CJI Town Hall: ‘Air charter has been slow to catch up with changes in booking platform’

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Andrew Douglas, founder, Make Tech Fly, believes the air charter industry is one of the most dated. If one looks at the changes in automotive transport driven by platforms like Uber and Lift, the air charter industry has been slow to catch up with the technology in some respects, Douglas told CJI Town Hall delegates on Wednesday.

“It still frustrates me that if I’m on the road travelling, if you remember those days, and I would be trying to organise a charter request. The number of times I’d have to go into a hotel and say, ‘Im really sorry have you got a printer for me to print a document out, sign it and fax it back to the operator?’ We still work in this mindset that we have always done it this way.”

One of the biggest things that tech can do is help cross-industry communication – between broker, operator and client – and facilitate the sharing of data. The ability to perform these two tasks are fundamental in making a charter flight, or any flight really, happen and happen smoothly according to Douglas.

‘Secure facilitation of data sharing’

“One of the things we can do on our system here is we can secure facilitation of data sharing because whilst knowledge is power sharing data and knowledge is even more powerful for everybody. And that is also where are helping pull together this delta between the operators and the brokers.”

Douglas continued: “We can facilitate seat sharing which is something we do for corporate flight departments and we can do it in such a way that if the C-suite makes the flight we can allow other people to book onto that flight without generating any further work for the c suite or the C-suite’s assistance personnel.”

Keeping to regulations is another area technology can play a pivotal role said Douglas, GDPR and the correct management of data for GDPR requirements in Europe has been one Make Tech Fly’s biggest focuses. “One of the big problems there is that people take a clients data, hold onto it, and then forget they’ve got it, exposing themselves to GDPR risk. Our systems can eliminate those risks.”

‘Phishing emails 20 to 30 times per week’

In terms of risk, the criminal element is what Douglas most, in recent months the ACA and EBAA released a joint statement about fraudulent charter websites trying to pass themselves off as brokers, there is also identity fraud, interception of insecure emails, and the interception of false Wifi FBOs. Douglas said: “We spend a lot of money on the cyber security and data security elements of our programme and even my small company, in a small town in Scotland, we are still experiencing attempted hacking by phishing emails 20 to 30 times per week.”

Douglas told delegates that between 60% and 80% of small companies will be hacked at some point in their existence and of that number about 50% won’t survive. Douglas recommended that even if you don’t use Make Tech Fly’s system he would encourage everybody to go and review their data security protocols immediately.

“Unfortunately one of the worst things we can do is send unencrypted emails. So much of the data we send willy nilly hoping because of the internet it will be fine and unfortunately thee are just so many bad people out there monitoring. I go back to the 20-30 phishing emails, those are all companies from a certain land mass to the east of us, that constantly sit and monitor looking for a weak point in anything we do. We know they are there so can fend them off, but the number of companies that are being monitored is just phenomenal.”

Replay Wednesday’s Corporate Jet Investor Town Hall online meeting here. This week’s session entitled ‘The future of charter, cards and jet sharing’ was sponsored by Avinode. With a stellar roster of speakers: Harry Clarke, senior commercial analyst, Avinode Group; Phil Brockwell, founder, Quorem; Peter Evans, founder, Air Pool Ltd; David Norton, partner, Shackelford, Bowen, McKinley & Norton LLP; Andrew Douglas, founder, Make Tech Fly; and Richard Koe, founder, WINGX.