Over the past few years, the use of data and new technology has transformed commercial aviation. Pre-flight and post-flight operations – including everything from ticket purchase and seat selection to luggage drop-off and boarding – can all be done at a touch of a button.
Can the same be said for private aviation? Not quite.
Lengthy negotiations, aircraft approvals, hidden costs, and quotation lead times often mean that private charter operators and brokers have a lot of work to do behind the scenes before any private jet booking is secured – and lack of real-time access to data is holding their sector back.
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Innovative data platforms have the potential to bring about a big digital leap forward for the private air charter industry. By using data to improve the way that charters are secured, the industry can keep up with ever-increasing demand, increase efficiency, and meet sustainability targets. But a reluctance to embrace new ways of doing things is what’s holding the private aviation industry back.
Private air charter operators and brokers need to work together to embrace data-driven initiatives if the sector is going to experience the transformation it needs to flourish in a digital future. With demand for private jet travel having passed pre-pandemic levels and showing no signs of slowing down, now is the time for the private aviation industry to tune in to technological advancements.
Here, AeroBid looks at three ways data and new technology can transform private aviation – from empty legs to increased affordability.
Real-time data has the potential to bring about the end of empty legs (almost)
With so much data being generated at digital touch points, and increased demand for private jet travel, there should be no shortage of data available to help operators fill their ‘empty leg’ flights.
Yet up to 50% of repositioning flights are still flying without passengers – impacting sustainability, flight availability, and operator profits. While several apps and platforms have attempted to address this in recent years, none have really succeeded in fixing the problem – but that could be very different in the near future.
Unlike static bidding platforms, AeroBid believes it has finally found the solution. Using real-time data as its key differentiator, coupled with smart technology and instant alert features, brokers put out live requests for their client’s charter, featuring dates, location, and any aircraft specifications. At the same time, operators view incoming requests in real-time and bid for the charter accordingly.
AeroBid’s sole function is not only to help operators fill empty legs, or brokers access them for their clients. It works as a real-time air charter bidding platform and uses data to fundamentally change the way that brokers and operators work with each other to secure charters.
Yet it’s the notifications feature that has the most potential to tackle the empty leg issue. Operators can receive instant notifications on key air charter data – like region, date, or airport – allowing them to not only be notified of the flights that best fit their area of operation or gaps in their flight schedule but could also specifically flag flights that correspond with repositioning flights.
These could be an exact airport match, a request within that region, or even a location that’s conveniently placed along the repositioning flight path.
Will data succeed in completely eradicating empty legs from private air travel? It’s unlikely, but if the air charter industry can keep pace with new platforms in existence, data has the potential to reduce the number of empty repositioning flights, tighten up efficiency and sustainability, and help the industry to maximise its profits.
It’s helping the industry to take a step closer to sustainability
An increasing number of private aircraft operators are pledging to become carbon neutral. While carbon offsetting is still a big part of this process for air travel, the key to real sustainability is efficiency – whether that’s by reducing unnecessary flights (like the empty legs mentioned above) or creating more efficient ways to power aircraft.
An increasing number of commercial airlines are investing in data-driven solutions designed to provide insight into their fleet’s efficiency, including Malaysia Airlines and Emirates, who have both adopted GE Digital’s Fuel Insight and FlightPulse Pre-flight data solutions.
These data platforms provide insight into a multitude of factors that are impacting aircraft efficiency, including fuel consumption. With information like this available to them, airlines have the potential to reduce fuel consumption – which can also hasten their full adoption of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).
So, what does this mean for private aircraft operators? While some larger operators are investing in their own data-powered analytics platforms, not every operator will adopt these data-intensive platforms – but the more data generated in both private and commercial aviation alike, the more opportunities both will see for technological advancements that promote sustainability.
It’s creating more affordable private travel
In theory, greater efficiency equals greater affordability. Yet there is another aspect to data-driven affordability in the private aviation sector. With consumer demand for private air travel soaring, private charter operators have an opportunity to closely examine customer behaviour, adapt their operations to suit changing passenger habits, and offer more accessible, affordable options.
For instance, while flight sharing hasn’t been a popular option in the past – with passengers overwhelmingly opting to travel privately for the enhanced privacy it brings – a new breed of private aviation customer is driving demand for the service. With the right data-driven insight into customer behaviour and preferences, private charter operators could explore alternatives to their traditional operating models.
With the wider industry going through a data and analytics transformation, a shift in mindset is what the private aviation industry requires. If this happens, we are bound to expect plenty more data and technological advancements to come.