Air Taxi Service

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by AggieMike88, Sep 1, 2015.

  1. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    Why aren't there more Air Taxi Service businesses?

    Why do we not see Part 135 ops doing more small SEL aircraft shuttling customers around smaller regions?

    Lack of demand? Too high of an operating cost? Pressure from the 121's?

    Since getting my PPL, I've had several friends of the family ask if I could shuttle them to "inconvenient to drive" destinations and bring them back. I decline of course since I don't have a CPL. But it has me thinking there is enough demand out there that a small well run aviation company could make something of the Air Taxi business.
     
  2. EdFred

    EdFred Taxi to Parking

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    $$$

    Tell them what it costs/flight and they won't ask even if you said yes.
     
  3. bnt83

    bnt83 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    15 years ago when gas was cheap my local guys said about $2 per mile one way and no extended layover
     
  4. ejensen

    ejensen Pattern Altitude Gone West

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    I've met a couple of single pilot/single 135 operators. They said it wasn't bad but to add another plane/pilot raised the cost/hassle by several orders of magnitude. One flew contract missions with Fish/Game, Parks, Forestry. The other flew rodeo cowboys around Wyoming.
     
  5. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Cost of insurance and time it takes to get a new 135 certificate approved has a lot to do with it.

    The Richmond FSDO, for example, currently is averaging around 2 years to complete the processing for a new 135 certificate.
     
  6. bnt83

    bnt83 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    I think insurance would be the biggest ongoing hurdle. Big $$$$ premiums due to the increased risk of an accident.


    Compare that to light corporate jets and I would think the jet would actually cost about the same to insure being the likelihood of an accident is much less.
     
  7. James331

    James331 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    If you have a nitch market, there's is money to be made.

    That said, between the scum bag over priced and under delivering insurance co.s and our 800lb gorilla of bureaucracy, offering a wanted flight service for a good profit turns into more headache than it's worth for most folks.
    :dunno:
     
  8. James331

    James331 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Many folks buy existing 135 certs


    http://www.sellpart135.com/Pages/default.aspx
     
  9. mryan75

    mryan75 Cleared for Takeoff

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    I asked my instructor the same thing after I got my PPL. His response: "You want to know how to make a million dollars with a charter service? Start with $3 million. By the end you might have a million left."
     
  10. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Too many hoops to jump through,trying to get a 135 cert. is a big deal, not much of a customer base for small single engine aircraft.
     
  11. Bonchie

    Bonchie Cleared for Takeoff

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    Clearly people make it work, specifically in Alaska.

    But in the lower 48, there may just not be enough demand. If there was less regulation to get through and insurance wasn't so much, it might be a different story.
     
  12. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    Wow... wasn't aware of the time line on that. What makes it take that long?
     
  13. bnt83

    bnt83 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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  14. EdFred

    EdFred Taxi to Parking

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    It's called Moving at the Speed of Government.
     
  15. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Lots of paperwork involved with limited personnel to do it.

    Keep in mind, that is just the current average for the Richmond FSDO. Others may have shorter timelines, but still takes a while.
     
  16. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Ask Ourplane or DayJet that question. While the economy was a reason for folding up, operating costs is what ultimately did them in.
     
  17. petrolero

    petrolero Pattern Altitude

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    You don't need a CPL for what you described as long as those folks aren't paying you more than their pro rata share, etc.

    If it's an impromptu request and you're not holding out your services as a pilot then it's not commercial and you would not get in any trouble. If they were asking you to do it on a regular basis then it's dicey, but a one-off trip once in a while is not a problem to my understanding.

    If the definition of a commercial flight has to do with who had the idea first then we're all screwed. As long as the flight is something you might do anyway - and you're not making some kind of scheduled thing of it - you're fine.

    Say a guy wants me to run him up to Casper, WY for a meeting (his purpose). I say 'sure, that sounds like fun as long as we each pay half the costs' - I've not been there and I can see the beautiful town of Casper ( :wink2: ). If that is going to run me afoul of the regs then I'm probably already afoul of them.
     
  18. N747JB

    N747JB Final Approach

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    First a 135 operation is expensive to run. But, I think the biggest obstacle is usage, to make money with any airplane it needs to be flown regularly. Also you have to have pilots available to fly at the day and time of the requested trip, do you pay them a salary or day/hours they fly? Say you are paying a pilot a salary, what if you only have one short trip for the day?
    IF you could fly 3-4 hours per day 4+ days per week, you could make it make sense...........maybe. The local guys here that fly charters have other peoples airplanes on their certificate and the owners pay the expenses while the operator sells and bills for the charters and keeps a %. If it was a really good deal the operator would buy and own the airplanes. :D
     
  19. mryan75

    mryan75 Cleared for Takeoff

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    But you have to have commonality of purpose as well, no? You can't just have no other reason to fly to that destination other than to fly them there and back. You also have to have a reason to go there.
     
  20. Everskyward

    Everskyward Experimenter Management Council Member

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    You do not both need to be going for the same reason. Figure out something you want to do there.
     
  21. mondtster

    mondtster En-Route

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    How many people in the general public would be willing to pay what it actually costs to ride in a piston single on a trip? Then there is the fact that many businesses will not allow employees to ride on anything less than a turbine single or twin and you have your answer.

    There is one local guy with a single pilot 135 that has a ratty 172 on his certificate. As far as I know, people aren't beating his door down to get a ride from him.
     
  22. Tmpendergrass

    Tmpendergrass Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Let's say we ignore all the rules pertaining to 135 for a second.

    A 172 cost roughly $1 per mile to operate and can carry 2 passenger and a small amount of bags.

    That means for a one way trip from LA to Vegas (200nm) it would cost $400 to operate the aircraft.

    Now let's add in a measly $25 per flight hour for the pilot and we have to charge $500 each way just to break even.

    Now go try to convince anyone on the street to pay $500 round trip per person to fly in your 172 instead of paying $100-$150 round trip for a delta flight.




    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  23. Erik1010

    Erik1010 Pre-Flight

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    Why? Because when all is said and done, it'll be twice as expensive to charter your own SR22 than purchasing a Delta ticket.
     
  24. ejensen

    ejensen Pattern Altitude Gone West

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    And I think you, the pilot, needs to initiate the trip. You would fly regardless of the passenger. At least to the letter of the regs.
     
  25. EdFred

    EdFred Taxi to Parking

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    Delta only flies into a handful of places. I flew from 9D9 to MFI this weekend. Ran me a little under $200 in fuel, and took me a shade over 2.5 hours door to door.

    CWA is the closest place with service, and 40 minutes from where I needed to actually be. Now, when I leave my place to go to the commercial airport, I have to be there about 2 hours before hand to get raped.

    My time to me is worth about $100/hr, so it may be cheaper to charter than 121 it since I have to spend 12+ hours traveling r/t via the rape plane vs 5+ hours of traveling via charter at 150kts.
     
  26. ChemGuy

    ChemGuy Cleared for Takeoff

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    I thought there was a special case for a single pilot/plane operation that didn't have all the red tape and regulatory hassle of a standard 135 cert.

    Is that true?

    In specialty niche areas one might make that doable.
     
  27. petrolero

    petrolero Pattern Altitude

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    If not, there needs to be because what's being described here sounds like a load of horse****. No wonder no one can make money at it.
     
  28. petrolero

    petrolero Pattern Altitude

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    I would fly a mission like that regardless, yes. If the fact that it was someone else's idea makes it commercial then we're all hooped when your buddy says hey let's go to ___________ tomorrow.

    That interpretation is pretty strained in the situation described in the OP.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2015
  29. ejensen

    ejensen Pattern Altitude Gone West

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    It will mostly likely never be a problem unless someone get hurt or is dissatisfied with the flight/price. Buddies no problem, casual acquaintance or coworker maybe.
     
  30. ejensen

    ejensen Pattern Altitude Gone West

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    There used to be. No maintenance manager, training plan. At least the guys I flew with said it was much easier.
     
  31. EppyGA

    EppyGA Touchdown! Greaser!

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  32. narchee

    narchee Line Up and Wait

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    It's really tough trying to set up an air taxi service. Every time I've seriously considered it then done research I've realized how tough it is.

    It is almost impossible to guarantee you're going to make money with it. The best you can hope is to break even and that is not guaranteed either. The question is, how much are you willing to lose? I'd maybe do it even at a loss if it meant I could have access to a better plane than I would typically have (PC12 or KA for example). Maybe. :D Still haven't gone any further than a mental masturbation exercise in my case.
     
  33. Erik1010

    Erik1010 Pre-Flight

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    Good luck finding a 135 operator that'll fly into a grass strip in the lower 48.

    You don't need to convince me the benefits of aircraft ownership, I'm well aware.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2015
  34. EdFred

    EdFred Taxi to Parking

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    Neither of those are a grass strip. 9D9 has two grass runways but a paved one as well.
     
  35. Erik1010

    Erik1010 Pre-Flight

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    I didn't look it up, but I thought it was the airport you manage in the UP. I've been out of MI for a few years and have lost track. Hastings - I thought it looked familiar.
     
  36. Flymeariver

    Flymeariver Pattern Altitude

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  37. mondtster

    mondtster En-Route

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    As far as I know, the single pilot operations still exist. The guy I mentioned in my earlier post is doing a single pilot operation.
     
  38. German guy

    German guy Cleared for Takeoff

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    I always thought this would be great side gig for a CFI. Wasn't aware of the required paperwork, though...
     
  39. ejensen

    ejensen Pattern Altitude Gone West

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    The single pilot/plane guy I flew with said the worst part was getting his 182 up to spec. Mostly avionics that needed TSO or such.
     
  40. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser!

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    One pilot, one plane is fairly simple.

    The next step is up to 5 planes, and that requires a whole list of things like a dedicated director of maintenance and a director of operations. Both have required qualifications (x years in a management position, x years of aviation maintenance experience). If you have use of someone who can fill several roles, the FAA can approve that the one person does several jobs. In order to apply, you have to have use of at least one airplane of the type you are planning to use. With the long lead-times on the FAA side, the startup cost is very high. Many operators are struggling, so frequently people resort to purchasing an entire operation and modifying it to fit their needs rather than starting from scratch.

    The next step after 5 planes is basically a small airline.