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JSX plans US regional network with 150 ERA aircraft
JSX plans to use the ERA, ES-30 and Electra eSTOL aircraft to weave sustainable regional air travel back into the fabric of American society, at lower costs that are essential to providing air service to small communities.
The ERA will transport 19 passengers or 1.9 tons of freight, and can be configured for business aviation. It has a pressurised cabin and a range of up to 1,600km.
Read this story in our January 2024 printed issue.

Dallas, Texas-based regional airline JSX has announced its intent to acquire up to 332 hybrid-electric aircraft from Electra, Aura Aero and Heart Aerospace, pledging to pioneer an environmentally sustainable future for small community air service.

The operator has signed letters of intent to acquire up to 82 of the nine seat Electra eSTOL aircraft with 32 firm orders and 50 options; up to 150 of the 19 seat Aura Aero ERA with 50 firm orders and 100 options; and up to 100 of the 30 seat Heart Aerospace ES-30 with 50 firm orders and 50 options. This manifests its commitment to the renewal of low-impact regional transportation across North America.

JSX currently provides up to 120 public charter flights daily to 24 business and leisure destinations across Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, New Mexico, New York and Texas, with new offerings to Mexico and the Bahamas as well. It operates 47 Embraer ERJ family aircraft, each reconfigured to offer 30 seats, and employs over 1,200 crew.

Following the Biden administration's call last week for the aviation industry to cut carbon emissions and create more good paying US jobs, JSX expects to take delivery of its first hybrid-electric aircraft in 2028, shepherding the next chapter of regional aviation as the first in its category to adopt this impactful cutting-edge renewable energy technology.

While commercial airlines can serve just 480 airports in the US, JSX's small community-friendly Part 135 and Part 380 public charter operations, combined with the performance capabilities of these hybrid-electric aircraft, will enable service opportunities to thousands of federally funded airports otherwise inaccessible to people who can't own or charter an entire aircraft. JSX has mastered the trifecta of marketing, selling and operating attainable by-the-seat public charter air service to numerous small communities that have no other regular air service. With the Electra eSTOL, Heart Aerospace ES-30 and Aura Aero Era, JSX can dramatically lower the cost of its service and open new flight options at over 2,000 US airports, stimulating local economies and empowering regional mobility and connectivity for communities devoid of regular air service today.

"JSX is, by far, America's highest rated and most innovative air carrier, and today's order of hybrid-electric aircraft exemplifies our commitment to achievable, customer-friendly, carbon-reducing solutions that will offer the lower costs essential to providing vital air service to smaller communities across the country," says CEO and co-founder Alex Wilcox. "As the network airlines order ever-larger aircraft, it is inevitable that more and more small markets will be abandoned. Electra, Aura Aero and Heart Aerospace are visionary organisations that share in JSX's commitment to serving smaller communities, working together with us to weave sustainable regional air travel back into the fabric of American commerce and freedom of movement."

The Electra eSTOL low-emission aircraft is designed to transport nine passengers or 2,500 pounds of cargo with a range of up to 500 nautical miles. It can take off and land in less than 150ft at very slow speeds with batteries that recharge in-flight, eliminating the need for new ground infrastructure. It leverages distributed electric propulsion and blown lift as well as a small turbine-powered generator to drive eight electric motors distributed across the wing, providing high lift at low airspeed and low drag at high speed. This enables the aircraft to cleanly and quietly operate closer to where people and cargo need to go, providing air connectivity where it doesn't exist today, including to small cities and regional airports.

"Electra is thrilled to be a key part of JSX's innovative vision for the future of regional air mobility. Our eSTOL aircraft is uniquely positioned to deliver on JSX's commitment to provide sustainable access to small communities and large cities alike," says vice president and general manager JP Stewart. "As the nation's most experienced Part 380 operator, JSX provides a hop-on regional air service that is reminiscent of a time where flying was an enjoyable experience with large seats, friendly service, frequent direct flights and low friction."

Aura Aero's ERA is an eco-responsible aircraft capable of transporting 19 passengers or 1.9 tons of freight with a flexible seating configuration. It offers a range of up to 1,600km in a comfortable, pressurised cabin. Using all-electric propulsion for take off reduces the Era's noise footprint while minimising environmental impact.

"Aura Aero is very proud to have been selected by JSX, one of the US's key supporters of regional network development," says president and co-founder Jeremy Caussade. "Era, our low-carbon aircraft, provides the performance required for JSX to bring air connectivity to more local communities. This agreement marks a new step in our development in the US; we are thrilled by this new, exciting challenge."

The ES-30 is a regional hybrid-electric aircraft with a standard seating capacity of 30 passengers offering low emissions, low noise pollution and low operating costs on short haul routes. It can fly up to 500 miles, including 250 miles of hybrid range and up to 125 miles under full electric, zero-emissions power.

"We're really excited to be part of JSX's commitment toward sustainable regional air travel," says Simon Newitt, president and CCO at Heart Aerospace. "The ES-30, with its competitive economics and green credentials, fits very well with JSX's vision, and we see not only the opportunity to reconnect many regional routes lost over the years, but also open many more new ones. We believe this transformation will be good for the consumer and good for the economy, as well as for the environment."

The favourable operating economics of the three aircraft types can create thousands of new and expanded air travel options across the US without the need for government subsidy. Small communities like Del Rio in Texas, which has lost all commercial air service since the COVID pandemic, is one example of many locales that stand to be reconnected to major cities in a sustainable, cost-effective way.

JSX is well-prepared to handle the complexities of bringing these new aircraft to new markets. It boasts expert small aircraft maintenance and operating standards and routinely passes stringent industry safety audits with flying colours. Having vetted dozens of environmentally-conscious aircraft proposals over the past several years, JSX stands firm in its support of and belief in manufacturers Electra, Aura Aero and Heart Aerospace, which have identified the natural first frontier for scalable low-carbon aviation: using small, fixed wing regional aircraft that fit within both existing infrastructure and time-tested regulatory parameters, but with dramatically lower operating costs and emissions. JSX plans to roll out these new aircraft as early as 2028, offering point-to-point mobility.

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