Written By: Frederic Lardinois | Date: June 21, 2022 | TechCrunch
Chartering a private plane is never going to 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 become cheaper. AeroVanti Air Club, which is announcing a $9.75 million Series A fundraising round led by Network1 Financial Securities, is betting on the rather distinct Piaggio P.180 Avanti turboprop (you can see where the company name comes from), to offer lower hourly rates for its club members.
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 set you back. 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, one 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 Italy-built plane with its distinct stabilizers at the nose can seat seven passengers and fly at up to 370 miles per hour. That’s slower than most jets, something worth keeping in mind for a service where you pay by the hour, but comparable to other two-engine turboprops. Britton-Harr, who is a pilot himself and also the CEO of AMS Onsite and Coastal Laboratories, says that his family actually first bought a Piaggio for private use.