Janet (airline)

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Janet NSA
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded 1972
Hubs McCarran International Airport
Fleet size 18
Destinations 6
A Janet Boeing 737-600
A Janet 737-200 departing from McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas, Nevada with the MGM Grand Las Vegas in the background

Janet is the de facto name for a small fleet of passenger aircraft operated for the United States Air Force. Their aircraft transport military and contractor employees and currently serve mostly the Nevada National Security Site (most notably Area 51) from their terminal at Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport.[1] In common parlance, JANET is said to stand for 'Just Another Non Existent Terminal'.[2][3]


Due to the secretive nature of the airline, little is known about its organization. It is operated for the USAF by infrastructure and defense contractor AECOM through the AECOM acquisition in 2014 of URS Corporation, which acquired EG&G Technical Services in 2002; this based on URS's history of providing this service to the Air Force and job openings published by URS.[4][5] For example, in 2010, URS announced it would be hiring Boeing 737 Flight Attendants to be based in Las Vegas, requiring applicants to undergo a Single Scope Background Investigation in order to be able to obtain a Top Secret security clearance.[5] Janet flights operate with a three digit flight number and a WWW-prefix.[6] In the official publication of ICAO airline codes, this specific three-letter designator is listed as being blocked.[7]


The first flights from Las Vegas to Area 51 were performed in 1972 by a Douglas DC-6 operated by EG&G. A second Douglas DC-6 was added in 1976 and this type remained in use until 1981.[4]

Currently, the Janet fleet consists of six Boeing 737-600s painted white with a prominent red cheatline. There are also five smaller executive turboprops (two Beechcraft 1900s and three Beechcraft 200Cs) painted white with less prominent blue trim stripes. The fleet is registered to the Department of the Air Force, while some earlier aircraft were registered to several civil aircraft leasing corporations.[4] Before the arrival of the 737-600s Janet operated Boeing 737-200s, some of which were modified from military T-43A aircraft. One of the 737-200s with registration N5177C in the 1980s was briefly based in Germany at Frankfurt International Airport (which was at the time also home to a USAF base, Rhein-Main Air Base), and was operated by Keyway Air Transport, which also appears to have been a US government operation with Keyway Air Transport merely being a front company. It was retired on March 6, 2009.[4] Together with the other 737-200s it was sent to AMARG at Davis–Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona for storage.[8]

All the 737-600 aircraft are ex-Air China and with the exception of N273RH and N365SR were previously operated by the now defunct China Southwest Airlines before being acquired for US Air Force operations starting in 2008. The aircraft were initially taken to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base before being transferred to Las Vegas.[9] Most of the Beechcraft airplanes were sold directly to the Air Force, except for two, which had civilian owners first.[10][11]

One aircraft, a Beechcraft 1900s, was lost on March 14, 2004, when it crashed on approach for Tonopah Test Range Airport after the pilot suffered sudden cardiac death. Five people, including the pilot, were killed in the accident.[12]

The following table lists information about the Janet fleet.[4]

Model Registration MSN C/N
Boeing 737-66N N319BD 28649 887
Boeing 737-66N N869HH 28650 932
Boeing 737-66N N859WP 28652 938
Boeing 737-66N N273RH 29890 1276
Boeing 737-66N N365SR 29891 1294
Boeing 737-66N N288DP 29892 1305
Beech 1900C N20RA UB-42 -
Beech 1900C N623RA UC-163 -
Beech King Air B200C N654BA BL-54 -
Beech King Air B200C N661BA BL-61 -
Beech King Air B200C N662BA BL-62 -

In popular culture[edit]

In Microsoft Flight Simulator X free flight mode, one can fly a Janet Boeing 737, labeled as "Unmarked Airliner". There is also a mission, called "Secret Shuttle", in which one is a new Janet captain, making his first shuttle flight to "Area 51" from Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport as Janet 356 (later changes to Longhorn 27 on approach). Although a 737-800W is used for the flight, it is painted in a similar style to the 737s operated by Janet.[13]


The following locations are some of the most common Janet destinations:[14]


  1. ^ "Janet Airline / EG&G". Retrieved 21 September 2010. 
  2. ^ "Audio Clips of Janet Radio Traffic". Retrieved 1 November 2010. 
  3. ^ Presenters: Bill Birnes, Kevin Cook and Pat Uskert (25 February 2009). "Area 51 Revealed". UFO Hunters. History Channel. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "The Janet Fleet". Retrieved 21 September 2010. 
  5. ^ a b Contractflygirl.blogspot.com - archived copy of URS Corporation job opening.
  6. ^ Flightaware.com - WWW224, page retrieved February 21, 2013
  7. ^ ICAO Document 8585, Section 3: Three-Letter Designators.
  8. ^ Rainer Bexten - Airliners.net - Aerial photo taken at Davis–Monthan Air Force Base. Photo from February 29th, 2012.
  9. ^ Flightaware.com - Delivery flight of N288DP. Page retrieved February 21, 2013.
  10. ^ Airfleets.net, aircraft data and history obtained from search results based on known aircraft registrations. Information retrieved August 2, 2009.
  11. ^ Trevor Paglen (2006), Unmarked Planes & Hidden Geographies, website retrieved December 28, 2008.
  12. ^ Aviation Safety Database Entry
  13. ^ "Secret Shuttle". Microsoft. Retrieved 21 September 2010. 
  14. ^ "Janet Schedule & Destinations". Retrieved 3 October 2010. 

External links[edit]