A new partnership was announced this week between KinectAir and Electra.aero. KinectAir is an operating system for booking private charter flights as well as advanced air mobility (AAM) transport. Its software-defined network is designed to lower the cost of point-to-point air travel. Electra’s focus is on development of an electric short take-off and landing (eSTOL) aircraft. The companies are collaborating to capitalize on growing demand for point-to-point regional flights.
KinectAir plans to operate Electra’s eSTOL aircraft on its network in the Pacific Northwest. Eventually, operations are expected to expand to other areas in the U.S. and in Europe. The partnership takes advantage of underutilized infrastructure like regional airports.
Based on data from flight itineraries, KinectAir claims that there is strong demand for regional air travel for distances under 500 miles. The average flight distance booked by their customers is 215 miles. “The sweet spot for regional air mobility is between 100 and 300 miles,” commented Jonathan Evans, CEO of KinectAir.
Evans noted that their smartphone app incorporates AI-backed route dispatch and demand generation capabilities which results in lower prices. “Out of over 40,000 itineraries entered into our software, 83% of customers want to bypass the largest 30 airport hubs in order to use only point-to-point airport pairs,” he stated.
Marc Ausman, Electra’s Chief Product Officer, remarked that they will work closely with the team at KinectAir on integration of the eSTOL into their network for regional air mobility. “Convenient access to a regional air mobility network for passengers is crucial to scaling the service,” Ausman said.
Electra was recently selected by the U.S. Air Force’s AFWERX program for a Strategic Funding Increase award of up to $85 million. Private investments, government contributions, and matching SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) funding will contribute to the award amount. The Strategic Funding Increase will help Electra’s team to continue development of a full-scale pre-production prototype of its eSTOL aircraft, which will be used by the Air Force for validating requirements and operational use cases.
Last October, the eSTOL developer received its 1,000th order. Welojets signed a letter of intent with Electra for 32 eSTOL aircraft.
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