Over the past 24 hours, two of the major players on the consumer solutions side of private aviation have each taken significant steps, both of which could change the way you buy private jet travel in the future.
Yesterday, PrivateFly, part of Kenn Ricci Directional aviation group since Last september, announced that it was rolling out fixed fares during the summer for one-way flights between New York City and airports serving Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay Air for a flat $ 29,000 in each direction.
It follows a test last winter between London and Geneva and then a more extensive offer of 16 courses mainly from London and Paris to key summer destinations, but also between Rome and Milan as well as from Moscow to Geneva and Nice.
For Ricci, who also controls Flexjet, who ranks second behind NetJets in the fractional share and lease space, and Sentient Jet, a leader in the jet card segment, it marks the expansion of a new product that falls somewhere between on-demand charter and jet cards. Earlier this month, she also launched a new program selling shares on its Gulfstream G650 fleet by days instead of hours, converting a traditional share of 200 hours per year per quarter into a 75-day increment.
Flohr’s next move
This morning Thomas Flohr and his Dubai-based VistaGlobal took the plunge, combining the new acquisition JetSmarter and XOJET brands in a new entity, XO, with the slogan “powered by JetSmarter technology”.
Flohr, who says the global charter market generates $ 11 billion in annual sales, plans to use the new FlyXO.com platform alongside VistaJet to showcase its portfolio of light asset solutions, including brokerage of clients on partner fleets.
The new website allows users to book individual seats on shared flights, book flights and then sell seats they don’t need, get quotes for full charter flights on demand and also purchase instant booking flights, which are sold like many jet cards, on the basis of a cabin category, rather than a specific type of aircraft. PrivateFly’s City Pairs product offers specific types of aircraft.
Returning to XO, much of the new site is a combination of content that previously existed on the JetSmarter and XOJET websites. For example, there is a detailed overview of the three XO jet card programs: Select Access, Signature Access and Elite Access.
Leading members of the XO program now enjoy benefits previously associated with JetSmarter products, including a price cap of $ 600 per seat per hour on crowdsourced flights, the ability to select seats in advance as well as the ability to to reserve seats on shared flights for non-members. .
XO jet card members can share seats they don’t need
What’s new… and the big deal is that XO program members can use their deposits to purchase both individual seats on shared flights as well as instant booking flights. In other words, they can compare their fares to their jet card fares, using the fares and program that offer the most benefits for each trip.
While a jet card fare might be higher on an hourly basis for some trips, if it included de-icing, better cancellation policies, and guaranteed mechanical recovery, it might still be better suited if you you were going to a critical meeting. That said, you could also save money when instant booking flights beat the prices of your jet card.
In terms of aircraft available to book, Vista Global says it includes 116 super-midsize, large-cabin and ultra-long-range jets from the VistaJet fleet and the former XOJET fleet, which is now operated by XOJET Aviation. , LLC. Vista Global as a foreign company can only hold a minority stake in its US operator, not to be confused with the brand, now XO, which encompasses sales, marketing and technology.
According to its website, XO says it can offer more than 3,000 private jets on demand, apparently mostly from the inventory of former XOJET’s aircraft operated by preferred partners that meet its criteria. supply.
At the time of its sale to Vista Global, XOJET was generating over $ 100 million in non-fleet charter sales. While JetSmarter was widely known for its memberships offering individual seats on shared private flights, in June 2017 information it was showing to potential investors indicated that it had generated $ 44 million in full charter sales in 2016. , up from $ 24 million in 2015. time, he forecast $ 83 million for 2017, rising to $ 606 million for 2019.
This was before his astounding fall from valuation in billions of dollars acquisition target, harassed by complaints about sales tactics and how she handled member complaints, which led to my article on Forbes.com “Trying to understand the problems of JetSmarter“in August 2018 and CNBC January 2019 report titled “Tailspin”.
An agreement that would make him pay more than $ 6 million in a collective arbitration settlement is waiting.
By moving the JetSmarter brand to the side, Vista Global can leverage the online broker’s technology and apply it to all of its assets, increasing bookings and utilization of the VistaJet fleet.
At the same time, by guaranteeing the JET part of XOJET, it loses a mark that is highly regarded for both safety and service. Each website had also developed a significant presence with online search engines, which have now become the showcase for private aviation providers.
For Ricci, bringing fixed airfares to the United States perhaps foreshadows what could be a fashionable aerospace product. Virtually all on-demand charters, even if they include getting quotes through an app, still require hours to days to confirm the flight and final price, make sure the plane and crews will be both available and handle numerous logistics.
Being able to know the exact cost of your flight in advance offers one-way, jet-card-like pricing that eliminates ferry fees while avoiding having to deposit hundreds of thousands of dollars upfront. Alas, for now, these are only two routes and only during the summer.
While JetSmarter’s and now XO’s instant booking prices guarantee the rate when you click to buy, they are based on dynamic prices, so they vary by day which means you don’t know what the cost will be up to. ‘what you were looking for and buying. Allowing members of the XO jet card to choose the best solution for each flight is a possible change.
Even if this is just a start, the new PrivateFly and XO products offer a possible glimpse into what some of the new options for private aviation solutions might look like.
And after? Expect more movement. Earlier this month, Wheels up, another player vying to stay in the top tier of players said they acquired TMC Jets, bringing more than 20 light jets to their existing King Air 350is, a turboprop, and Citation XLS, a mid-size jet, and its Quote Super-intermediate Xs.