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Day Jet closes operations

The closing of a unique on-demand transportation service will mean removal of its operation in Selma.

DayJet, which provided air travel to cities throughout the Southeastern part of the country, announced recently that it has ceased operations due to financial issues.

Company officials flew to Selma in January and designated Selma as a DayStop. Although passengers could not book commercial flights here, the agreement offered the company ability to use Craig Field’s runway and refuel there.

“I thought when they first decided to make us a stop it was kind of a prestigious thing for us to be selected,” said Menzo Driskell, executive director of the Craig Field Airport and Industrial Authority. “But they never actually had a presence here or any employees here. If somebody was using them on a regular basis, they’ll have to make some other arrangements.”

DayJet said in a press release “this shutdown is a direct consequence of the company’s inability to arrange critical financing in the midst of the current global financial crisis.”

Founder and CEO Ed Iacobucci called the company’s downturn unexpected and stepped down to become chairman of the board of directors.

DayJet is no longer taking passengers and said on its Web site that it is unlikely the company will receive financing and resume operations.

“Twelve months ago our team launched a new regional transportation model,” Iacobucci stated. “It is unfortunate that these developments have come at the same time our nation has fallen into the most serious capital crisis of our lifetime. Regrettably, without access to growth capital, we have no choice but to discontinue operations.”

The shutdown is a direct consequence of the company’s inability to arrange critical financing in the midst of the current global financial crisis, its press release said. The company’s operations have also suffered as a result of Eclipse Aviation’s failure to install missing equipment or functionality or repair agreed technical discrepancies in accordance with the terms of DayJet’s aircraft purchase contract.

Eclipse Aviation manufactured the aircraft used to transport passengers.

Wayne Vardaman, executive director of the Selma and Dallas County Economic Development Authority, said the closing of the DayStop in Selma will have no effects on the city’s ability to recruit other aviation-related industries.

“I don’t think we had hardly any customers, so it wasn’t like we were big users,” Vardaman said. “There were no major effects on us at all. That was a commercial charter, and it has no effect on what we’re doing in aviation whatsoever.”

Driskell praised the innovation of DayJet, which hailed itself as the world’s first operator of “per-seat, on-demand” jet service.

But strains on the economy proved burdensome for a company that got off the ground a little more than a year ago.

“When you think about it, avgas and Jet A has doubled, just like your automobile gas for your car,” Driskell said. “Some people are driving less, or taking the bus or riding the bike. So there’s less of that going on, and some people are actually getting rid of planes. So it’s a tough time for aviation right now.”