Chartering a private jet will never be cheap, no matter how many startups have promised to make it more affordable over the years. But that doesn’t mean it can’t get cheaper. AeroVanti Air Club, announcing a $9.75 million Series A fundraising round led by Network1 Financial Securities, is betting on the rather distinct turboprop Piaggio P.180 Avanti (you can see where the name of the company), to offer lower hourly rates for members of his club.
Membership fees start at $1,000 per month for an individual membership, $1,500 per month for a family membership, and $2,500 for corporate memberships. Hourly rates start at $2,495, about half of what even the most affordable WheelsUp flight will cost you. There are no repositioning fees.
In addition to the nine P.180s that make up the core of its fleet, the company also has three Learjet 31s, a Gulfstream G3 and an MD 600N helicopter. Having a helicopter in its fleet is also a bit unusual, but AeroVanti CEO and founder Patrick Britton-Harr notes that it will allow the company to fly passengers from Miami to the Florida Keys or from Boston to Martha’s Vineyard.
The P.180 is an interesting choice. The Italian-built plane with its distinct nose stabilizers can seat seven passengers and fly up to 370 miles per hour. It’s slower than most jets, which is worth bearing in mind for a service where you pay by the hour, but comparable to other twin-engine turboprops. Britton-Harr, who is himself a pilot and also CEO of AMS Onsite and Coastal Laboratories, says his family first bought a Piaggio for private use.
“It’s on. It’s light. It’s fuel efficient and has a remarkable range,” he told me when I asked him why he chose this plane. carbon footprint of its competitors while outperforming them. It is one of the fastest aircraft in its class, beating the King Air 350 and 360, and is 185 km/h faster than the Super King Air 200, despite being powered by the same engines. It’s also incredibly fun to fly.
In March, AeroVanti acquired Marjet Aviation, a small single-plane operator based in Arizona, for its Part 135 certificate. According to the company, this has helped it improve its operations and expand its staff and roster of pilots. .
“We’re in growth mode,” Britton-Harr said. “This increase will fund maintenance centers so that we can become a full MRO [maintenance, repair, and overhaul center]. We are also strengthening our customer service team, further expanding our fleet and considering strategic M&A activity. »
He noted that company members currently include NFL players, C-Suite executives and occasional families traveling to Disney World. “What they have in common is an appreciation for value. You have many options when it comes to flying private. But we’re the only ones who can get you there safer, faster, safer. flying 10,000 feet higher with all the conveniences and luxuries you expect from charter aviation for half the price,” he said.
The private aviation market was stimulated at the start of the pandemic and this demand remains stable. Once you’ve had a taste of private aviation, that first-class United seat from Newark to Miami suddenly doesn’t seem so good, especially given the general turmoil in the airline industry right now.