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 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.
|Commenced operations||March 1972|
Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
|Hubs||McCarran International Airport|
|Parent company||Department of the Air Force|
|Headquarters||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
The airline's aircraft are generally unmarked, but do have a red paint strip along the windows of the aircraft, which gives some sort of hint at Janet being the operator.
The fleet's "Janet" call sign is said to stand for "Just Another Non-Existent Terminal", "Joint Air Network for Employee Transportation", or a combination of two acronyms JAN (Joint Army Navy) & ET (Extra Terrestrial).
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.
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. 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. More recently, AECOM has posted similar openings.
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.
Janet flights operate with a three-digit flight number and a WWW-prefix. In the official publication of ICAO airline codes, this specific three-letter designator is listed as being blocked. The official airline callsign is simply Janet. However, the airline 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”.
Due to the secrecy of the airline, Janet Airlines uses special codes for their destinations. They use this to mask the destination. KTKM[further explanation needed] 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:
|Air Force Plant 42||Station 1|
|Palmdale Regional Airport||Station 1|
|Groom Lake||Station 3|
|Tonopah Test Range Airport||Station 7|
|McCarran International Airport||Station 9|
Janet destinations, mostly military, include:
Along with these destinations, there have been reports of Janet Airlines filing flight plans to many other airports.
As of mid-2015, the Janet fleet 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. 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. Together with the other 737-200s, it was sent to AMARG at Davis–Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona for storage.
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.
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.
|Type||Serial number||Tail number||C/N||Owner||Notes||Refs|
|Boeing 737-66N||28649||N319BD||887||United States Department of the Air Force|||
|Boeing 737-66N||28650||N869HH||932||United States Department of the Air Force|||
|Boeing 737-66N||28652||N859WP||938||United States Department of the Air Force|||
|Boeing 737-66N||29890||N273RH||1276||United States Department of the Air Force|||
|Boeing 737-66N||29891||N365SR||1294||United States Department of the Air Force|||
|Boeing 737-66N||29892||N288DP||1305||United States Department of the Air Force|||
|Beechcraft 1900||UB-42||N20RA||—||United States Department of the Air Force|||
|Beechcraft 1900C||UC-163||N623RA||—||United States Department of the Air Force|||
|Beechcraft B200C||BL-54||N654BA||—||United States Department of the Air Force|||
|Beechcraft B200C||BL-61||N661BA||—||United States Department of the Air Force|||
|Beechcraft B200C||BL-62||N662BA||—||United States Department of the Air Force|||
|Type||Serial number||Tail number||C/N||Owner||Fate||Retired||Refs|
|Beechcraft 1900C||UB-37||N27RA||—||United States Department of the Air Force||Crash||16 March 2004|||
|Boeing 737-275||20785||N4529W||335||United States Department of the Air Force||Retired||7 November 2008|||
|Boeing 737-253||20694||N5294M||343||United States Department of the Air Force||Retired||26 January 2009|||
|Boeing 737-253||20693||N5177C||340||United States Department of the Air Force||Retired||6 March 2009|||
|Boeing 737-253||20691||N5294E||337||United States Department of the Air Force||Retired||17 April 2009|||
|Boeing 737-253||20692||N5176Y||339||United States Department of the Air Force||Retired||17 July 2009|||
|Boeing 737-253||20689||N5175U||334||United States Department of the Air Force||Retired||10 August 2009|||
|McDonnell Douglas DC-6B||S60A-3079||N6583C||—||EG&G||Retired||October 1981|||
|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.||16 March 2004, 04:01||5/5|||
- "N5177C (1974 BOEING 737-200 owned by DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE) Aircraft Registration ✈ FlightAware". FlightAware.
- "Janet Airline / EG&G". Retrieved 21 September 2010.
- "Audio Clips of Janet Radio Traffic". Retrieved 1 November 2010.
- Presenters: Bill Birnes, Kevin Cook and Pat Uskert (25 February 2009). "Area 51 Revealed". UFO Hunters. History Channel.
- Gillett, Rachel (8 January 2018). "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 24 September 2019.
- Fears, Danika (5 October 2017). "Vegas maniac may have targeted classified government-run airline's fuel tanks". New York Post. Retrieved 29 December 2017.
- "The Janet Fleet". Retrieved 21 September 2010.
- Contractflygirl.blogspot.com – archived copy of URS Corporation job opening.
- Archive.org – Archived copy of AECOM Corporation job opening.
- "Map and Aerial Photo of the Las Vegas Janet Terminal". dreamlandresort.com. Dreamland Resort. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
- Flightaware.com – WWW224, page retrieved 21 February 2013
- ICAO Document 8585, Section 3: Three-Letter Designators.
- "Janet Schedule & Destinations". www.dreamlandresort.com. Dreamland Resort. Retrieved 3 October 2010.
- "N654RA - Beeach 1900C - Flightradar24". flightradar24.com. Flightradar24. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
- "N623RA - Beeach 1900C - Flightradar24". flightradar24.com. Flightradar24. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
- "N632RA Live Flight Tracking and History (B190 owned by DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE)". flightaware.com. Flight Aware. Retrieved 7 March 2019.
- "Janet Flight Schedules". dreamlandresort.com. Dreamland Resort. Archived from the original on 4 April 2007. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
- Krum, Collin. "America's Secret Airline Flies Non-Stop To Area 51". Jalopnik. Retrieved 29 December 2017.
- Rainer Bexten – Airliners.net – Aerial photo taken at Davis–Monthan Air Force Base. Photo from 29 February 2012.
- Flightaware.com – Delivery flight of N288DP. Page retrieved 21 February 2013.
- Ranter, Harro. "ASN Aircraft accident Beechcraft 1900C N27RA Tonopah-Test Range Airport, NV (XSD)". aviation-safety.net.
- 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.
- Krum, Collin (13 August 2015). "America's Secret Airline Flies Non-Stop To Area 51". Jalopnik. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
- "The Janet Fleet". dreamlandresort.com. Dreamland Resort. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
- "Janet Tail Numbers". dreamlandresort.com. Dreamland Resort. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
- "ASN Beech 1900C N27RA crash". aviation-safety.net. Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Janet (airline).|