We have heard of yachts being named after people; even car lovers have a name for their beloved toys. However, have you ever wondered about the mysterious company "Janet Airlines?" Is it named after a person, or is it an acronym? Mystery surrounds everything regarding the airline, not just the name but also its flights. Whenever you hear someone say they cannot confirm or deny the existence of such an airline, your curiosity gets the better of you. So to answer some of the questions concerning Janet Airlines here is some information you will find valuable in dispelling the mystery.
The Origin of the Name
If you ask some people, they will tell you that JANET is an acronym for "Joint Air Network for Employee Transportation." Others believe it stands for "Just Another Non-Existent Terminal." However, those who do their homework know that the name can be traced back to Richard A. Sampson's wife, Janet. According to Roadrunners Internationale, Sampson was a senior security executive. He was born in 1927 and graduated from Michigan State University in 1951. His undergraduate degree in Police Administration led to him getting a job at the CIA, where he worked as a special agent, security officer, and Inspector. He rose the ranks to become the Area 51 test facility commander at Nevada's Groom Lake. He spent most of his free time at the facility, land sailing and collecting minerals and rocks. In 1971 when the facility needed to assign a call sign to the commuter flights ferrying workers between Burbank, Las Vegas, and Area 51, Sampson gave the call sign "Janet," his wife's name. Since then, it has stuck, becoming his most indelible mark that remained even after his passing in 1998. Still, as Aircraft Interiors International enlightens us, the name Janet is not recognized as one official denomination for the airline. It is, however, registered in the name of the US Air Force (USAF). The evidence that there is an airline that has white and red airplanes operating between Area 51 and the McCarran Airport in Las Vegas cannot be disputed. Nevertheless, the US Air Force spokesperson, Benjamin Newell, was adamant that the USAF could neither confirm nor deny the existence of such an airline or any other bearing similar characteristics.
What Kind of Planes Does it Operate?
Some of the characteristics that Newell could be speaking of include the red stripes on the white planes. The planes are mainly Boeing 737s that take off and land at the Las Vegas International Airport daily and have an exclusive terminal. Although Newell agreed that there were contracted flights to the test facility from Las Vegas, he could neither confirm nor deny the existence of such flights, especially to Area 51. However, the planes were not always Boeing 737s. Area 51 was established by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the 1950s. When the base was launched, it was a joint operation by the USAF and the CIA. The airport was used to test the Lockheed U-2, the most advanced reconnaissance aircraft, then. Later on, testing of the SR-71 Blackbird and Lockheed A-12 occurred there. The shuttle flights operated by USAF comprised mainly Douglas C-54 military prop planes, but when the employee shuttle operation was transferred to EG&G in 1971, the defense contractor changed the fleet to comprise Boeing 737-200s. According to Global Aviation Resource, EG&G transported employees with a single DC-6 in the early 1970s after being replaced by the Boeing 737-200s. The fleet grew to consist of five such aircraft which served the workers in the 1980s. In the 1990s, the fleet was replaced by similar aircraft; they were six planes, five of which were former USAF T-43 navigation trainers converted to passenger configurations. As of now, Janet Airlines consists of six Boeing 737-600s purchased second-hand from Air China; four of them were operated by China Southwest Airlines. The EG&G was later absorbed by the URS Corporation, which is now in charge of shuttle operations.
Who Can Fly and Work on It?
According to Counting Stars, the airline has been ferrying Air Force workers from the McCarran Airport to Groom Lake military base and Tonopah test range which are commonly referred to as Area 51 and Area 52, respectively. Only workers of the USAF are allowed to fly on the airline. Still, even access to the airline is prohibited unless you can satisfy strict requirements. First and foremost, you must hold US citizenship. They will also look into your background, searching for any criminal records, your income, and your work history. They even go as far as looking into your family and asking your neighbors and local police about you. As such, you can be assured that even stepping foot on the airline is impossible unless you have high-security clearance lest the heavily armed personnel manning the terminal throughout will prohibit you from accessing it.
The first-ever flight recorded from Las Vegas using Janet Airlines was in 1972. The planes are prioritized such that they are cleared of the entire runway, and any other plane must park to the left and allow Janet Airlines to fly first. Each flight ferries around 190 passengers, and in total, the planes can transport about 1200 people per day. It is hard to tell who is ferried because no names, markings, or numbers are used. You can only tell it is a Janet flight through the prefix "WWW" included in the flight number. Being employed by Janet Airlines is also a rigorous process. According to The Points Guy, one retired ex-USAF senior pilot with years of military and commercial experience and high-security clearance applied to become a pilot. Unfortunately, he could not get the job which makes you wonder what they seek in a potential candidate. Some sources say they will probe into your sexual behavior, security violations, financial considerations, personal conduct, drug involvement, among many other factors that can disqualify even those who appear to be highly qualified.
Written by Dana Hanson
Read more posts by Dana Hanson