Annapolis, Maryland-based aviation startup AeroVanti, which launched its membership-based private charter flight service last summer, has raised $9.75 million from investors to expand its business.
AeroVanti founder Patrick Britton-Harr, a pilot who knew mainstream charter and timeshare air travel companies were charging more than needed, has built the AeroVanti model to bring down the price to fly.
“It is really about being able to introduce the consumer to a palatable way to travel but not as costly as what other providers charge, like $6,400 an hour for a King Air 350,” Britton-Harr said. “We are at $2,495 per hour, and we fly 10,000 feet higher at 115 mph faster than those aircraft that are in the competition for us.”
The fleet includes fuel-efficient Piaggio P180 Avanti twin turboprop planes, an aircraft that is faster than other turboprops and many midsized private jets. It also includes Learjet 31 aircraft and a Gulfstream G3.
To make a profit, AeroVanti has several tiers of monthly membership fees. An individual membership is $1,000 a month. A family membership is $1,500 a month. A corporate membership is $2,500 a month.
The company generated $20 million in revenue in its first year, logging 2,000 flight hours, but is on track to reach 10,000 flight hours in the next 12 months. While it has 350 members now, its goal is 1,250 to 1,500 in the next year. Most of its customers are travelers who would normally spring for first-class commercial air travel.
“We have NFL players; we have celebrity chefs; we have professional golfers. We have parties that are businessmen and executives and all in between,” Britton-Harr said.
AeroVanti plans to double its fleet, which consists of 13 planes and a helicopter, and operates out of BWI Marshall Airport, Dulles Airport and small regional airports.
Private aviation is a good job for pilots.
“Most of our pilots are former military guys. We have a very strong pool of individuals who come from the Navy. Our chief operating officer is a former F-18 pilot,” Britton-Harr said.