Hopscotch Air Marks Fifth Anniversary

** Hopscotch Air**

Long Island, New York-based Hopscotch Air celebrates its fifth anniversary this week. Hopscotch Air flies seven Cirrus SR22s as air taxis, an idea that was supposed to explode with the advent of glass cockpits, NextGen and very light jets. Hopscotch partners with Linear Air, a similarly configured air taxi operation flying Eclipse VLJs. Together, the two operators are able to offer a mix of speed and range options for on-demand air taxi customers. Hopscotch Air flies an average of 85 to 100 flights per month in the summer, though the business plan calls for a drop off in the colder weather. There are 10 pilots currently flying on a contract basis, with three more in training.

The SR22s typically make their pick ups at airports in the New York area and fly as far west as Chicago and as far south as South Carolina. Company CEO Andrew Schmertz said vacation trips within a core range of 300 miles still represent about 70 percent of the business, though that is changing. Destinations in New England — especially Cape Cod and the offshore islands Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket — are among the most popular for Hopscotch Air customers. Business flights constitute an increasing percentage of the market, with destinations in upstate New York and Pennsylvania among the most popular.

Most recently, Hopscotch Air began operating regular weekday flights between Westchester County Airport (HPN) outside New York City and Bedford Airport (BED) near Boston. The flights depart from HPN at 7:15 a.m. and the return flight leaves BED at 5 p.m. Pricing is $875 per seat on Tuesdays and Wednesdays; and $775 on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays. Schmertz said the new service has generated a bump in his on-demand business in the Boston area.

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Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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