Airly: The disruptive Australian airline that’s set to take off

Jan Vykydal

How does this sound? Instead of waiting in line at the airport, you get to go to private terminals, which have fewer people and no queues. Instead of fighting for an arm rest, you always get a window seat. Instead of having to deal with dozens of other passengers, you only have to ride with a few other people.

Sounds good, right? That’s what the new startup Airly is hoping.

Airly is a company started by Alexander Robinson and Luke Hampshire that offers frequent fliers unlimited flights between Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra for a flat rate per month (the starting rate is $2550 per month, plus a $1000 joining fee).

It’s a business model similar to Surf Air in California, and Airly operates Beechcraft King Air 350 aircraft that have eight leather club seats, snacks, drinks and a lavatory on board. The aircraft fly out of Bankstown Airport in Sydney, and Essendon Airport in Melbourne.

Members must pay the first two months up front, and then after that membership is on a month-by-month basis, which allows people to cancel anytime they wish, and Airly invites people who are willing to commit to six to 12 months to contact the company about discounts.

You can reserve a seat a month in advance, but you can also book a seat as little as 30 minutes before departure.

Airly manages to cut down wait times by one to two hours every round trip – time usually spend waiting in queues – which might not sound like much until you consider that the actual flight from Sydney to Melbourne is about an hour and a half long. Who wants to spend as much time in line as they do in the air?

You can reserve a seat a month in advance, but you can also book a seat as little as 30 minutes before departure.

Reservations can be made online, on the phone, or via an app. Since members pay a flat rate, cancelling isn’t a big deal, either. Just phone and say you can’t make the flight. Done.

There aren’t any penalties for failing to turn up without contacting Airly, but if someone does that a lot they could have their account suspended. The basic rule here is be considerate.

And, in keeping with its aim of being convenient for travellers, there are no hidden fees.

Airly operates in an in-between space: Easier and less time-consuming than traditional airlines, and not as expensive as buying or chartering a private plane.

Jan Vykydal

Jan is a Sydney-based writer and editor whose work has been published in a stable of titles including the National Post, The Daily Planet and Edmonton Examiner. He is currently Editor at ShortPress.

Image: Textron Aviation, Inc.