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    Recently Formed Nevada Entity Headed By Former JetBlue Exec Seeks All 22 Vacant LB Airport Commuter Flight Slots

    (August 3, 2005, updated Aug. 6) -- LB Airport has received a request for all 22 currently vacant LB Airport commuter flight slots (for passenger aircraft under 75,000 pounds) from a recently formed Nevada corporation titled "Smooth Flight Holdings, Inc." whose Chief Executive Officer, Alex Wilcox, was formerly Director of West Coast Operations for JetBlue Airways.

    Filling all 22 currently vacant commuter flight slots would max out LB Airport's noise budgeted passenger flight slots with 66 passenger flights per day (41 over 75,000 pounds + 25 under 75,000 pounds).

    A quick internet search indicates that Mr. Wilcox is no longer with JetBlue and has joined "Kingfisher Airlines," a start up airline based in India. A press release dated July 21, 2005 and posted on the Kingfisher Airlines website says:

    Amidst considerable media speculation in recent weeks, Kingfisher Airlines Limited today announced that Mr. Alex Wilcox will continue as President and a member of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of Kingfisher Airlines Limited.

    However, Mr. Wilcox will be based in the USA due to family considerations but spend considerable time in India with Kingfisher Airlines. He will also be primarily responsible for Kingfisher’s International Operations planning in preparation for deliveries of new Airbus A-330, A-380 and A-350 Aircraft.

    Commenting on this, Alex Wilcox stated "I remain as excited about Kingfisher’s prospects in the aviation market as ever, and I am delighted to continue my association with the airline".

    The Nevada Secretary of State's office lists a filing date for the "Smooth Flight Holdings, Inc." entity of June 21, 2005. It lists a corporation service firm in Carson City, NV as the corporation's resident agent. It does not indicate Mr. Wilcox's current residence address.

    The July 15 letter from "Smooth Flight Holdings" seeking the commuter flight slots is addressed to LB Airport Manager Chris Kunze and lists the corporate entity's address in Henderson, NV. [Aug. 6 update: has posted all documents referenced in the story in pdf form on a link below.]

    On businesslike but plain, non-letterhead appearing white paper, the letter states in pertinent part:

    Dear Chris,

    Pursuant to City Council resolution No. C-27843 of May 15, 2001 and any subsequent revision thereof, Smooth Flight Holdings Inc. (SFHI) of Henderson Nevada hereby applies as a "proposed Indirect Commuter" Carrier for a "Conditional Allocation" of 22 commuter slots at Long Beach CA (LGB). SFHI is a new entrant and has never before applied for a slot of any kind at LGB.

    Attached please find a current letter of intent from Commutair, a certificated FAR part 121 scheduled Air Carrier certified by the United States Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration indicating their willingness to provide wet leased aircraft for the intended operations in conjunction with SFHI. The proposed aircraft to operate these slots are U.S. manufactured Raytheon Beechcraft 1900D models, each equipped with two Pratt & Whitney PT6 engines and certified with a maximum ramp weight of 17,230 lbs These aircraft operate well within the 75,000 lb commuter slot weight limit and well within the noise requirements of Long Beach Municipal Code Chapter 16.43 as amended.

    Other commuter aircraft are planned to be phased into the proposed service. Specific details of any other aircraft will be furnished to your good offices to ensure compatibility with the commuter air slot requirements and Chapter 16.43 prior to their entry into service of these slots.

    SFHI understands that the next allocation date for applications received by July 15 2005 shall be on or about August 1st 2005. Pursuant to the resolution, SFHI intends to convert any awarded conditional allocations into Final Allocations within 90 days of August 1st 2005 (or the slot allocation day if it is later) via the method described in the resolution. Subsequently, SFHI intends to perfect the Final Allocations of these commuter slots by commencing "service" of these commuter slots within 90 days of the final allocation date and by commencing "operations" of these commuter slots within 180 days of the final allocation date (words in quotations have the meaning given to them within the resolution).

    SFHI intends to be a credit to the Long Beach Airport, and will endeavor to provide a high quality product with by far the quietest aircraft to operate scheduled service at LGB with frequent and reliable service.

    Kind regards,

    s/ Alex Wilcox
    CEO, Smooth Flight Holdings Inc.

    By letter dated August 1, LB Airport Manager Chris Kunze replied in pertinent part:

    ...Prior to processing the Smooth Flight Holdings, Inc. (Smooth), request, please provide the following additional information:

    1) Flight Allocation Resolution C-28465 (enclosed), which supplanted Resolution C-27843 referenced in your letter, requires evidence that aircraft proposed for use will be able to conform to the City's Aircraft Noise Compatibility Ordinance. Regarding the Beech 19000, we have adequate operational/noise monitoring information in our ANOMS noise monitoring system to know that the aircraft would be able to comply. However, in discussions with you and as referenced in your letter, you plan to phase in other aircraft (we understand that likely to be the Bombardier Q400). We have no data on this aircraft, and the Resolution (pg. 6, Line 17) requires the applicant to "provide evidence demonstrating that the aircraft could and would operate at the Airport within the noise levels permitted by Chapter 16.43...". As such, please provide us with FAR Part 36 and/or other data for our review.

    2) As a matter of procedure and consistency, please provide a copy of Champlain Enterprise's FAR Part 121 operating certificate.

    3) It is our understanding that an Indirect Carrier is certified and regulated by the federal DOT. As such, and to document that Smooth Flight Holdings, Inc. is eligible to act as an Indirect Commuter Air Carrier, please provide us with proof of DOT certification/authorization for Smooth Flight Holdings, Inc. to perform in the capacity of an Indirect Commuter Carrier.

    Please be advised that we cannot deem Smooth's application complete until such time as the above mentioned information has been furnished.

    Thank you for your attention to these items. We will process your request, pursuant to the Resolution, as soon as we receive the above requested information.

    Yours truly,

    s/ Chris Kunze
    Manager, Long Beach Airport

    cc: Mike Mais, Assistant City Attorney was unable to reach Mr. Wilcox in preparing this article [we don't have a current contact number for him.]


    [Aug. 6 update] To view the documents referenced in this article in pdf form, click Smooth Flight application letter & LGB response.

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