Free Flight: Inventing the Future of Travel

Category: Transportation
Author: James Fallows
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by tacon   2018-01-14
At first glance this sounded like the rebirth of the proposed restructuring of the commercial airline industry as covered in the book "Free Flight: Inventing the Future of Travel"[0], by James Fallows (2001). Back then the business model was to marry a fleet of very cheap passenger jets[1] with the huge number of little used airports dispersed around big cities. The book mentions two companies as leading the industry, Cirrus Design[2] and Eclipse Aviation[3]. The startup collapsed during the financial crisis. I remember reading an analysis of the difficulty of scheduling individual pickups to thousands of small airports, essentially a full blown traveling salesman problem that had to be updated in real time with each new reservation. The promise was to cut an hour or so off the total travel time by using small airports near the customer's home and destination.

[0] https://www.amazon.com/Free-Flight-Inventing-Future-Travel/d...

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Very_light_jet

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cirrus_Aircraft

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eclipse_Aviation