Very Light Jet air taxi start-up DayJet notified the Federal Aviation Administration Friday that it planned to halt its air taxi operations for economic reasons, the agency confirmed late today. DayJet called the Washington Flight Standards District Office at noon to inform officials there of the company´s decision to stop flying 27 of 28 Eclipse EA-500 VLJs in the DayJet fleet. The 28th aircraft will be used for company purposes, an FAA spokesman said.
The move followed a lengthy hearing Wednesday on Capitol Hill that probed the validity of the certification and production approvals for the Eclipse EA-500. Although DayJet was the single largest Eclipse operator, DayJet executives on Thursday told the Tampa Tribune that there had been no fallout for them from the hearing.
But DayJet has for months struggled to obtain necessary financing to reach the critical mass of operations necessary to achieve profitability. The company in May announced it was curbing its expansion plans and cutting almost 40 percent of its work force because it was unable to secure that funding. Company founder and CEO Ed Iacobucci said the decision to curtail plans was "caused by external economic factors and [was] not a reflection of a weakness in the underlying DayJet business model. Sources said more recently that DayJet continued to be unsuccessful in the turbulent financial market.
The FAA spokesman said that DayJet retains its operating certificate and that company officials did not indicate whether the carrier was permanently going out of business. Calls to the company were not returned late Friday.