Air Taxi Startup Point2Point Suspends Ops

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Point2Point, the regional air-taxi service based in North Dakota, has suspended operations, The Associated Press reported on Wednesday. The company had shown exponential growth in several quarters last year, and last July, at AirVenture, had placed an order for up to 100 Diamond aircraft, including DA42 Twin Stars and D-Jets. Company founder John Boehle told AVweb in an e-mail on Wednesday that the company's main problem was that revenues fell over the winter due to "the inability of P2P to reliably dispatch aircraft due to inclement winter flying conditions." Boehle said he had hoped that adding DA42 Twin Stars to his Cirrus SR22 fleet would address the airline's winter dispatch deficiencies in the Upper Great Plains. "We recognized early on the need to address the question of winter reliability with an all-weather/low-cost aircraft to supplement the very capable Cirrus SR22," Boehle said. "However, delays in the FAA's certification of the Diamond DA42 for air carrier operations and for flight into known icing conditions combined to impede Point2Point's ability to effectively address winter weather flying constraints on service availability to customers." Boehle said the airline is engaged in a "corporate and capital restructuring process" and is seeking new backers. "Point2Point's commercial air carrier certificate and top-flight operations team offer tremendous value to investors in the market for such an opportunity," he told AVweb.

The city of Bismarck had given the company a federal grant of $1.25 million to start the service in 2005. Other charter operators in the state were critical of the government-subsidized airline from the start, saying it duplicated existing service but at taxpayer expense, the Associated Press said. Paul Vetter, general manager of Executive Air Taxi Corp. in Bismarck, told the AP that Point2Point's choice of airplanes shows the company didn't understand the airline business in North Dakota. "The airplanes they chose are great airplanes, they just have their limitations," Vetter said. "If you pick an aircraft, at least pick one that's compatible with our weather conditions."