to originate in England,” said one company official, “and Stansted is growing, so we’re going where the demand is.”

MAXjet, a three-year-old company based in Virginia, began service on the New York and Washington routes in 2004, using three Boeing 767-200s. The planes have been reconfigured to 102 seats each, all business class.

At the time the Las Vegas routes were announced, the company’s founding CEO, Gary Rogliano abruptly left MAXjet “to pursue other opportunities.” No other reason was given, and he has been replaced by the company’s chairman, William Stockbridge. A company official would not comment on whether Rogliano’s departure had anything to do with the Washington announcement.

In addition to MAXjet, several so-called business-class-only airlines are vying for the highly profitable trans-Atlantic business. Eos Airlines also flies from New York to London, and another carrier, SilverJet, will soon begin its own business-only service.

The cost of a MAXjet flight from Las Vegas to London begins at $1,900, taxes and fees included.



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