Flapper reaches 30,000th client milestone


Flapper has celebrated flying its 30,000th client, building on more than 320% growth over the past two years. 

To mark the milestone, Flapper co-founder and CEO Paul Malicki surprised the football-loving passenger with a gift before he boarded the flight at Rio de Janeiro’s airport. The themed merchandise was specially designed based the client’s flight history, which included charters to the Copa Libertadores finals.

“It feels as if we are only beginning our journey,” Malicki told Corporate Jet Investor. “Taking into account the size of our accessible market and the advancement of our technology, we are making an internal prediction of how long it will take us to acquire 100,000 paid customers.” 

Flapper prepared a set of personalised items signed by Rio de Janeiro’s Flamengo football club. “Our client’s enthusiasm for the club had been well-known for a long time, having chartered flights to their games in the past, so it was an effortless guess,” said Malicki. The list included a leather bag, a wine holder, a knitted polo shirt and, of course, a pair of Flapper-themed socks.

Malicki said technology has allowed the air charter brokerage industry to be scalable, so it no longer requires an extensive workforce of 500 or so to operate. Headquartered in Brazil and with local operations in South America, Mexico, Florida and Portugal, Flapper was launched in 2016. Starting out as a pay-per-seat helicopter booking app, the firm switched to include air charter, including private jets, corporate airliners and turbo-props. Today rotorcraft makes up only 6% of annual revenues, with the core business focused on charter. 

“Our technology has allowed us to automate the traditional charter process and make it more transparent, which was something the market was lacking when we launched. The clients can browse through hundreds of aircraft on our marketplace, receive a hard quote through a personalised link, pay using their desired payment method and rate the flight on TrustPilot (another API integration),” said Malicki.

More than 1,700 safety-vetted aircraft are currently available on Flapper platform, with plans to reach 4,000 by the end of 2024. An in-house team nicknamed ‘Aircraft Hunters’ searches for and adds new commercial jets, turbo-props and helicopters, including those with Part 135 and Part 121 certificates.

Flapper claims its quotation system estimates the price of the charter flight, which can then be arranged in less than 2 hours, it claimed. Flapper also integrates with online systems of the local civil authorities – including Brazil’s ANAC – and automatically refreshes the aircraft’s airworthiness status. Future plans include integration with the flight tracking software, as well as flight management systems.

“We are 100% focused on the launch of Flapper 3.0, i.e. completely refined Flapper app. It will feature medevac services, high-value cargo and urban air mobility, aside from regular business charters. Once launched, it will surely be the most complete product on the market, evidencing eight years of hard work by our technology team,” he explained. 

Last year, Flapper launched an aircraft sales department, led by Giampiero Colognori. The used aircraft marketplace is available within the same app and features a list of over 100 private jets and helicopters. As well as brokering aircraft sales, the platform also offers consultancy services including complete pre-sale checks, financing and international aircraft transfer. “To our surprise, our first customer came from Europe while we registered a few aircraft sold in Latin America, too. The used aircraft market has a fairly long sales cycle and we are working on improving our technology, especially on the mobile app,” said Malicki.