Private Plane Cost per HourAircraft private costs per hour
Democratisation of commercial aviation: Air Surf, Wheels Up and ImagineAir
Avinode's Magnus Henriksson, Avinode's Senior Vice President Sales and Marketing, assesses three short-haul airlines in the United States - Surf Air, Wheels Up and ImagineAir - their efforts to democratize corporate air travel. They have different commercial operating systems, different geographic areas, different ways of operating their aircrafts and different customer groups.
But they all have one thing in common: they bring the corporate aerospace bandwagon to a new public at an "affordable" cost with unconventional fleets such as the King Air 350iER (Wheels Up), Pilatus PC-12 (Surf Air) and Cirrus SR-22s (ImagineAir).
Let us first look at the operator and their businesses: After the launch, the Wheels Up crew got to grips with the matter, and a steady stream of media release and messages flowed and the corporation seemed to be moving forward at the light of day. Today Wheels Up is still one of the hot issues in the city, but the number of media reports has decreased and the spotlight has become operative instead.
Wheels Up's mission is to offer both individual and corporate memberships to join the Wheels Up Club. Among other things, this member status allows customers to book their flights at a fixed price on a pay-as-you-fly contract by the hour.
Logically, the customer only has to pay for the on-board period (no position is calculated), which lowers the cost of using a corporate jet. At present, the current operational fee for the King Air plane is 3,950 US dollars per hour of flying. Recently, the organization has grown to 1000 members and currently operates 24 King Air 350i airplanes and has acquired the first nine of Textron Aviation's 10 tissue engineered citation excels.
Until the end of 2014 Wheels Up will run a 27 King Airs and 10 Citation Excel family. The planes are spread over three different areas, the northeast of the USA, the southeast and the western shore. SurFair is somewhere between an air carrier and a businessperson. Currently, it is operating a firm number of routings on a firm timetable (an airline-like model), but sells its products rather as a commercial air travel option.
Airplanes depart from small aerodromes where customers can leave their car directly in front of the door (a parking service will take charge of this) and board the plane to prevent queuing and problems with normal traffic. In addition to choosing your own itinerary, determining the times and buying the plane for yourself, Surf Myllykoski sells all the advantages of commercial flying.
Currently Surf Air has more than 900 members and 350 more are waiting for the delivery of more of them. Surf Air in August 2014 placed an order for up to 65 more PC-12s to be shipped over the next five years, 15 of which were fixed orders. The Surf Air is aimed at those commuting 2-6 hrs by air or travelling frequently between their scheduled destinations.
ImagineAir was founded in 2006 as a true one-way airport taxis carrier and provides its customers with a large pool of single-engine Cirrus SR-22s. ImagineAir is headquartered in Georgia to serve the southeastern United States. Customers do not re-position their planes, bookings can be made directly via the website and rebates are granted for one-day round trip flights.
Principal targets are travelers in the southeastern states who travel 3-8 hrs by automobile for pleasure and work. Commissioned in January 2014, wheel Up has expanded its footprint in the marketplace at a rapid pace. Departures with a 350i wheel-up king airliner rose from 144 in January 2014 to 961 in November 2014, an increase of 567 per cent. 3,000 passengers flew with the 350i.
Since reaching its highest level in August 2014 with 1,031 departures, however, activities in the fall have declined slightly, but overall flight operating times have risen. Flight activities have declined slightly since their high of 1,031 in August 2014, but overall flight hour numbers have risen.
In January 2014, the mean number of operatinghours per rear end will also rise continuously from around 20 operatinghours per rear end to the present figure of around 50 operatinghours per rear end and per months. For comparison, an avarage King Air 350 on a charters permit will take about 20 hrs per year. Assuming that Wheels Up positions about 25 percent (slightly lower than the sector mean due to the possibility to optimize fleets movements), this would mean that they have flown 895 sales hour in November, generating over $3.5 million in air revenues.
A Wheels Up King Air ride currently has an approximate 1 hour and 15 minute flying duration and an approximate 277 nm flying duration. As the Citation Excel has only been in use since June 2014, it is exempt from this review. Routing analyses of Wheels Up trip samples show no major surprise as transport is heavily focused on the three hub cities of Northeast, Southeast and California.
Figures show that ImagineAir operated 3,730 flight tickets in 2014 between January and November, an 20 percent rise over the same month last year. In the same time frame it has also increased its size of its fishing fleets, which has led to a slight reduction in annual averages per caudal hour.
However, ImagineAir uses an astonishing 41 hour per rear averaging, which is almost 100 percent more than other Cirrus SR-22s on charters, and in October and November 2014 between 50-60 hour per rear. ImagineAir has an ImagineAir flying duration of approximately 1 hour and 18 min and an AVR of 193 nm.
Because Surf Air operates on a set timetable and the underlying nature of the airline's approach is not based on the amount of time it spends on each tailored, the same kind of operative analytics would not give a deep insight. However, to give a few interesting facts, Surf Air operated an annual mean of 16 flight per night in the period January-June 2014, and from July this figure rose to almost 21 flight per night.
In the first place, it is important to recognise that all three are definitely innovators and that the airline sector should recognise its commitment to new distribution channels for the corporate aerospace franchise, especially as it appeals to a slightly new public. The ImagineAir is aimed at customers who want to substitute a 3-8 hour journey with the efficient flight of a plane.
Offers for this journey start at $1,199 (depending on when you want to depart) with a flying duration of 1 hour and 23 minutes. Given all the difficulties coming to and from the airports, you are most likely looking at a saving of somewhere between 2-3 hrs. of your journey. On the other side it is inexpensive enough to arouse interest and provide the products to a whole range of new customers who would not normally take advantage of commercial air travel.
Wheels Up plays in a different division with an introductory charge of $15,750, $7,250 per annum (from the second year on) and an hourly cost of $3,950 to join King Air. Wheels Up, on the other side, is probably a good choice for a person seeking full -service full member status and living in one of the company's geographic destinations.
To a person who works in the Paolo Alto area, who travels to LA on a weekly basis on a weekly basis and sometimes descends to their Santa Barbara beachside home, they are actually near the point of justifying the immediate cost of buying a Surf Air subscription for about $1,600 a month, and then we don't even take into account the added value of traveling and getting bothered by SFO and LAX.
The Wheels Up approach is a serious menace to both the formal charters provider and the factions, but is the firm democratizing the sector? Well, to reply to our questions, Wheels Up does a great job when it comes to brand-building and maybe even change in the sector. Whilst his approach poses a serious risk to both the normal charters provider and the factions, is the firm democratizing the sector?
Surf Air, which is neither an air carrier nor a commercial air carrier, makes it difficult to put them in a crate, but they definitely (at least) put 900 people off some of the advantages of using commercial air travel at a cost that you can actually directly warrant.
Our bottom line is therefore that Surf Air democratises corporate air travel - if that is the sector in which it really operates.