Will Air Taxis Fly With Joe Public?
SATSair and Linear Air believe that they have proven the air-taxi model using the Cirrus SR22 and Cessna Caravan, respectively. "Air taxis are a big opportunity," Bill Herp, Linear Air's president and CEO, said at the Business Models for VLJs and Light Jets Conference in West Palm Beach, Fla. SATSair President and CEO Steve Hanvey, among other panelists, also shared Herp's gushing enthusiasm during a forum on how to make money with very light jets. Because of "air cab" services like SATSair, "more people can now use aviation" to get to their destination, noted Hanvey. While air taxis do provide an option to connection-laden airline flights or long car drives, the thought of flying in small airplanes simply scares some people. This fear presents a roadblock to the air-taxi industry, though Herp and Hanvey believe this barrier can be overcome by educating customers. "We need to engage a change in thinking," Hanvey pointed out. He further said the emergency parachute recovery system on the SR22 is a major influence in tipping people in favor of flying SATSair. Hanvey says customers "enjoy the experience in the Cirrus," and a number of customers have told him, "I never knew I could do business that way." In fact, one customer told Hanvey that two technologies have made his business possible -- "the Internet and SATSair."