Current Aviation is to raise USD40 million to exploit a regional market gap in the United States by launching point-to-point airline services between underserved cities, using other – as yet unnamed - independent carriers as flight operating partners.

Led by a team of experienced airline, hospitality, and travel technology industry executives, the Dallas-based company in a statement said it had contracted global investment bank DelMorgan & Co. as strategic advisor for its capital raise.

A virtual carrier, the start-up plans to debut within months but will not acquire aircraft or facilities. Instead, its operations will be outsourced to third party carriers which will fly their own aircraft with their own employees, but under the Current Aviation brand. Sources in the know said this may ultimately involve ExpressJet Airlines (EV, Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson) and/or other US regional carriers. ExpressJet Airlines declined to comment when contacted by ch-aviation.

Current Aviation’s role will be to handle all commercial and customer-facing functions including determining the route network, setting competitive fares, scheduling, marketing, distribution, and e-commerce.

Direct flights will be operated with smaller aircraft on one-to-two-hour routes between cities (not yet disclosed) that are either underserved or abandoned by major airlines. The model will make it possible for independent carriers to serve smaller markets efficiently and for the long term.

Chief Executive Officer Brad Beakley estimates Current Aviation will be able to serve up to 400 US markets that are currently underserved or unserved. “The size of these markets makes flights uneconomical for both traditional carriers and ultra-low-cost carriers, leaving customers facing hours of travel through airline hubs, or by car, to reach destinations that are just an hour or two away on direct flights,” he explained.

He said the company is in talks with several potential production carriers to launch in “carefully selected markets within 120 days of funding”.