Reader Mail : What’s The Deal With The Red Striped Planes In Vegas?

Today’s reader mail is one I received a while back … and as I glanced out the window upon landing at Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (LAS) yesterday, looking at the answer to the question, I figured this was the ideal time to answer this reader mail.

This week’s reader mail comes from Peter E. who asks, “I recently watched a few white Boeing 737s with a red stripe take off and land in Las Vegas. The planes have no markings and appear to not park at either the passenger terminals or the corporate jet terminals. So, what’s the deal with the red striped planes in Vegas?

Peter the answer to your question is both easy and complex … and these planes are in fact steeped in the lore surrounding Area 51 conspiracy theories.  The white Boeing 737-600s are refereed to “Janet Jets” or “Janet Airlines,” but technically have no airline name.  The name “Janet” comes from the radio call sign the aircraft use.

The actual origin of the name “Janet” is unknown (although I am sure someone somewhere knows the answer). Many people tend to half-joke that “Janet” stands for “Just Another Non Existent Terminal,†this is due to the destinations and mission of the Janet Jets.

While technically the missions of Janet Jets are classified, it is known that the aircraft ferry defense, CIA and military personnel from the company hub in Las Vegas to four primary locations. The locations are Groom Lake/Area 51, Tonopah Test Range/Area 52, China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station and Edwards Air Force Base, as well as other locations as needed. A typical five-day-a-week schedule for the Janet Jets is 20 round-trip flights per day, flying an estimated 1,500 passengers a day.

Ownership of the Janet Jets used to be spread out with a number of private aircraft leasing companies, however with the transition from 737-200 aircraft to 737-600 aircraft, all Janet Jets are now owned by the Department of the Air Force, registered to 6082 Fir Avenue, Building 1232, Hill Air Force Base, Utah, 84056 … however the aircraft are exclusively operated by the URS Corporation (formerly EG&G), a defense contractor.

It is believed the interiors of the Janet Jet 737-600s are fitted with 120 seats in a single class configuration.  All of the current Janet Jets aircraft began their service lives as commercial airliners for Chinese airlines.

Below is a photo of five of the aircraft in the Janet Jets fleet and a photo of two of the aircraft in the easy to spot White-and-Red-Strip livery.

Happy Flying!

a plane on the runway

a couple of airplanes on a runway


  1. David,

    I mentioned the Janet 732 Classics. Specifically I mention the 732s as having been registered to multiple private leasing companies and that with the transition to the 736 NextGet the Janet Jets were registered to the USAF and the T-43 is simply a USAF specific 732.

    Happy Flying!


  2. If you are an old timer, that redstripe looked familiar to me. The first user was the last livery of Western Airlines, sans the big red W taken off. Go look at the Western jets before they were acquired by Delta. I know a red stripe is a red stripe, but go back and check out a WAL livery and you’ll notice the way the stripe ended at the tails end.

  3. Lute,

    I loved the Western Airlines livery. The W with the long stripe. I used to watch Western’s 707s then DC-10s fly over my house as a kid on short final into JFK, before they’d park at Terminal 2. Later they became part of Delta and remained at Terminal 2 … but no longer as Western.

    Happy Flying!


  4. June 10, 2019 I was aboard Jet Blue Flight 359 from JFK to Burbank. As our plane was leaving Colorado airspace and entering Utah airspace (by the on board map), I happened to open the window and was shocked to see a Janet Airlines marked plane flying unbelievably close to us going left to right and just a little above our altitude, banking at a very steep angle, and rapidly gaining altitude. We were at 34,000 feet ourselves, and the 737 was quickly rising above us. The white plane with red stripe was showing a very long set of vapor trails. Plane was so close to us that I expected our pilot to make evasive maneuvers, but the Janet plane passed so quickly that nothing was done and our pilot made no comment. It was clearly a 737 being flown like it was an Air Force fighter jet. Scared the living daylights out of me.

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