Monday, March 24, 2014

Kavoo: Danbury, Connecticut, air taxi company acquired by Atlanta firm

Kavoo, the Danbury-based air taxi provider, has been acquired by ImagineAir, in one of the "biggest moves" in the air taxi industry, according to the buyer.

Kavoo, which charters private flights to and from Danbury Municipal Airport, started operating as a subsidiary of Imagine Air Jet Services last month.

Terms of the agreement weren't disclosed.

The combined services of the two companies will span the eastern U.S. and make use of the online reservations system developed by Atlanta-based ImagineAir, which has a fleet of Cirrus SR22-GTS aircraft and a network of thousands of underutilized airports.

The air taxi industry provides an alternative to congested highways and commercial airports for business travelers. The business was born after NASA created a $70 million program over a decade ago, the Small Aircraft Transportation System, to encourage the use of under-served airports in the U.S. and the use of smaller air services, according to a press release.

"Kavoo and ImagineAir have a great opportunity to fulfill the promises NASA envisioned many years ago," Richard Humphrey, Kavoo's CEO, said in the release.

Using smaller, more expensive, private air travel services can be a boon to the business traveler for whom time is of the essence, said Jeff Burger, editor of Business Jet Traveler magazine. Based on the annual survey the magazine conducts with its readers, saving time is the primary reason for flying privately. Others include privacy for working or conducting in-flight business meetings and the ability to fly closer to the final destination than a commercial airline would allow.

"In this economy, charter is becoming more popular," Burger said. "It's more expensive than flying commercially, but it can be economical for business travelers. For people who are well-paid, their time is valuable."

Following this merger, ImagineAir wants to invest in further developing its proprietary fleet management, infrastructure and flight optimization software.

"As we grow, technology will enable us to leverage optimization and create efficiencies across all facets of the company and our service," Ryan Rodd, chief technology officer of ImagineAir, said in a statement. "The reduced costs allow us to pass on incredible savings to travelers."