In an opaque and competitive business aviation market where booking methods are still very traditional (i.e., fax, email, telephone, swift), a Luxembourgish startup has placed its bet on transparency, quality and digital. We met Anne-Céline Lescop, founder and CEO of the startup CaptainJet, one of the first players in the world to offer a mobile application and a web platform to efficiently book a private jet, in order to get an overview of the startup’s strategy and ambitions.
Up until recently, there were only two options for booking a flight on a private jet. The first was to call all the airlines, and the second was to call on two to three brokers to do the work for you. You had to therefore make sure to take care of the booking process in advance of the date you intended to fly. From now on, you will no longer need intermediaries to book your flight; you’ll have the solution right in your pocket.
Thanks to a simple, fun and graphical interface, CaptainJet places its users at the heart of the customer experience by allowing them to choose their destination, the plane and also to compare the prices and the quality of each available offer. “Until now, a request could take up to 24 hours to verify the traffic rights, accessibility of the airport, etc. We offer a simple, playful and transparent click & book solution and we create a real relationship with each of our clients,” says Lescop. “The added value of brokers is no longer what it was and Internet users are now more empowered than ever when it comes to booking private jets,” she adds.
Transparency and going digital
CaptainJet has reinvented the intermediary profession by breaking with the sector’s tradition of opacity and playing the card of transparency. Lescop explains, “We want to make the booking process more efficient and create a true community spirit that brings together users of all ages. The air taxi sector needs a lot of work and to become more efficient and open to as many people as possible,” adds Lescop.
Today, 70% of flights still go through intermediaries. However, CaptainJet is retooling the link between customers and airlines with its powerful digital tool available on iOS and Android and a web version with clean design. Features such as a rating system, a virtual aircraft tour and a tool to share flights with community members will soon be added. Thus, the cleanliness of the aircraft, the comfort of the flying experience, and the flexibility and friendliness of the crew are all criteria taken into account.
“We aim to generate 4,000 flights a year within 5 years.” With a European air taxi market estimated at 1 billion euros, there is no doubt that CaptainJet has great potential for growth. CaptainJet will complete a first round of fundraising in the first quarter of 2017 in order to expand its European office as well as open an office in the United States by the end of 2017. “The web platform has been operational since the end of November 2016 and has already been used to book more than twenty flights. This is the tool both customers and airlines have been waiting for!”
This article was first published in SILICON