EvoLux’s empty leg features: Democratising private air travel
Florida-based start-up EvoLux is launching a digital empty leg tool that it hopes can “truly democratise private aviation”.
There has always been an excess of empty legs in business aviation. On an average day over the summer, empty leg traffic movements are in their hundreds. The difficulty is filling those seats with end users–often with limited time and constraints on factors like departure location and destination.
EvoLux has developed a solution, SkyShare which, it says, tackles this problem head-on. Originally launched as a booking platform for VTOL operations, when the Covid pandemic hit, like many others, EvoLux had to adapt to a changing market.
“The private aviation industry boomed,” Raymond Leavitt, founder and CEO told Corporate Jet Investor. “Still today it is hard to book any aircraft because of a combination of the industry roll-up where smaller operators are being bought by bigger ones and strains on crewing and pilots.
“But what there was a lot of was empty legs and operators are all about making that extra profit if they can,” added Leavitt.
EvoLux purchased an API to stream the empty leg availability, the team then built a user interface around it. The interface is enabled for white-label use and allows the end user to check empty leg availability from any airport, vertiport, or runway in North and South America, as well as Europe.
The interface has a range of features including ‘check availability’. This allows the user to enquire about and modify the existing empty leg, it then sends the proposal to the operator who will make a decision on the flight. Also, if there is no price listed, you can bid for the flight. When and if the operator agrees you can either purchase the whole aircraft, using SkyPrivate, or split the fare with other users with SkyShare, a self-aggregation booking tool.
“We see this as the low hanging fruit for market entry,” said Leavitt. “This platform has the potential to be the HotelTonight for private aviation.”
Often empty legs get handed out to brokers, but it is challenging to aggregate people on their chosen routes at the time they need. EvoLux has built popular routes feature into the platform, so users are notified as and when these routes become available.
The platform can be particularly useful for smaller operators, according to Leavitt. One example is the operator availability calendar feature, currently in beta. “Say you’re working an event like a NASCAR race, you can say ‘I am going to be sitting at this location and I’m unavailable between 8-9am. That’s when I have my first flight but, otherwise, I’m sitting there all day.’ Now that operators can take on more bookings throughout the day which Uberises the helicopter and maximises profits.”
The features would work just as well for aircraft operators working the Masters or during the Super Bowl where ramp space is limited at the surrounding airports, noted Leavitt.
The more end users, both operators and fliers, that use the platform, the more effective it will become. Currently, users pay a subscription fee that varies across levels of access and service. However, even if an operator is not a member they can still receive an email notification from EvoLux declaring interest in a flight. Should that operator choose to perform that flight, they can claim their profile in a few clicks and all of their aircraft data is loaded automatically thanks to EvoLux’s API.
“One thing I have noticed is that there is a lot of small operators that can’t compete with the big boys and it becomes a bit of a ‘join us or die’ situation. We really feel like we are providing a tool that can help them be able to compete on that level. As an operator they can’t sell by the seat, but as a third party like us we’re creating the same tools that the big firms use and offering them to all,” said Leavitt.
Find out more about EvoLux’s suite of solutions and plans to go live.