Regional Airline JetSuiteX Expands East, Backed By Qatar Investment
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
California charter airline JetSuite just announced an aggressive expansion for its sister company, JetSuiteX. The growth plan involves several major changes, including relocating from Southern California to Texas this summer, as well as eventually growing the airline’s fleet from its current tally of five, up to around 100 Embraers by 2023, according to CEO Alex Wilcox.
JetSuiteX began offering scheduled service on 30-seat Embraer 135 regional jets in April 2016. The airline allows passengers to bypass larger airports and congested terminals by utilizing private air terminals in California and Las Vegas, with one-way fares that begin at $129.
News of the expansion comes just a couple of days after Qatar Airways acquired a minority stake in the regional airline and its sister company, JetSuiteX. JetBlue, which became a minor JetSuite investor in 2016, also increased its investment stake in the company, although neither airline disclosed the details regarding the amount of their investment. Several other private investors are also involved in the deal.
“We are delighted to have the opportunity to invest in such unique business as JetSuite and JetSuiteX,” said Qatar Airways Group CEO Akbar Al Baker. “We believe that JetSuite and JetSuiteX deliver a truly class-leading service to the U.S. market with a huge potential for development, and we are very excited to invest in this opportunity alongside JetBlue and the other investors.”
JetSuite and JetSuiteX are the brainchild of Wilcox, an early JetBlue employee. Zappos.com CEO Tony Hsieh is also a JetSuite director. Wilcox said that, while the JetSuiteX is still exploring its options for eastward expansion, Qatar’s investment will be enough to fund upcoming growth without seeking additional funds.
“JetSuite’s innovative JetSuiteX service and customer-focused approach aligns perfectly with our values at JetBlue, which is why we are so pleased that our partners at Qatar Airways are joining us in supporting this venture,” Wilcox said. “We look forward to seeing JetSuite further grow on the West Coast and beyond to bring additional air travel choices to customers in underserved markets.”
This isn’t Qatar’s first investment in other airlines. The Doha-based carrier has invested in Meridiana and Cathay, among others, and also has its sights set on America. Prior to the JetSuiteX deal, Qatar had attempted to break into the US market by wooing American Airlines for some time, hoping to acquire an unsolicited equity stake in the world’s largest carrier. But American rebuffed the Middle East airline’s advances amidst tense allegations of imbalanced government subsidies and a bitter dispute over the Open Skies agreement, with American going so far as to terminate its codeshare flights with both Qatar and Etihad.
In response, Qatar terminated its negotiations with American, instead announcing its investment in JetSuite this week at leading industry conference Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX). JetSuite’s planned relocation to Dallas-Fort Worth this summer will put the airline squarely in American Airlines territory because the carrier is headquartered in Fort Worth. According to Wilcox, Texas offers lower costs and a larger aviation infrastructure, thanks to the local presence of both American as well as Southwest Airlines.
Featured image courtesy of JetSuiteX.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first three months of card membership.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
- Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees