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XPONENTIAL Innovation Preview -- www.allthingsunmanned.com

Wed, Jul 21, 2004

Linear Air Launches New Air-Taxi Charter Service

Aiming At Small Teams Of Corporate Executives

Air-taxi operator Linear Air this week launched its new luxury charter service from Hanscom Field, 15 miles west of Boston in Bedford (MA), flying to almost 200 cities along the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic coasts. The company says its service is ideal for business travelers, particularly those who travel in small teams.

Unlike most air charter companies that charge thousands of dollars per occupied flight hour in a typical aircraft, Linear Air will charge only $750 per hour for its aircraft. Passengers will fly in a brand new Cessna Caravan, an eight-seat executive airplane, which will be staffed by two pilots.

"We've broken the charter price barrier with our concept of affordable private air travel," said William E. Herp, president and CEO of Linear Air. "The big roadblock for most people in choosing charter service is the expense. But we've created an entirely new paradigm that combines affordability with personalized service in a private setting. That makes for a better overall travel experience."

For a limited time, new charter customers can receive an additional discount of up to 30 percent off by taking advantage of Linear Air's unique Fly Buy - program. Fly Buy offers discounts for volume purchases ranging from 10 percent on $500 to up to 30 percent on $5,000. Charter passengers can choose to fly to dozens of cities in 14 states from Maine to Virginia. Some of the destinations that can be served by Linear Air include from Hanscom Airport include Augusta and Portland, Maine, New York City and Syracuse, N.Y., Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, and Arlington and Fredericksburg (VA).

Linear Air says it is able to charge lower rates due in part to the company's extensive use of technology, including a proprietary web-based scheduling system. "Customers are able to get better rates because we don't have to hire an army of people to be on the phone for reservations," said Herp. "And these days more customers prefer to do business online."

Herp noted that the charter service is particularly welcome at a time when long check-in lines and indirect travel have made for a frustrating experience for business and vacation travelers. "Over the years, the airlines have become tied to an inconvenient hub-and-spoke system that requires regional travel to go through major hubs," he said. "Our name is taken from the concept of traveling in a straight line to your destination."

Herp noted that the Cessna Caravan can be configured for 12 passengers, but that the company opted to make it eight passengers for increased comfort and spaciousness. "The plane also has state-of-the art avionics systems and the capacity to carry lots of baggage," he said.

The launch of the air charter service comes about two weeks before Linear Air will introduce private weekend service to Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard on Aug. 6. "We look forward to offering some routes that are more vacation-oriented with our same concept of affordable private air travel," said Herp.

FMI: www.linearair.com

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