Singapore-based Ascend Air will start service in March for its recently launched private jet membership club, which aims to make business aviation more accessible in the region. It currently has around 150 members and will use third-party operators to fulfill flights, company co-founder and CEO Christopher Choo told AIN.
Short-haul airline flights in the region are time-inefficient, he said, noting that because of check-in and security lines, "One would have to waste around four hours for an hour flight from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur.” With Ascend, Choo intends to drastically cut travel times in Southeast Asia. “We are offering city pairs such as Singapore-Jakarta and Singapore-Kuala Lumpur, but we are looking at other cities like Surabaya and Penang,” he noted.
For a monthly fee, based on three tier levels, members can fly a shared private aircraft for about the same as premium airline fares. Customers receive eight flight credits under Ascend Air's Professional plan, which costs $2,250 per month. Ascend also offers Premium and Executive plans at $4,250 and $1,250, respectively.
Due to competitive reasons, Choo said he won't reveal the names of the partners that will operate the aircraft until a later date, but said the primary platform would be the Embraer Legacy 600 for its size and operating costs. He added that more aircraft types and operators would be introduced as the company expands.