Who Will Next Run The JANET 737s For The U.S. Air Force?

By Spyros Georgilidakis | November 10, 2023

The United States Air Force is looking for someone to manage JANET, the airline that flies people in and out of Area 51 – among other places.

A ‘JANET’ 737-600. Photo: InSapphoWeTrust, CC BY-SA 2.0

Anything that has to do with Area 51 is drawing people’s attention. To some, the place is all about alien technology and other secret stuff. To many others, it’s about developing exciting new but secret military aircraft and related equipment – and the study of similar stuff that folks in other countries have developed.

But whether or not it features “little green men,” this place involves some real-world logistical challenges. Namely, how do you get potentially hundreds of people in and out of there every day, to work at… stuff? Driving there and back might be an option, in theory. But the U.S. Air Force didn’t really want to build an entire secret town near there.

Who Will Next Run The JANET 737s For The U.S. Air Force?
Photo: EricSerge, CC BY-SA 3.0

So the Air Force is flying people to this and other sensitive locations from Las Vegas – and that’s where JANET comes in. The name “JANET” is really just a callsign, which has understandably been interpreted as various acronyms. “Joint Air Network for Employee Transportation” is one option, but it’s not funny enough, for most. “Just Another Non-Existent Terminal” seems better. Maybe.

The Air Force and JANET Operators

Over the years, the U.S. Air Force has relied on several operators to run JANET, but each one evolved to the next. The names started with EG&G (Edgerton, Germeshausen & Grier). This company also offered other technical services to the Air Force, in various sites north of Las Vegas.

Who Will Next Run The JANET 737s For The U.S. Air Force?
Photo: Twistedpictures1, CC BY-SA 3.0

Over time, EG&G and its descendants underwent multiple acquisitions and mergers. So over the years, the JANET operator for the Air Force had names like URS, AECOM, and most recently, Amentum.

But apparently, it’s time for a change. The Air Force is reportedly looking for someone else to run JANET. Presently, the JANET fleet consists of six Boeing 737-600s and five Beechcraft King Airs. All aircraft reportedly belong to the Air Force but have civil registrations.

Before the 737-600s, JANET used to run 737-200s. Photo: Eddie Maloney, CC BY-SA 2.0

The Air Force is requesting information on possible bids, to operate and maintain this fleet, with most of the focus understandably involving the 737s. This gives some details, like the typical distances that its flights may cover, and the frequency of the operations.

The Air Force wants the new JANET operator to perform up to 190 flights per week – although that number may need to go higher. It will be interesting to see who the new operator might be. The low-profile nature of JANET means that it rarely publishes job openings for employees. So a change of the operator itself is more than a little unusual.


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