Janet (airline)

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Janet
Janet Boeing 737-66N registration N288DP taking off, just left the runway.
IATA ICAO Callsign
WWW JANET
Commenced operationsMarch 1972 (1972-03)
Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
HubsMcCarran International Airport
Focus cities
Fleet size11
Destinations15
Parent companyDepartment of the Air Force
HeadquartersLas Vegas, Nevada, United States

Janet, sometimes called Janet Airlines, is the unofficial name given to a highly classified fleet of passenger aircraft operated for the United States Department of the Air Force[1] as an employee shuttle to transport military and contractor employees. The purpose is to pick up the employees at their home airport, and take them to their place of work. Then, in the afternoon, they take the employees back to their home airports. The airline mainly serves the Nevada National Security Site (most notably Area 51 and the Tonopah Test Range), from a private terminal at Las Vegas's McCarran International Airport.[2]

History[edit]

The fleet's "Janet" call sign, from which its de facto name comes, is said to stand for "Just Another Non-Existent Terminal".[3][4] It is also sometimes known as "Joint Air Network for Employee Transportation".[5]

After the October 2017 Las Vegas shooting massacre, news surfaced that the shooter, in addition to firing at concertgoers, had also targeted aviation fuel tanks at nearby McCarran International Airport. Further reporting by the New York Post suggested a possible connection between the vulnerable fuel tanks and a classified Janet operation.[6]

A Janet Boeing 737-66N in front of the Mandalay Bay Hotel.
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.

Operations[edit]

Due to the airline's secretive nature, little is known about its organization. It is operated for the USAF by infrastructure and defense contractor AECOM through AECOM's acquisition in 2014 of URS Corporation, which acquired EG&G Technical Services in 2002, as derived from URS's history of providing this service to the Air Force and job openings published by URS.[7][8] 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.[8] More recently, AECOM has posted similar openings.[9]

Due to its secrecy, Janet airlines boards at a special part of McCarran International Airport. They board planes at the west side of the airport, next to the Janet Airlines passenger parking lot. There is even a small terminal building for passengers.[10]

Janet flights operate with a three-digit flight number and a WWW-prefix.[11] In the official publication of ICAO airline codes, this specific three-letter designator is listed as being blocked.[12] The official airline callsign is simply Janet. However, the airlines also uses different callsigns, called Groom Callsigns once transferred over to Groom Lake from Nellis control. The callsign name would change, and the callsign number will be the last 2 digits of the flight number +15. For example, if the callsign was Janet 412, and was transferred to Groom Lake control, the callsign would be something like ¨Bunny 27¨.

Destinations codes[edit]

Due to the secrecy of the airline, Janet Airlines uses special codes for their destinations[13] They use this to mask the destination. KTKM is not an ICAO code for an airport, it is actually the code for Area 51. Not all codes are known. However, the following are listed:

Airport Code
Air Force Plant 42 Station 1
Palmdale Regional Airport Station 1
Groom Lake Station 3
Unknown Station 6
Tonopah Test Range Airport Station 7
McCarran International Airport Station 9

Destinations[edit]

Janet destinations, mostly military, include:[13]

Janet Airlines Destinations
Country State City Airport Airport Codes Notes Refs
IATA Code ICAO Code FAA LID
 United States California Palmdale Air Force Plant 42 PMD KPMD PMD Also known as Palmdale Regional Airport,

as they share the same runway.

[13]
Palmdale Regional Airport PMD KPMD PMD Services every Monday and Friday. [13]
China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake KNID NID [13]
Edwards Edwards Air Force Base EDW KEDW EDW Janet Airlines services the north base. [13]
Oxnard Naval Air Station Point Mugu NTD KNTD NTD Currently a part of Naval Base Ventura County. [13]
Camarillo Camarillo Airport KCMA CMA [14]
Santa Barbara Santa Barbara Municipal Airport SBA KSBA SBA [15]
San Nicolas Island Naval Outlying Field San Nicolas Island KNSI NSI [13]
Nevada Homey Airport KXTA Also, more commonly known as Area 51. [13]
Las Vegas Henderson Executive Airport HSH KHND HND [13][16]
Paradise McCarran International Airport LAS KLAS LAS Hub [13]
Tonopah Tonopah Test Range Airport XSD KTNX TNX [13]
North Las Vegas Nellis Air Force Base LSV KLSV LSV [13]
New Mexico Alamogordo Alamogordo–White Sands Regional Airport ALM KLAM ALM [13]
Ohio Dayton Wright-Patterson Air Force Base FFO KFFO FFO [13]
Utah Ogden Hill Air Force Base HIF KHIF HIF [13]
Salt Lake City Salt Lake City International Airport SLC KSLC SLC [13]

Along with these destinations, there have been reports of Janet Airlines filing flight plans to many other airports.[17]

Fleet[edit]

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.[7]

As of mid-2015, the Janet fleet[18] consists of six Boeing 737-600s painted white with a prominent red cheatline. The fleet is registered to the Department of the Air Force, while some earlier aircraft were registered to several civil aircraft leasing corporations.[7] 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 operated by Keyway Air Transport, apparently a front company for a US government operation. It was retired on 6 March 2009.[7] Together with the other 737-200s, it was sent to AMARG at Davis–Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona for storage.[19]

All Janet 737-600 aircraft are ex-Air China and with the exception of N273RH and N365SR which 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.[20]

One aircraft, a Beechcraft 1900, was lost on 16 March 2004, when it crashed on approach for Tonopah Test Range Airport after the pilot suffered sudden cardiac arrest. Five people, including the pilot, were killed in the accident.[21][22]

The aircraft livery is similar to that of the defunct Western Airlines.[23]

Current Janet Airlines Fleet
Type Serial number Tail Number C/N Owner Notes Refs
Boeing 737-66N 28649 N319BD 887 United States Department of the Air Force [24][25]
Boeing 737-66N 28650 N869HH 932 United States Department of the Air Force [24][25]
Boeing 737-66N 28652 N859WP 938 United States Department of the Air Force [24][25]
Boeing 737-66N 29890 N273RH 1276 United States Department of the Air Force [24][25]
Boeing 737-66N 29891 N365SR 1294 United States Department of the Air Force [24][25]
Boeing 737-66N 29892 N288DP 1305 United States Department of the Air Force [24][25]
Beechcraft 1900 UB-42 N20RA United States Department of the Air Force [24][25]
Beechcraft 1900C UC-163 N623RA United States Department of the Air Force [24][25]
Beechcraft B200C BL-54 N654BA United States Department of the Air Force [24][25]
Beechcraft B200C BL-61 N661BA United States Department of the Air Force [24][25]
Beechcraft B200C BL-62 N662BA United States Department of the Air Force [24][25]
Former Janet Airlines Fleet
Type Serial number Tail Number C/N Owner Fate Retired Refs
Beechcraft 1900C UB-37 N27RA United States Department of the Air Force Crash March 16, 2004 [24][25][26]
Boeing 737-275 20785 N4529W 335 United States Department of the Air Force Retired November 7, 2008 [24][25]
Boeing 737-253 20694 N5294M 343 United States Department of the Air Force Retired January 26, 2009 [24][25]
Boeing 737-253 20693 N5177C 340 United States Department of the Air Force Retired March 6, 2009 [24][25]
Boeing 737-253 20691 N5294E 337 United States Department of the Air Force Retired April 17, 2009 [24][25]
Boeing 737-253 20692 N5176Y 339 United States Department of the Air Force Retired July 17, 2009 [24][25]
Boeing 737-253 20689 N5175U 334 United States Department of the Air Force Retired August 10, 2009 [24][25]
McDonnell Douglas DC-6B S60A-3079 N6583C EG&G Retired October 1981 [24]


Accidents[edit]

Aircraft Crash site Damage Route Description Time Fatalities Refs
Origin Destination
Beech 1900C
N27RA
7 miles southeast of Tonopah Test Range Airport W/O Tonopah Test Range Airport During approach, the pilot reported runway in-sight, and entered a circle pattern. Then, the pilot became incapacitated due to sudden cardiac death. During the turn, the plane's nose gradually dipped down, and eventually smashed into the ground. The plane broke up, igniting fuel which burst into flames. It was later revealed the pilot had high blood pressure, and neglected to report it. March 16 2004, 04:01 5/5 [27]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "N5177C (1974 BOEING 737-200 owned by DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE) Aircraft Registration ✈ FlightAware". FlightAware.
  2. ^ "Janet Airline / EG&G". Retrieved 21 September 2010.
  3. ^ "Audio Clips of Janet Radio Traffic". Retrieved 1 November 2010.
  4. ^ Presenters: Bill Birnes, Kevin Cook and Pat Uskert (25 February 2009). "Area 51 Revealed". UFO Hunters. History Channel.
  5. ^ "The secret airline run by the US government is hiring — and to get the job, you have to share your drinking habits, sexual behavior, and mental health". Business Insider. Retrieved 7 February 2018.
  6. ^ Fears, Danika (5 October 2017). "Vegas maniac may have targeted classified government-run airline's fuel tanks". New York Post. Retrieved 29 December 2017.
  7. ^ a b c d "The Janet Fleet". Retrieved 21 September 2010.
  8. ^ a b Contractflygirl.blogspot.com – archived copy of URS Corporation job opening.
  9. ^ Archive.org – Archived copy of AECOM Corporation job opening.
  10. ^ "Map and Aerial Photo of the Las Vegas Janet Terminal". dreamlandresort.com. Dreamland Resort. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
  11. ^ Flightaware.com – WWW224, page retrieved 21 February 2013
  12. ^ ICAO Document 8585, Section 3: Three-Letter Designators.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q "Janet Schedule & Destinations". www.dreamlandresort.com. Dreamland Resort. Retrieved 3 October 2010.
  14. ^ "N654RA - Beeach 1900C - Flightradar24". flightradar24.com. Flightradar24. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  15. ^ "N623RA - Beeach 1900C - Flightradar24". flightradar24.com. Flightradar24. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  16. ^ "N632RA Live Flight Tracking and History (B190 owned by DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE)". flightaware.com. Flight Aware. Retrieved 7 March 2019.
  17. ^ "Janet Flight Schedules". dreamlandresort.com. Dreamland Resort. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  18. ^ Krum, Collin. "America's Secret Airline Flies Non-Stop To Area 51". Jalopnik. Retrieved 29 December 2017.
  19. ^ Rainer Bexten – Airliners.net – Aerial photo taken at Davis–Monthan Air Force Base. Photo from 29 February 2012.
  20. ^ Flightaware.com – Delivery flight of N288DP. Page retrieved 21 February 2013.
  21. ^ Ranter, Harro. "ASN Aircraft accident Beechcraft 1900C N27RA Tonopah-Test Range Airport, NV (XSD)". aviation-safety.net.
  22. ^ Leadbeater, Chris (4 January 2018). "The top-secret US airline that you're not supposed to know about". The Telegraph. United Kingdom. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  23. ^ Krum, Collin (13 August 2015). "America's Secret Airline Flies Non-Stop To Area 51". Jalopnik. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  24. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s "The Janet Fleet". dreamlandresort.com. Dreamland Resort. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
  25. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r "Janet Tail Numbers". dreamlandresort.com. Dreamland Resort. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
  26. ^ "ASN Beech 1900C N27RA crash". aviation-safety.net. Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
  27. ^ "ASN Beech 1900C N27RA crash". aviation-safety.net. Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 26 February 2019.

External links[edit]