New AeroVanti CEO Scott Hopes told members today he hopes to have as many as eight aircraft operational by the end of September.
AeroVanti’s website is back online, and it expects to have one or two airplanes flying within the next two weeks.
There are currently a total of eight aircraft, and plans call to have the entire fleet operational by the end of September, according to Scott Hopes.
Hopes, who was announced as CEO in June, didn’t officially take the position until last week.
In a call today with AeroVanti members, he said he had also been appointed Chairman, President, and Director this morning.
Additionally, former Piaggio executive Paolo Ferreri was named a Director of the company.
Hopes said the Founder, Patrick Britton-Harr, had resigned from all positions with the company.
He had been its sole board member.
Hopes said he expects to appoint a new Chairman at some point in the future as he seeks to get the company restarted and implement a new management team.
The new leader told members he expects to unveil a new membership plan in the next few weeks.
He told members the program would need to change.
AeroVanti had offered rates as low as $1,500 per how for flights on Piaggio P.180s.
“If you are losing money on every widget, there will need to be a change. When we need to make a change in the business model, everyone is going to be informed. I do not believe the way it is structured now is sustainable,” Hopes told around 80 members who were on the call.
He called the members one of AeroVanti’s strengths and a reason it holds appeal to investors.
It is believed the club had as many as 400 members, some of who paid $150,000 for Top Gun status.
Hopes estimated there is as much as $31 million in outstanding flight credits.
However, he was unsure what percentage represented actual money collected by AeroVanti versus credits issued for canceled flights.
So far, AeroVanti has brought back four maintenance workers, and customer service reps will start being brought back very soon.
Hopes said he has also been in discussions with the FAA, which he confirmed had been investigating the troubled flight provider, which flies under Part 91F instead of Part 135.
There are also plans to partner with two charter operators to help fulfill flights.
Hopes noted he is working to shield AeroVanti from future exposure.
In charging Britton-Harr with Medicare fraud, the Department of Justice said he used those illegally obtained monies to launch AeroVanti in 2021.
The Sarasota-and-Baltimore-based flight provider has been hit with five lawsuits since May.
Hopes said three additional filings have likely been averted.
He also said that all but one of the lessors who had provided aircraft to AeroVanti on lease-to-buy agreements have agreed to work with the new management team and renegotiate leases.
AeroVanti has had to open new bank accounts as previous accounts had been closed by the banks, he told members.
“It was no secret the company was at a point of insolvency,” Hopes said.
He said it appeared early on as AeroVanti was struggling to build its own fleet; it spent around $10 million through charter brokers arranging flights for members.
For their part, several members expressed interest in meeting with Hopes and working with him.