Annapolis private flight startup lands $100 million

AeroVanti Club, a private aviation membership startup that thinks private charter flights cost more than they should, has secured new outside investment for up to $100 million to fund expansion of its aircraft fleet.

The funding was led by Lafayette Aircraft Leasing. AeroVanti, with headquarters in Annapolis, Maryland, and Sarasota, Florida, said it will allow the company to rapidly scale for customer demand. The first new aircraft addition to its fleet, an Embraer Penom 100, has already been delivered.

AeroVanti raised $9.5 million for expansion in August.

AeroVanti, led by Patrick Britton-Harr, tries to address high charter flight costs by using more efficient planes and offering members several tiers of monthly membership fees, ranging from $1,000 a month to $2,500 a month, in addition to hourly flight costs, which average $2,495 compared to the private charter average of $6,400 an hour.

The timeshare rates paid are direct reimbursements for costs including fuel, crew, fees and taxes. There are no initiation fees.

Its fleet includes Piaggio P180 twin turboprop planes that are faster than other turboprops and many midsized private jets. They fly 10,000 feet higher and 115 mph faster than aircraft in its class.

The company had $20 million in revenue in its first year, logging 2,000 flight hours, and is on track to reach 10,000 flight hours within the next 12 months. It has about 350 members currently with a goal of 1,500 in the next year. It has said its typical customer is a traveler who would normally fly first-class on a commercial airliner.

It says it has experienced 400% growth since launching a little more than a year ago.

AeroVanti currently operates routes in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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