The Melbourne-based aviation startup Airly hopes to establish a subscription transport service covering the world's 4th busiest passenger air route, offering unlimited flights between Canberra, Sydney's Bankstown, and Melbourne's Essendon airports.
At 11 kilometres from the city centre Essendon Airport is Melbourne's closest airport, offering passengers fast connections to the Central Business District and major transport links.
Co-founders Luke Hampshire and Alexander Robinson aim to import the business model of the successful US startup Surf Air, which offers a similar service in California.
Several hundred members will pay a joining fee of A$1000 and a monthly fee of A$2550 for unlimited flights between the three cities, with plans to extend to Brisbane and Adelaide in the near future.
"The several hundred we are looking for are keen as mustard to save time," Mr Hampshire says. "It is going to save them about two hours per round trip. We are working off a membership number. We have a lot of people showing significant interest in it now. Once we reach that break-even number we launch."
"There is really no holding at Essendon or Bankstown," Mr Hampshire says, adding that members can check in just 15 minutes before departure.
The company has leased the first of three King Air 350 eight-seater aircrafts from an aircraft management company in the US. They will be added to the air operator's certificate (AOC) of an Australian company licensed for regular public transport (RPT) and then dry leased. Mr Hampshire says the use of a company who is already licensed for RPT will ensure the service withstands any potential changes to charter flight regulations.
The company hopes to secure the numbers to commence operations in the second quarter of 2016.In the past decade, passenger numbers at Melbourne's airports have increased by 7.5 per cent compared with Sydney Airport's 3.8 per cent over the same period. Melbourne is home to Australia's largest 24-hour curfew free airport, seeing about 750,000 passengers a month and generates an extra A$590 million for the Victorian economy.