Set Jet bringing inexpensive twist to private plane service

Set Jet LLC, the latest private flight service to land in Las Vegas, has borrowed a cornerstone of its business plan from the seemingly opposite Allegiant Air.

A brokerage rather than a charter operator, Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Set Jet plans to start service from both Mc Carran International and Henderson Executive airports on Oct. 18 using planes outfitted with cushy leather seats, lots of wood paneling, an open bar for passengers and no waits at a baggage carousel. In that respect, it resembles the other small jet services based at the two airports.

But the distinction between Set Jet and others comes from a trade off: lower price for less convenience.

Set Jet initially will book four departures a day, said CEO Tom Smith, two each to Scottsdale and a choice of three Los Angeles-area airports, with the schedule set by whoever books the first seat. Most charters go any time the passenger wants.

But at Set Jet, flights will cost $400 one way, on top of a $100 initiation fee and $100 a month regular membership, about double commercial first class but far less than the thousands of dollars an hour typical for private jets.

“The first question we get from people who don’t know us is, ‘How can we do it for that price,’ ” Smith said.

Much of the answer comes from using a plane that has fallen out of favor, the CRJ 200. Normally, the twin-engine jet seats about 50 passengers in the fleets of commuter airlines that feed the industry giants. But they are rapidly being sent into retirement as aviation fuel prices hovering around $3 a gallon have made them money losers.

Even after what Smith said its a $5 million interior renovation, configured with 15 seats, the total cost is just a fraction of a a new private jet. Similarly, Las Vegas-based Allegiant built its fleet by picking up cheap MD-80s that major airlines deemed obsolete, creating a low cost base that allows low fares.

As a result, Smith said Set Jet would break even with planes half full. This takes into account sometimes having to swallow the worst scenario of flying a plane in one direction with one passenger, then returning empty.

“We believe there is enough traffic between the cities that we will get an average of eight people-plus on board,” he said.

Taking a hit during the recession, private jet use has grown slowly at McCarran. The 368,000 people that passed through the two private plane bases marked a gain of only 3.4 percent over four years. However, this does not include the air forces belonging to the Strip heavyweights such as Las Vegas Sands or Wynn Resorts.

Set Jet was incorporated in 2010, then spent three years working through regulatory approvals. In went into operation on Sept. 16 shuttling between Scottsdale and Los Angeles with planes and crews belonging to Maine Aviation Charter Co. of Portland, Maine.

Although the federal government shutdown has raised questions about whether a second plane will have all the paperwork in order by the Oct. 18 launch in Las Vegas, Smith said he would curtail Scottsdale-Los Angeles if necessary to make room for the full Las Vegas schedule.

By the beginning of December, the plan calls for adding San Diego and Orange County, Calif., to the route map.

Set Jet, although having created an unusual business model, borrows elements from others. BlackJet, which started coming to Las Vegas this year, allows members to book seats on jets owned by others through its website or an app. One a Wednesday, for example, that meant a $971 seat from Las Vegas to Los Angeles.

Surf Air, landing at three California airports, allows members to fly as much as they want on single-engine turboprops for $1,495 a month. Surf Air has put Las Vegas on its list of potential destinations but has not set a timetable.

Contact reporter Tim O’Reiley at toreiley@reviewjournal.com or at 702-387-5290.

ad-high_impact_4
Business
Lehman Brothers bet big on Las Vegas
Lehman Brothers collapsed 10 years ago, helping send the country into the Great Recession.
Fremont9 opens downtown
Fremont9 apartment complex has opened in downtown Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Ross & Snow launches in Las Vegas
Luxury shoe brand Ross & Snow has opened in Las Vegas, featuring "functional luxury" with premium shearling footwear. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Remote Identification and Drones
DJI vice president of policy and public affairs discusses using remote identification on drones. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Drones and public safety in Nevada
Two representatives in the drone industry discuss UAV's impact on public safety. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Frontier Airlines to launch flights from Las Vegas to Mexico
Frontier, a Denver-based ultra-low-cost carrier, will become the first airline in more than a decade to offer international service to Canada and Mexico from Las Vegas when flights to Cancun and Los Cabos begin Dec. 15. (Rick Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren addresses Oct. 1 lawsuits
MGM Resorts International Chairman and CEO Jim Murren addresses criticism his company has received for filing a lawsuit against the survivors of the Oct. 1 shooting. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International opens the doors on MGM Springfield
Massachusetts’ first hotel-casino opens in downtown Springfield. The $960 million MGM Springfield has 252 rooms and 125,000-square-feet of casino. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International prepares to open MGM Springfield
Las Vegas-based MGM Resorts International gave news media and invited guests a preview of the $960 million MGM Springfield casino in Massachusetts. The commonwealth's first resort casino will open Friday, Aug. 24. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
A Walk Through Circus Circus
It only takes a short walk through Circus Circus to realize it attracts a demographic like no other casino on the Strip: families with young children. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Morphy Auctions, a vintage slot machines seller, wants gaming license
Vice president Don Grimmer talks about Morphy Auctions at the company's warehouse located at 4520 Arville Street in Las Vegas on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018. (Rick Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada's venture capital money doesn't stay in state
Zach Miles, associate vice president for economic development for UNLV, said there’s venture money in Southern Nevada, “but trying to find the right groups to tap into for that money is different.” According to a 2017 report from the Kauffman Foundation, Las Vegas ranked number 34 out of 40 metropolitan areas for growth entrepreneurship, a metric of how much startups grow. With a lack of growing startups in Las Vegas, investment money is being sent outside of state borders. The southwest region of the U.S. received $386 million in funding in the second quarter, with about $25.2 million in Nevada. The San Francisco area alone received about $5.6 billion. (source: CB Insights)
Neon wraps can light up the night for advertising
Vinyl wrap company 5150 Wraps talks about neon wraps, a new technology that the company believes can boost advertising at night. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Nevada on the forefront of drone safety
Dr. Chris Walach, senior director of Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems, talks to a reporter at NIAS's new Nevada Drone Center for Excellence of Public Safety, located inside the Switch Innevation Center in Las Vegas. K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @KMCannonPhoto
Motel 8 on south Strip will become site of hotel-casino
Israeli hoteliers Asher Gabay and Benny Zerah bought Motel 8 on the south Strip for $7.4 million, records show. They plan to bulldoze the property and build a hotel-casino. Motel 8 was built in the 1960s and used to be one of several roadside inns on what's now the south Strip. But it looks out of place today, dwarfed by the towering Mandalay Bay right across the street.
Project billed as one of the world's largest marijuana dispensaries plans to open Nov. 1
Planet 13 co-CEO Larry Scheffler talks about what to expect from the new marijuana dispensary, Thursday, July 19, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Oasis Biotech opens in Las Vegas
Brock Leach, chief operating officer of Oasis Biotech, discusses the new plant factory at its grand opening on July 18. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UNLV Tech Park innovation building breaks ground
Construction on the first innovation building at the UNLV Tech Park is underway. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Caesars Forum Meeting Center
Caesars broke ground Monday on its $375 million Caesars Forum Meeting Center (convention center) just east of the High Roller observation wheel. (Caesars Entertainment)
Technology reshapes the pawn shop industry
Devin Battersby attaches a black-colored device to the back of her iPhone and snaps several of the inside and outside of a Louis Vuitton wallet. The device, installed with artificial intelligence capabilities, analyzes the images using a patented microscopic technology. Within a few minutes, Battersby receives an answer on her app. The designer item is authentic.
Recreational marijuana has been legal in Nevada for one year
Exhale Nevada CEO Pete Findley talks about the one year anniversary of the legalization of recreational marijuana in Nevada. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Young adults aren't saving for retirement
Financial advisors talk about saving trends among young adults. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
President Trump’s tariffs could raise costs for real estate developers, analysts say
President Donald Trump made his fortune in real estate, but by slapping tariffs on imports from close allies, developers in Las Vegas and other cities could get hit hard.
Las Vegas business and tariffs
Barry Yost, co-owner of Precision Tube Laser, LLC, places a metal pipe into the TruLaser Tube 5000 laser cutting machine on Wednesday, June 20, 2018, in Las Vegas. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Nevada Film Office Connects Businesses To Producers
The director of the Nevada Film Office discusses its revamped locations database and how it will affect local businesses. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like