Booking business aviation


My small English town is facing a little bit of a problem right now. You used to be able to go into the town centre on any given day and barely be able to move because of all the shoppers.

But then the internet became a thing. Slowly people took to doing their shopping online and as they did, more and more High Street shops began to close.

First, it was the smaller general retailers whose margins were lower. They were forced off the High Street by websites where you could buy everything that you needed. Next came the small independent bookstores, which couldn’t compete on price with the online booksellers which could buy in bulk.

Then came the travel agents.

For an independent travel agent, the advent of the internet must have been a nightmare. Rather than people going into a travel agent and asking them to look for flights or holidays for them, they could instead use the internet to build their own perfect holiday or look for flights that fitted into their own schedules for themselves. And it would be much cheaper.

Although the traditional business-jet charter brokers do not have a presence on the High Street, they are facing a threat from the charter-booking websites and smart-phone applications where people can book themselves.

There are however a couple of big differences between buying a book online and booking a charter flight.

The most obvious of these is the sum of money involved. Spending $10 on Jack Kerouac’s On the Road as you look to rekindle your lost youth, is a lot different to spending $65,000 chartering a Challenger 300 from New York to San Francisco.

But as we move more of our lives onto the internet, we are becoming more comfortable with spending large sums of money online. In 2014 the global m-commerce (transactions completed on mobile devices including smartphones and tablets) was $50 billion. Last year it had reached $288 billion.

Large transactions have already taken place. In 2013 PrivateFly, one of the first online booking platforms – which, along with LunaJets is celebrating its 10th birthday this year – announced that it had completed a charter booking for a Saudi family worth $500,000.

The bespoke nature of booking a private jet flight is also a big difference.

Different airports and en route charges, a choice of FBOs and the choice of aircraft are all factors that need to be considered when pricing a private jet flight. If the charter company does not own its own aircraft, then getting owner approval to release the aircraft for a flight can also take some time.

There are websites and applications like Stratajet that can combine all these factors together, giving its users a final price within a matter of seconds. To do this their back-end systems must be plugged directly into the operator’s system to be able to get immediate approval for the flight, and their databases of flight routes, airports and charges need to be constantly updated to ensure the correct pricing.

With more and more online booking platforms being made available it would be an easy jump to assume that more and more private jet charter flights are being booked online.

What we would love to find out, with your help if possible, is where online charter booking is heading. To do this, we have devised a short survey asking eight simple questions. They range from asking if there will be an increase in the number of online booking applications available, to what companies will need to do to differentiate themselves from their competition.

All answers are given in the strictest confidence and to make it easier to complete, all questions have multiple choice answers.

It takes less than two minutes to complete. If you would like to give your views, please click here.