‘Embracing new technology’ – Jonny Nicol, Stratajet


Jonny Nicol: Bringing an old-fashioned industry out of the dark ages.

After a stint in the military I became a corporate freelance pilot, which, amongst other things, included flying private jets. This opened my eyes to the two huge gaping holes in the industry, not just in terms of the way the industry served its customers – although undoubtedly this was a problem – but more importantly, inefficiencies and wastage that were always going to stop the private jet industry being accepted by a wider audience.

The problems stem from the staggeringly archaic nature of private jet travel; until recently it was the only means of travel that was not available online. In the fast-paced modern world, this is simply unacceptable as people expect immediacy. Scheduled airlines, trains, boats, whatever mode of transport you like; they’re all available online, you know instantly how much it costs and you can make a booking there and then.

The inefficiency of private jet travel.

Business aviation is hugely complex, yet has not adapted to the advancements in technology and e-commerce going on around it; booking a private jet remains a painstaking process. Still a largely manually-run industry, phoning a broker, who in turn phones a fragmented base of operators, who have to manually produce quotes, is time-consuming and hugely inefficient, especially for the operator when a quote isn’t taken up.

These complexities, as well as the wastage of empty flights (40% of private jet flights are simply aircraft being reposition without passengers) have, to date, limited operator margins and therefore driven prices higher for the consumer, preventing private jet travel being seem as a valid form of transport. It’s a closed industry, seen only as a thing of luxury, and needs to catch up.

Stratajet has the power to change this. The first and only software that can provide real-time, accurate prices of private jet flights, our proprietary search and booking engine is the world’s most advanced of its kind. Stratajet’s pricing engine ensures 100% accurate quotes, with all the fees included, and this automation – on behalf of the aircraft operators – improves their margins, as there is no need for them to spend time on producing the quotes themselves.

Adapting empty legs.

Stratajet is also addressing the problem of private jets flying without passengers due to the necessity for an aircraft to make the return leg after any given journey. Until now no-one has had the ability to solve this problem.

A number of online brokers have been trying to sell passenger-less flights by posting all ‘empty legs’ in the hope that people will find the one that they want. However this breaks a key principle of private aviation; that the aircraft works around the individual, not the other way around. As soon as you’re told ‘you have to go from this airfield at a certain time,’ you’ve got to adapt everything to the aircraft.

Our system is so intelligent that it can search, in real-time, every available flight for any journey, and by including existing empty legs in its search, and adapting these to suit the passenger, the cost of private jet travel can be reduced. There is a significant saving for the customer, while the operators’ profit margins are improved and we’re not just burning jet fuel for the sake of it.

The end of an era.

There’s a lot of noise from other companies who are claiming to be online brokers but none of them can do what Stratajet’s software can. What they do is use a website to collect requests and then they farm them out to operators who still have to quote manually.

In contrast, Stratajet is the culmination of five years of hard work and research by an incredibly smart team to build an extremely complex pricing engine. Because of Stratajet’s potential to fundamentally change the industry and the consumer’s view of it, we can make flying by private jet a reality for the mainstream traveller.

If it all goes well we’ll have a watershed moment in private aviation when people will say there was private aviation before Stratajet and private aviation after Stratajet – it’s a total game-changer.

Jonny Nicol, is founder and CEO of Stratajet, the world’s first ‘real-time’ private jet booking platform, providing instant and accurate costs and availability of private jets

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