Regional Carrier Eyes June Start in Bay Area

Point2Point needs at least $250,000 in deposit guarantees before establishing a Bay-area base.

Apr. 4 -- A NEW AIR CARRIER, Point2Point Airways, may introduce limited regional air service to one or several of the county's regional airports by June.

Rather than operating on a hub-based model used by major commercial carriers, the North Dakota-based regional carrier would fly more like an air taxi or charter service -- from one designated point nonstop to another point, based on the customer's requests.

Flights to the Bay Area, Sacramento, Long Beach or Las Vegas typically would take no longer than two hours, said Rod Simon, a Point2Point board member and San Luis Obispo resident.

Although it would fly upon request similar to a charter service, Point2Point would charge less than the typical charter rates -- and more comparable with what it costs to fly commercial airlines, Simon said.

For instance, its three-passenger Cirrus airplane (if full and with one pilot) would charge around $300 for a round trip to Sacramento or Long Beach, Simon said. A flight on United Airlines, with a stop in either Los Angeles or San Francisco, costs around $230, according to Expedia .com, a travel Web site.

On the other hand, a round-trip, nonstop flight to Sacramento through one of San Luis Obispo's charter air services, such as PCF Aviation, would cost about $1,400, said one of PCF's owners, Jim Willis.

To start this air taxi service, Simon said Point2Point needs to ensure that a certain number of paying customers will use it. To get this guarantee, it is starting a Point2Point club membership program, which requires a customer to deposit thousands of dollars in travel pledges into a Point2Point account, which will be held in trust by local banks.

Point2Point needs at least $250,000 in deposit guarantees and a minimum of $750,000 to expand or continue the service -- depending on demand -- within 120 days of its startup, Simon said. Once the service begins, deposits are nonrefundable.

Simon said the air carrier has already implemented its service a year and a half ago built on $1.2 million in pre-pledged deposits in four North Dakota cities. A similar service may begin soon in Mount Vernon, Ill.

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