US start-up Lift Air has launched an air taxi operation from its Florida base with Cirrus SR20 and SR22 piston singles.

"This service is showing a lot of promise," says Lift Air director of operations Nathan Barrett. "There is a lot of demand for low-cost, flexible, point-to-point air services, especially from local businessmen and leisure travellers who avoid the large busy airports or the long drive to their destinations."

The Sarasota-based company plans to service the Florida region with its SR trio and says its opportunities to expand are currently restricted. "Our aircraft operator’s certificate is limited to single pilot operations," says Barrett. "It is costly to expand an AOC, but we will consider a multi-pilot, multi-aircraft AOC as business increases. In the meantime we will consider setting up local partnerships with other operators to provide supplemental lift during busy periods."

Lift Air joins a growing number of air taxi companies in US that have adopted the four-seat piston-engined Cirrus family as the lynchpin of their programme. "It all about economics and convenience," Barrett says. "The SR20 can carry three passengers and costs $1,450 for a return flight from Tampa to Miami, for example. This is equivalent to a first class fare on an airline, but it slashes travel time significantly."

Source: Flight International