flying green

Texas company lines up hundreds electric-hybrid planes for takeoff

Behold the future JSX Aura Aero Era 19-seat hybrid-electric aircraft. Rendering courtesy of JSX

Hop-on jet service JSX is soaring into a more eco-friendly future with plans to acquire more than 300 hybrid-electric airplanes.

The Dallas-based air carrier revealed in a release that they'll add up to 332 small hybrid planes in 2028, allowing them to connect to smaller, underserved communities around the country.

"Following the Biden Administration’s call last week for the aviation industry to cut carbon emissions ... 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," JSX says in the release. "While commercial airlines can serve just 480 airports in the United States, JSX’s small community-friendly Part 135 and Part 380 Public Charter operations, combined with the exceptional performance capabilities of these hybrid-electric airplanes, enables service opportunities to thousands of federally funded airports otherwise inaccessible to people who can’t own or charter an entire aircraft."

The new cutting-edge airplanes will come from manufacturers Electra, Aura Aero, and Heart Aerospace and will include:

  • up to 82 Electra eSTOL 9-seat aircraft (32 firm orders and 50 options)
  • up to 150 Aura Aero Era 19-seat planes (50 firm orders and 100 options)
  • up to 100 Heart Aerospace ES-30 30-seat planes (50 firm orders and 50 options)

JSX currently operates about 50 semi-private planes configured with 30 seats, from private terminals in major cities including Dallas (Love Field) and Houston (Hobby Airport), and in "leisure" markets such as Destin, Florida and the Bahamas. The company recently shifted part of its operational focus to small markets (such as Midland-Odessa).

JSX promises a "no crowds, no lines, and no fuss" travel experience, allowing customers to check in and "hop on" just 20 minutes before departure. The carrier recently came under fire from federal regulators and major commercial airlines for its looser security regulations that more closely resemble those of charter providers than those of domestic airlines.

JSX is now doubling down on its pledge to service underserved cities, declaring in the release, "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."

The future Heart Aerospace ES-30 30-seat hybrid-electric aircraft in JSX livery. Rendering courtesy of JSX

The new smaller, electric-hybrid aircraft will allow JSX to "dramatically lower the cost of its service and open new flight options at over 2,000 U.S. airports," they say, "stimulating local economies and empowering regional mobility and connectivity for communities devoid of regular air service today."

They point specifically to Del Rio, Texas, which has lost all commercial air service since the pandemic, they say, as an example of a small city that now can be reconnected to major cities in a cost-effective, sustainable way.

"The favorable operating economics of the Aura Aero Era, Heart ES-30, and Electra eSTOL can create thousands of new and expanded air travel options across the United States without the need for government subsidy," the company says.

In a statement, JSX CEO and cofounder Alex Wilcox adds, "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 organizations 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.”

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This article originally ran on CultureMap.

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A View From HETI

Houston could have ranked higher on a global report of top cities in the world if it had a bit more business diversification. Photo via Getty Images

A new analysis positions the Energy Capital of the World as an economic dynamo, albeit a flawed one.

The recently released Oxford Economics Global Cities Index, which assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the world’s 1,000 largest cities, puts Houston at No. 25.

Houston ranks well for economics (No. 15) and human capital (No. 18), but ranks poorly for governance (No. 184), environment (No. 271), and quality of life (No. 298).

New York City appears at No. 1 on the index, followed by London; San Jose, California; Tokyo; and Paris. Dallas lands at No. 18 and Austin at No. 39.

In its Global Cities Index report, Oxford Economics says Houston’s status as “an international and vertically integrated hub for the oil and gas sector makes it an economic powerhouse. Most aspects of the industry — downstream, midstream, and upstream — are managed from here, including the major fuel refining and petrochemicals sectors.”

“And although the city has notable aerospace and logistics sectors and has diversified into other areas such as biomedical research and tech, its fortunes remain very much tied to oil and gas,” the report adds. “As such, its economic stability and growth lag other leading cities in the index.”

The report points out that Houston ranks highly in the human capital category thanks to the large number of corporate headquarters in the region. The Houston area is home to the headquarters of 26 Fortune 500 companies, including ExxonMobil, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and Sysco.

Another contributor to Houston’s human capital ranking, the report says, is the presence of Rice University, the University of Houston and the Texas Medical Center.

“Despite this,” says the report, “it lacks the number of world-leading universities that other cities have, and only performs moderately in terms of the educational attainment of its residents.”

Slower-than-expected population growth and an aging population weaken Houston’s human capital score, the report says.

Meanwhile, Houston’s score for quality is life is hurt by a high level of income inequality, along with a low life expectancy compared with nearly half the 1,000 cities on the list, says the report.

Also in the quality-of-life bucket, the report underscores the region’s variety of arts, cultural, and recreational activities. But that’s offset by urban sprawl, traffic congestion, an underdeveloped public transportation system, decreased air quality, and high carbon emissions.

Furthermore, the report downgrades Houston’s environmental stature due to the risks of hurricanes and flooding.

“Undoubtedly, Houston is a leading business [center] that plays a key role in supporting the U.S. economy,” says the report, “but given its shortcomings in other categories, it will need to follow the path of some of its more well-rounded peers in order to move up in the rankings.”

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This article originally ran on InnovationMap.

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