Is there really such a thing as coincidence?
You could debate that question on several levels, I suppose, from the philosophical to the mathematical, and from the theological to the pragmatic. But in the (mostly) rational world of business I don’t believe there really are coincidences. Those things that commonly get attributed to coincidence usually are cases of multiple people (or organizations) reading the same market signals and coming up with similar responses.
That’s certainly the case with my company, Linear Air, and another on-demand air taxi service called Hopscotch Air. Leaders of both companies recognized that changing travel economics, security protocols, aircraft technologies, demographics, population densities and distributions, highway congestion, and lifestyles in the first decade of the 21st century would create big changes in the way Americans travel, especially on trips under 750 miles. And we both came up with very similar business solutions that are different only in the scope of our respective operations.
Nearly a decade ago we at Linear Air recognized that the rapid changes that were then beginning to make air travel much more of a hassle - and more expensive - would lead to significant reductions of scheduled airline service on routes to and from medium-sized and smaller cities (we were right, as I’ve discussed in this blog previously). So we seized upon an emerging new technology - the Very LightJet aircraft – to fill the orphaned demand among business travelers who need to fly to and from such cities and towns. We created the nation’s first successful on-demand air taxi service. Linear Air offers comfortable, hassle-free, and extraordinarily convenient service on high performance Eclipse Jets. And we do so at costs that are competitive with what business travelers would pay if they tried to get to or from same midsize and small cities today using conventional airlines.
In fact, we can get you from the uncongested airport nearest your home or office to the airport nearest your actual destination in a second- or third-tier market, and back home again in one day. But an airline trip to or from such a destination likely would require one to two flight connections each way, rental cars, at least one night in a hotel, and extra restaurant meals. Add all those flight, hotel, car and food costs to the value of lost value of your unproductive time on such a routing (not to mention your lost family and personal time), and we think you’ll agree that Linear Air offers a superior value proposition to business travelers going to and from smaller markets.
Hopscotch Air’s solution is amazingly similar. But instead of going with a Very Light Jet, Hopscotch chose the Cirrus SR22, the safest piston-engine plane ever built. As a result, Hopscotch’s service range is smaller than ours. But so too are its costs.
Hopscotch focuses primarily on the sprawling region within 250-300 miles of New York City. Because of the ground congestion in that region than can turn relatively short 150 mile drives into four- and five-hour slogs, Hopscotch’s less-expensive-to-own, and less-expensive-to-operate SR22s have become a reasonable and affordable travel option for such trips. In fact, Hopscotch’s SR22 operating costs are low enough that it can offer affordable prices on routes so short – under 250 miles - that even Linear Air’s low-cost Eclipse Jets can’t provide a real value alternative. Conversely, Hopscotch’s fantastic SR22s lack the range and speed to economically and efficiently serve the somewhat longer routes that our Eclipse Jets excel at serving.
Thus, it’s really no coincidence – there’s that word again - that Linear Air and Hopscotch Air have gotten together in a marketing partnership that will give our respective customers a broader range of services. Linear Air’s customers can book Hopscotch flights directly through LinearAir. Similarly, Hopscotch customers can book Linear Air flights through the normal Hopscotch channels.
Beyond that, Hopscotch will continue to focus on flights within a few hundred miles of its home base on Long Island, N.Y. And Linear Air and its affiliates will continue to focus on our wider primary service regions in New England and the Northeast, Canada the Mid-Atlantic, upper Midwest, the Southeast and Southern California and northern Mexico.
And both companies expect to continue growing. So who knows where our partnership will take us together. I’ll be interested to learn that myself, over time. And I hope you will be too.
See you onboard!