Janet (airline)

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Janet
(EG & G) N288DP Boeing 737-600 C-N 29892 (5641861676).jpg
IATA ICAO Callsign
- WWW JANET
Founded1972
HubsMcCarran International Airport
Fleet size11
Destinations10
Parent companyDepartment of the Air Force
HeadquartersLas Vegas, Nevada,  United States

Janet, sometimes called Janet Airlines, is the unofficial name given to a large and highly classified fleet of passenger aircraft operated for the United States Air Force (USAF) to transport military and contractor employees. It mainly serves the Nevada National Security Site (most notably Area 51 and the Tonopah Test Range), from a private terminal at Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport.[1]

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".[2][3] It is also sometimes known as "Joint Air Network for Employee Transportation". [4]

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.[5][6] 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.[6] More recently, AECOM has posted similar openings.[7]

Janet flights operate with a three-digit flight number and a WWW-prefix.[8] In the official publication of ICAO airline codes, this specific three-letter designator is listed as being blocked.[9]

Common Janet destinations, mostly military, include:[10]

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.[5]

As of mid-2015, the Janet fleet[11] 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.[5] 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.[5] Together with the other 737-200s, it was sent to AMARG at Davis–Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona for storage.[12]

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.[13] Most of the Beechcraft airplanes were sold directly to the Air Force, except for two, which had civilian owners first.[14][15]

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.[16][17]

The aircraft livery is similar to that of the defunct Western Airlines.[18]

Fleet information[5]
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]

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.[19]

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.[20]

In the mobile game Airplane the player can buy a Boeing 737 with the livery of Janet Airlines.

References[edit]

  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. ^ "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 2018-02-07.
  5. ^ a b c d e "The Janet Fleet". Retrieved 21 September 2010.
  6. ^ a b Contractflygirl.blogspot.com – archived copy of URS Corporation job opening.
  7. ^ Archive.org – Archived copy of AECOM Corporation job opening.
  8. ^ Flightaware.com – WWW224, page retrieved 21 February 2013
  9. ^ ICAO Document 8585, Section 3: Three-Letter Designators.
  10. ^ "Janet Schedule & Destinations". Retrieved 3 October 2010.
  11. ^ Krum, Collin. "America's Secret Airline Flies Non-Stop To Area 51". Jalopnik. Retrieved 29 December 2017.
  12. ^ Rainer Bexten – Airliners.net – Aerial photo taken at Davis–Monthan Air Force Base. Photo from 29 February 2012.
  13. ^ Flightaware.com – Delivery flight of N288DP. Page retrieved 21 February 2013.
  14. ^ Airfleets.net, aircraft data and history obtained from search results based on known aircraft registrations. Information retrieved 2 August 2009.
  15. ^ Trevor Paglen (2006), Unmarked Planes & Hidden Geographies, website retrieved 28 December 2008.
  16. ^ Aviation Safety Database Entry
  17. ^ 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.
  18. ^ Krum, Collin (13 August 2015). "America's Secret Airline Flies Non-Stop To Area 51". Jalopnik. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  19. ^ Fears, Danika (5 October 2017). "Vegas maniac may have targeted classified government-run airline's fuel tanks". New York Post. Retrieved 29 December 2017.
  20. ^ "Secret Shuttle". Microsoft. Retrieved 21 September 2010.