In an interview with Avionics magazine, Shaircraft Solutions CEO, James Butler, was asked for his thoughts on what he calls the “Uberization” of private air travel – digital applications essentially functioning as third-party charter operators.
“In a private aviation market environment in which there is underutilized capacity, e.g., aircraft sitting on the ground, creative marketers are wont to dream up ‘programs’ with catchy names and slogans that make use of this excess capacity,” said Butler.
Such excess capacity and clever marketing combined with advanced technology has resulted in the development of Uber-like apps through which travelers literally can charter a jet with the push of a button.
Butler cautions those who may use such applications, citing safety as “paramount.” “Flying at 40,000 feet is not like taking a two block ride in someone’s car, especially so if the company you are paying to has little experience in the business, and only the most tangential relationship to the person ‘driving’ the car, and the cost of the flight is perhaps 5,000 times greater than that short ride. There are few fender benders in private aviation.”
Behind the mask of a mobile device, very important questions may not get answered. “It’s essential that you see beyond the fancy marketing and do extensive due diligence to make certain that you are making the right choice,” Butler said. “Look behind the cool app and ask the right questions — who is really operating the aircraft? What type of aircraft is it and what is its vintage? What safety equipment does it have? What is the pilot’s experience flying this aircraft? What is the cancellation policy? And so on.”
The complete article can be seen here.