There is good news for Australian air travellers. Aviation startup Airly is wooing commercial service passengers with unlimited flights from Sydney to Melbourne. The marketing pitch is that it will be like flying in one’s own private plane at a fraction of the cost compared to commercial airlines.
After the unlimited flights between Sydney’s Bankstown Airport and Melbourne’s Essendon Airport, Airly will offer flights to Canberra from Sydney and Melbourne, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.
Among Airly’s attractions are — smaller aircraft, smaller airports, faster transit times and a fixed monthly budget with the option to fly unlimited. The unlimited flights will be for $2550 a month.
According to the startup, enough members have already signed up for the scheme and they are ready for takeoff: “We are probably aiming for the third quarter of the calendar year for the first flight,” co-founder Luke Hampshire said.
Unlike the conventional ticketing model, the Airly service will have a membership model. Members can join for $1000 and there will be a monthly subscription of $2550.
The launch is slightly delayed as Airly is looking to raise capital and will be scouting for more aircraft operators. Three operators for the chartered flights with a license for regular public transport services are being searched, Hamshire added.
Airly has also tied up with start-ups like Uber, Deliveroo, and Vinomofo to enhance the food, beverage, and ground transport services.
According to analysts, Airly’s business model is akin to Surf Air of California. Though it worked in the US, sceptics in the airline industry have doubts on the success of the business model.
Already the flight frequency between Sydney and Melbourne is too high. Also, the Bankstown Airport is a bit far from the CBD compared to the Sydney Airport. Business passengers are also considered loyal to Qantas and Virgin Australia for their perks including lounges.
However, Thomas Mahon, the Melbourne-based CEO of the promotions firm, Peazie sees opportunity as economy class flight in commercial airlines is becoming hard for many passengers.
“Anything that makes it a more convenient experience without blowing the budget is worth consideration,” he said.
According to reports, the aviation startup will induct Beechcraft King Air 350 aircraft having eight leather club seats.
According to a report in The Conversation, Airly is ahead in marketing with perceived savings of average two hours per round trip without the hassles of long queues, car parks, and crowds.
It also said passengers will have “every needs” met. In the case of lavatory needs, it will be slightly sketchy, despite a belted lavatory of the Airly aircraft. Passengers will be better off if they can use the loo at the airports.