Very light jet (VLJ) previously known as microjet, personal jet or light jet, are the newest innovation in aviation. VLJ is the most common name for those types of aircraft nowadays. Those small jets are approved for single-pilot operation, the seats vary from 4 to maximum 8 and the weight is 10, 000 pounds or less. Well, they are not applying to the common definition of business jet, are they?
Since 2008 VLJs have been working their way into the Private jet industry with great success. The development of VLJ was highly encouraged over the last few years as the widespread use of these jets in point-to-point air taxi service has becoming more and more popular. This is because they can fly into airports with runway lengths as short as 1000 meters where airliners cannot compete.
One of the first companies to manufacture VLJ was Cessna with its four seater Citation Mustang. They received their certification from the FAA in 2006. Eclipse Aviation came sooner after them. Today there are 16 different companies developing these aircraft. Features like advanced avionics with glass cockpit technology are the standard.VLJ have lower operating costs than conventional jets, which makes them the preferred choice for short distance travel. However, suggestions during development that VLJs would only be used for flights of no longer then 40-80 min lead to the exclusion of a fully enclosed lavatory on some models. This did not match customer’s expectation, and so Embraer listened, and came up with Phenom 100, a beautiful aeroplane; which features a fully enclosed lavatory with a solid door. The Phenom in fact, is rather spacious, providing not only the privacy of a lavatory, but a baggage compartment roomy enough for both skis and golf bags.
As VLJs are one of the most affordable jets on the market, a lot of customers are purchasing them for a personal use. All of a sudden, a weekend golf tour for you and your friends, or a ski weekend with the family is available with the same cost per seat as an airline ticket, but without a schedule, without long queues at the busy airports, and landing and taking off from airports closer to the start and finish points of your journey. You really are king with the VLJ at your disposal.
That of course means that savvy companies are using these new very light jets to their advantage. Smaller companies that probably had never considered purchasing a private plane now own one. VLJs have made travelling to business meetings so much easier, and in many cases cheaper.
Consider a scenario where you are one of 4 people who have to travel to a 2 hour meeting on a Monday morning. You are based in
Now consider the VLJ alternative. Wake up at 07:00, board the flight at 08:15 to arrive
VLJ are the ultimate air taxi, comfortable, very convenient, very cost effective and time saving. This aircraft type has a niche market for customers who simply require control over their working day and are only flying short hops.
Whatever your reason is for travelling, we will soon see a real urge and demand for Very Light Jets as manufacturers are reporting an increase in VLJ enquiries. As the market begins to show signs of growth, these planes are about to become the hottest thing in business aviation.