A common sight at PHX, often seen on the Swift Air ramp.
These Boeings are used to transport sports teams and other special charters.

click on image below for larger image


N420US @ IWA

N458UW @ GYR

N440US

N418US


N737DX


N300VJ

N421US / N804TJ


N801TJ


N802TJ


N803TJ

 
N250MY


N802TJ-John McCain


N727NY 


N757BJ


N373PA


N513NA

By Craig Harris  The Arizona Republic  March 02, 2001  (SportsJet article from the AZ Republic Newspaper 3/2/01)

Looking for a competitive edge for his Phoenix Suns and Arizona Diamondbacks, owner Jerry Colangelo approached transportation mogul Jerry Moyes a few years ago with a proposition: Want to buy a team jet?

Moyes, a voracious competitor and multimillion-dollar investor in both clubs, agreed that a custom-made Boeing 737-400 would help the teams. Thus was born SportsJet, a joint venture between Moyes and the two clubs.

Since then, SportsJet has continued to expand.

Moyes, who owns Phoenix-based Swift Transportation, a trucking firm, bought a Boeing 757-200 and put it into service this year under SportsJet. With the expansion came four new customers: the Seattle Mariners, San Diego Padres, Utah Jazz and Phoenix Coyotes. Moyes is an investor in the Coyotes.

His firm also has flown rock star Bruce Springsteen and his band, the Texas Rangers and the Milwaukee Brewers.

Moyes does not comment much on SportsJet, citing a federal law that prohibits soliciting business under his type of operating license.

"It's an investment," he said.

Professional teams used to fly commercial airlines many years ago, but began leasing or buying charter jets in the late 1980s, said Rich Dozer, president of the Diamondbacks. Only a few still fly commercial jets.

Steve Kasteler, SportsJet's vice president of aircraft management, said at least 10 other NBA teams, including the Portland Trail Blazers, Dallas Mavericks and Detroit Pistons, have their own jets.

"Some say owning your own plane is the difference in winning one or two games (on the road)," Kasteler said.

He said the teams arrive to venue cities sooner and get more rest, which allows them to perform better athletically.

"In the playoffs, having home-court or home-ice advantage can come down to one or two games. It's a big, big issue," Kasteler said.

SportsJet allows teams to outsource the travel without turning to airlines and their complicated scheduling.

The Mariners, who travel 50,000 miles a year, said they went with SportsJet because they wanted a reliable carrier to provide coast-to-coast travel.

"In the last two years, we have used six or seven airlines," said Ron Spellecy, the Mariners' travel director. "You mix and match . . . and you get what everybody else gets."

Judy Adams, director of travel for the Jazz, said Utah struck a deal because SportsJet would agree to a long-term deal and promised to have a jet available for the playoffs. SportsJet also was less expensive than the team's previous carrier, Classic Limited Air in Van Nuys, Calif., Adams said.

But it's not cheap. The cost is roughly $15,000 or more an hour, and the Mariners are paying $1.8 million for the service. Other teams declined to reveal what they pay.

Moyes' latest Boeing jet is coming on line as he expands another aviation firm he owns, Swift Air. The company, which caters to corporate executives, has nine corporate jets and at least 50 more on order.

The Boeing jets are white with purple and black trim, and they have leather first-class-style seats, while some have nearly 5 feet of leg room. The 737, which has a mahogany wood interior and individual TV sets, can accommodate 72 passengers. The 757, meanwhile, can take 106 passengers, and it has a wireless audio system. Both have a mechanic on every flight, and SportsJet has 34 flight attendants and 18 pilots under contract.

Dottie Sidabras, a flight attendant who lives in Gilbert, said even though the jets are spacious, the players still like to sit together and some teams prefer the smaller 737.

The jets also have electrical and phone outlets for computers and fax machines and are equipped with tables to handle a preflight spread of fresh fruit, vegetables, hot wings and barbecue. A recent in-flight meal consisted of gourmet hot dogs, chicken sandwiches, pasta, salad, filet mignon and hot-fudge sundaes.

"It (the jet) is nothing short of luxurious," said Bryan Colangelo, general manager of the Suns. "You try to compete with other organizations in your respective leagues and providing your players with the best amenities possible."




Go to  page top                Go to Site Index