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Richmonders Put MAXjet on the Map


The Richmond investors include former Pittston Co. Chief Executive Joseph Farrell; CCA Industries investors Beverley "Booty" Armstrong and William H. Goodwin Jr.; former Reynolds Metals Chief Executive Jeremiah Sheehan; and CarMax chairman Richard L. Sharp.

Together, the men put up more than half of the $15 million in start-up capital to get MAXjet off the ground. (And, no, MAXjet won't be flying out of Richmond International Airport anytime soon.)

Business has begun to pick up of late. MAXjet recently gained attention because it was able to gain customers in the wake of a foiled terrorism plot to blow up planes flying from the United Kingdom to the United States in August. Because MAXjet carries fewer passengers and doesn't offer economy class, it's made better use of the "fast-track" security system available to only business- and first-class passengers.

MAXjet is essentially a low-cost business carrier. The 767s are reconfigured to carry fewer passengers (102 seats), creating more room with plush leather seats and full-course meals. With a focus on solely business class, MAXjet's also able to offer considerably lower prices than the major airlines, averaging under $2,000 per round trip.

For the Richmond investors, it's so far, so good.

Gary Rogliano, MAXjet's chief executive, remembers getting the call in February 2005 from his former boss, Pittston's Farrell. Rogliano, formerly chief financial officer at Pittston, says that Farrell jokingly told him he had two hours to decide whether to accept the job. A few days later, he began commuting from his 230-acre home in Goochland County to Dulles International Airport.

"I could see a lot of opportunity and advantages," Rogliano says, adding that MAXjet offers prices that are 50 to 75 percent lower than the major airlines. "It's a market that's underserved." S

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