I work for a small 135 company in Hilton Head. I guess you could say SATSAir is our competetion. Take this into perspective though. I spoke with a mechanic in Charleston, SC a while ago. He said they had a twin Piper land with engine troubles, enroute from somewhere up north and headed to FL for meetings and a round of golf. They called SATS to come and take 3 pilot and 2 passengers the rest of the way. When the SR-22 arrived, they were unable to load all of the luggage, and would have to stop in JAX to refuel because with any more they’d exceed max gross takeoff weight. The stranded pilot and pax opted to rent a car and drive 8 hours to finish their journey.
Our POI is that of SATSAir’s also, and I was up in Greenville, SC (SATS ops base) a while ago to meet for a checkride. I got to meet the chief pilot (who was surprisingly young). Afterwards, the FAA inspector told me SATS operates 16 SR-22s at this time, with plans to have 500 in the next year and 1500 in the next 5 years and to be operating nationwide. Plans also include the Eclipse jet. Base pilot pay is reasonably good as well. Obviously, they receive some major financial support from Cirrus, as I can’t see SATS making a profit at $450,000 purchase price per aircraft.
The manager of the FBO here says that they don’t charge a positioning fee any more either.
An interesting bit of info about the SR-22. Anyone that knows the regs of Part 135 knows that a single engine aircraft is very hard to certify for IFR ops under 135. Normally, you need a redundant electrical system. Its pretty obvious how a twin meets this requirement, but the only singles up to this point that could meet the regulation was the PC-12, TBM 700 and Cessna 208 Caravan…all turboprops.
The SR-22 relying on glass panels, needs not only a backup electrical system to power the glass, but also has the traditional steam gauges in the event that both sources fail.