The secret airline you’ve perhaps seen but never heard of much…

One might have perhaps, seen it fly out of the McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, or even to the more mysterious Area 51 in the USA. Those planes in red and white livery are apparently 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 to Special Access Facilities (SAPF).

Reportedly, the planes communicate with McCarran Departure Control using specific call signs on take-off and switch frequencies and call signs once they cross Area 51 airspace.

Area 51 | Representative | WIRED

Janet, sometimes also called as Janet Airlines, is the unofficial name given to it by those who have investigated it for decades.

The fleet’s “Janet” call sign is said to stand for “Just Another Non-Existent Terminal” or “Joint Air Network for Employee Transportation.

From the vault

If you go back in history, there seems to be some sort of connection between the October 2017 Las Vegas shooting massacre and a classified “Janet” operations- In addition to targeting the concertgoers, the gunman had also targeted aviation fuel tanks at the nearby Harry Reid International Airport- suggesting a possible relation between the two.

Janet Airlines made its maiden flight in 1972.

News from the Couch

Very little is known about the organisation and its operations due to the airline’s secretive nature.

It is operated for the USAF by infrastructure and defence 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 to be able to obtain a security clearance. More recently, AECOM has posted similar openings.

Shrouded in secrecy

They are touted to have six Boeing 737-600s, two Beechcraft 1900s, and three Beechcraft 200Cs. The fuselages have been spotted in white colour and a red stripe throughout its length.

If reports are anything to go by, the Boeing 737-600 aircraft originally belonged to Air China’s fleet except 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.

Representative | Area 51 Miscellaneous

Reportedly, everyone who has access to Janet, including flight attendants and pilots is said to receive highly secret security clearances. Reportedly, the application process is daunting, requiring the applicants to divulge the tiniest of details.

After careful scrutiny of their personal lives, the final step of the hiring comes down to a polygraph test.

Janet airlines boards at a special part of Harry Reid International Airport. They board planes at the airport’s west side, next to the Janet Airlines passenger parking lot. There is also a small terminal building for passengers.

According to a published report by Popular Mechanics, the terminal’s parking lot fills up with hundreds of cars every day and by evening, the entire lot is empty.

Janet Airlines combines two aspects of US intelligence which have been little investigated. On the one hand, there is the logistics aspect. A large part of the intelligence force in the United States can be attributed to the power of its logistics, and I am referring to those who are dedicated to transporting personnel, making communications secure or install safe houses all over the world

 said Joseph Fitsanakis, professor of Intelligence and National Security Studies of the Coastal Carolina University of South Carolina
Joseph Fitsanakis | Rieas

Area 51, located in Nevada, is notorious for conspiracy theories surrounding US government activities and extra-terrestrial life. As spooky as it may sound, every time Janet flies over Area 51 airspace, it reportedly switches off tracking and communication transponders. Apparently, it also flies to other destinations where it doesn’t switch off the transponders.


The airspace-Airspace 4808 North-is one of the most highly protected in the world and military fighter jets are authorized to shoot down any trespassers. Janet however, has a free pass, in and out.

Representative | Quora

From what is known, Janet has only one mission – to transport personnel from the Las Vegas airport to the Nevada test grounds, which are supervised by the United States Department of Energy.

This is because the DOE is in charge of any facility in which to carry out tests with nuclear material. The terminal where Janet Airlines operates is always full, and all these people are not just Air Force personnel. Many DOE scientists are transported to the test fields. The DOE works surrounded by secrets, as evidenced by the fact that so little is known about Nevada’s proving grounds, which were under its supervision from the outset, just like the nuclear programs

Says Fitsanakis
Janet Airlines Boeing 737-600 [N288DP] Takeoff from LAS to Area 51 |
LAX Videography and Spotting

In the history of its operations up until today, Janet has recorded only one accident, when in 2004 the aircraft crashed as it approached Tonopah Test Range after the pilot had a heart attack. Nobody survived.


COVER: Wikipedia