an air taxi start-up based in Bismark, North Dakota, has returned or liquidated its fleet of three Cirrus SR22s and two Diamond DA42s, and prospects for moving the operation to warmer climes are bleak.

Point2Point Airways (P2P) has returned its three leased aircraft - two SR22s and one DA42 - and the company's owned aircraft - an SR22 and a DA42 - have been "put back to the financial partners" who have sold the DA42 and are in the process of selling the SR22.

North Dakota newspaper, The Fargo Forum, reported that the bank holding the leases had repossessed the aircraft, and that a judge had ordered the P2P to repay more than $300,000 in back payments.

P2P shut down its operations at the end of April this year after flying a total of about 750,000 miles in total since launch in August 2005 with one SR22.

Founder and chief executive John Boehle tells Flight International the company last year was on "a nice growth curve" and had placed an order for 100 DA42s and Diamond D-Jets.

However revenues "bottomed" this past winter, according to Boehle, because Diamond had not received US Federal Aviation Administration flight-into-known-icing certification for the DA42.

Diamond contends that P2P did not have its Part 135 certification to fly the aircraft in those conditions, making icing certification a moot point.

Given the inability to fly in winter months in the North Dakota region, Boehle has been trying since April to move the operation to a warmer climate.

He has also been searching for investors who can pump as much as $1.25 million into the company, a search that so far has not been fruitful.

"We're exploring any and all options to relocate the company to a different geographic location where we could operate the Cirrus year-round," he says. "But there's not a development that is imminent."

Boehle continues to believe in the model however. "Despite how it turned out for us at the moment, I'm a firm believer in the fleet scale air taxi," he tells Flight International, but cautions: "There's probably a little more hype on the category than there are aircraft platforms to the support the rapid expansion of the category across the country."

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Source: Flight International