A Kinectair Charter Booking Network Will Be Ready For Electra's Estol Aircraft
The charter booking platform KinectAir plans to offer point-to-point regional air mobility services in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States using Electra's nine-passenger eSTOL aircraft. As part of the initial agreement announced on February 28, KinectAir plans to add up to 30 hybrid-electric short-takeoff-and-landing aircraft to a fleet owned by several of its operating partners.
KinectAir, based in Washington, will "facilitate" the purchase according to Electra, but the exact terms of the purchase were not disclosed. When delivered in 2027, KinectAir will distribute the aircraft among its FAA Part 135-certified operators.
With the KinectAir platform, a few commercial operators offer one-way and round-trip charter flights using Pilatus PC-12 turboprops and Diamond DA62 twin-engine twin-engine aircraft. Using its software, operators can maximize fleet utilization and offer competitive pricing to travelers, according to the company.
As part of its expansion plans, KinectAir also plans to add operators to its network in other parts of the United States and in Europe. A Part 135 air operator certificate is currently being sought by the company.
A 300-FOOT RUNWAY IS AVAILABLE FOR TAKEOFF AND LANDING
As a result of its exceptional short-takeoff performance, the Electra eSTOL model could offer charter operators and their customers more convenient route options. It is expected that the aircraft will be able to carry 2,500 pounds of freight and cruise at 175 knots with a range of approximately 400 nautical miles. With the blown-lift design, the manufacturer claims that it can access about 5,200 underutilized public airports in the U.S.
“Out of over 40,000 itineraries entered into our software, 83 percent of customers want to bypass the largest 30 airport hubs in order to use only point-to-point airport pairs,” Jonathan Evans, CEO of KinectAir, explained. “We have found that our customers book an average flight distance of 215 miles, so we know from our software data that the sweet spot for regional air mobility is between 100 and 300 miles.”
It is currently only possible to charter whole aircraft with Kinect Air. On regional flights, Electra eSTOL aircraft will be able to support on-demand per-seat bookings, enabling ridesharing. According to a NASA-funded study conducted by the Georgia Institute of Technology School of Aerospace Engineering in September 2022, if passengers could begin and end their journeys at nearby airports, they would travel over 100 miles in advance of other modes of transportation.
Letters of intent covering 1,200 aircraft with a list price of approximately $3 million have been received by Electra, which is close to starting flight tests on a two-seat technology demonstrator. Other prospective clients in the U.S., Latin America, Europe, Southeast Asia, and Australia include WeloJets, Bristow Group, Flyv, Ebird, Harbour Air, Tailwind Air, Ravn Alaska, MintAir, Events Air Cargo, Flapper, Yugo, Gold Aviation, Northwest Seaplanes, and the El Azufre resort.
According to the company's chief product officer, Marc Ausman, the hybrid-electric eSTOL aircraft will move people and cargo faster and cleaner than alternative means of transportation on regional routes. As part of KinectAir's extended regional air mobility network, we will work closely with Electra's eSTOL team to integrate it."
In 2021, KinectAir plans to sell fractional shares in the hybrid-electric aircraft family Cassio developed by VoltAero. An unspecified number of aircraft are included in this provisional agreement, and a commercial offering has been halted at this time. In Cassio, four to ten passengers could travel almost 700 miles at a top speed of 200 knots.