Air Charter Service invests £10 million in disruptive technology
Air Charter Service will spend around £10 million (more than $15 million) over the next five years to improve its charter booking technology and online presence.
Chris Leach, chairman and founder of Air Charter Service, said: “While we believe that the award-winning personal service that we offer will never be replaced entirely by technology, we are adapting the traditional brokerage model.
“We are currently revamping and redeveloping all of our websites, with enhanced functionality, with the planned release date in the spring. We are developing real time customer information portals and are planning on investing in other disruptive technology over the next few years.”
Air Charter Service accumulated sales of around £300 million in 2014. The company gives its charter customers’ access to around 50,000 aircraft, which requires a number of multi-language websites and a payroll of over 250 air charter professionals.
“Many of our competitors claim to be unique by investing in technology, but ultimately we feel that we have an advantage.We provide our customers with global solutions, not local gimmicks.”
“Many of our competitors claim to be unique by investing in technology, but ultimately we feel that we have an advantage due to our existing international footprint, meaning technological developments will easily be rolled out worldwide. We provide our customers with global solutions, not local gimmicks,” added Leach.
Business aviation had its own dot-com boom last year – a trend which looks set to continue in 2015 – with increasingly tech-savvy companies like Victor, PrivateFly, JetSmarter and Wheels Up trying to revolutionise the business jet market with online booking and innovative smartphone apps.
Victor, in particular, had a “stonking year” – to borrow its founder Clive Jackson’s expression – while Avinode, whose network underpins Victor’s online booking platform, sold a majority stake to Multi Service Technology Services.
“It makes complete sense for any business that’s relied on the telephone and an in-house sales team sooner or later to have to bite the bullet and start investing in technology, so I welcome this move,” says Victor’s Jackson. “However, it could be a case of too little too late – as many of the on-line providers are already doing a good job of disrupting the old fashioned telesales broker model.”