The secretive airline tasked with ferrying government employees into and out of the nation’s most secretive military installation is now hiring flight attendants that can carry Top Secret clearances, potentially supporting claims that the base itself is expanding.
Although the secretive government facility in Nevada’s dry Groom Lake bed, known colloquially as Area 51, is most commonly associated with stories about flying saucers and little green men, the government has acknowledged in recent decades that it was actually the site responsible for testing some of the most advanced aircraft to ever take to the skies. The U-2, SR-71, F-117 and many others can all trace their airborne lineage back to the remote air strip deep in the Nevada desert, and recent satellite imagery has shown that the legendary base has recently seen expansion.
A new hanger and cleaned up airstrip on the grounds of Area 51 would seem to indicate plans to test a new large airframe – one that couldn’t be supported in the base’s existing structures, leading some to postulate that the Air Force may be gearing up to test the forthcoming B-21 Raider, a new stealth bomber platform based on the previous B-2 design. Others have wondered if the SR-72, rumored to be Mach-6 capable craft via newly developed scramjets, may also be slated to see testing at the isolated base, once a prototype is operational.
An estimated 1,000 to 1,500 government employees and military personnel work on the base each day, though if you were to set up surveillance on the nearby roads, you’d never know it. Despite the base bustling with activity, not a single car ever enters or exits the remote location – instead, every employee flies in and out of work aboard plain-looking airplanes from McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas.
JANET Airlines, as they’re called, operates a small fleet of Boeing 737-600 jets with their own terminal at McCarran. The planes, which sport no airline name or logo, are fairly easy to pick out of a crowd thanks to their white paint adorned with a telltale red stripe down the side. JANET also operates two Beechcraft 1900s and three Beechcraft 200Cs, also painted white, but dressed up with blue stripes rather than red.
JANET, which is rumored to stand for “Just Another Non-Existent-Terminal,” but may actually be an acronym for “Joint Air Network for Employee Transportation,” is operated by defense contractor AECOM, who recently posted a listing on their website for flight attendants to work aboard these secretive flights. Along with the normal requirements expected of any flight attendant, however, these positions also require that candidates qualify for not only a Top Secret security clearance, but potentially whether even further scrutiny based on the geographical requirements of the position. In other words, JANET staff may be subjected to more thorough vetting than the president’s national security advisors, all to serve coffee to morning commuters.
While it’s possible that AECOM may simply be filling roles left vacant by former employees, this is the first time the airline has publicly solicited for applications for this specific role. That could mean it isn’t a matter of replacing a few quitters, but rather staffing for an expansion in flights – which could support the idea that the base is ramping up to begin Raider testing. The page does not indicate how many openings they hope to fill.
If you think you have what it takes to be the world’s most secretive flight attendant, you can apply for a role here.
Featured image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons