Hopscotch Air (O2, Farmingdale) - the Long Island-based membership-only air taxi operator - plans to launch a new commuter airline service to prominent US Northeast destinations next Spring with a new fleet of eight-seater turboprops, pending approval from the US Department of Transportation (DOT).

President and Chief Executive Officer Andrew Schmertz told ch-aviation by e-mail: "We are likely acquiring Cessna (single turboprop) Caravans for the initial launch. Those are ready-made for commuter service. We’ve been working with Cessna Aircraft Company on it. We have also looked at the Quest Aircraft Kodiaks for some service. The Caravans can also be electrified on short-haul routes, for example, Westerly (Rhode Island) to Block Island."

The city pairs have not yet been announced, but flights will originate from New York metro airports, including Hopscotch Air’s current base at White Plains (Westchester County Airport). Seabury Securities LLC is advising Hopscotch Air on its commuter air plans.

The company, in a statement, further announced it had signed a letter of intent with eVTOL developer Transcend Air Corporation to acquire Vy 400 VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing) aircraft, which will enable it to add non-airport routes when the type enters service, which is scheduled for 2025 according to the Transend Air website. Hopscotch Air is also eager to adopt novel battery-electric aircraft as they come to market and prove economical, it said in a statement.

Schmertz explained the new commuter service was designed to supplement airline flights lost during the pandemic over the past two years by using smaller aircraft fitting the lower demand. “We’ve seen many regional airlines pull back on service as travel demands dropped. Some have gone out of business altogether. We’re uniquely positioned to step in by right-sizing this market because people still need to fly,” he said.

On December 1, 2020, Hopscotch Air applied to DOT for authority to provide scheduled passenger operations as a commuter air carrier, but on May 26, 2021, the company notified the regulator that it was not yet ready and withdrew its application, according to a regulatory filing. The DOT dismissed the application without prejudice but invited Hopscotch to reapply once fully prepared.

Based in Farmingdale, a village on Long Island near New York, Hopscotch Air also plans to grow its Cirrus-based business and is looking at the North Carolina market for expansion. The company uses Cirrus SR20 and SR22s to serve all of the New York metro region's executive airports, as well as destinations in the US Northeast, mid-Atlantic, and Canada.