Market Insights / News

‘Access economy’ ushers in business aviation’s next 15 years of change

21 Dec 2016

A lot has happened in the past 15 years. Business aviation milestones in 2001 included the first ever EBACE trade show, the first flight of the Embraer Legacy 600 and the launch of Delta Private Jets through the rebranding of Comair Jet Express.

A lot has happened in the past 15 years. Business aviation milestones in 2001 included the first ever EBACE trade show, the first flight of the Embraer Legacy 600 and the launch of Delta Private Jets through the rebranding of Comair Jet Express.

In the same year, Avinode’s founders started work on the technology that would become the Avinode Marketplace. In the intervening years, we’ve been proud to be the leading player in the online transformation of business air charter, bringing brokers and operators together through an efficient online sourcing platform. Today, the Avinode Marketplace is relied upon by 6,000 aviation professionals daily, with 3,200 aircraft listed and half a million flight requests processed a month. 

However, as we approach the start of 2017 our industry is once again on the brink of profound change. And, interestingly, the forces that will shape its next 15 years also first appeared in 2001, but outside the aviation industry. 

That year, Apple brought online music to the mainstream with the launch of iTunes, while music file-sharing site Napster hit 26m users. The same year also saw the birth of Wikipedia and the first anniversary of TripAdvisor, ushering in the notion of the ‘sharing economy’. 

Those introductions were early movers in the explosive growth of e-commerce and the wholesale redefinition of how customers expect to engage with suppliers, products and services. 

Per Marthinsson, Co-Founder of Avinode and Head of Avinode Americas, says: “Today, we live in an access economy. People are choosing to rent rather than buy: whether it’s a home through Airbnb, a car through Zipcar or a bicycle through Citi Bike, experience is more important than ownership. 

“Potentially, this creates huge opportunities for charter aviation, with greater appetites for sharing an aircraft on a scheduled or ad hoc basis. However, that opportunity only exist for brokers and operators who keep up with the technology that underpins today’s online customer experience.”

For business aviation to keep up the pace with customer expectations, the technological challenges are threefold. The digital user experience has migrated from the desktop to mobile devices, with customers expecting their needs to be met in the palm of their hand. At the same time, they’ve grown accustomed to purchase options that are tailored to their personal preferences. And when they’re ready to buy, they want the transaction to be made at the click of a button, with their personal information kept safely beyond the reach of hackers. Even when a transaction is not booked online, customers are ultimately expecting to have technology assist them in the service delivery.

Over the past decade, Avinode has been supporting several brokers at the forefront of this change. Firms such as Jetsmarter, PrivateFly and Victor have been among the first to embrace the opportunities of the mobile-centric access economy, with their B2C booking platforms powered by the Avinode Marketplace. 

“By blending the convenience of online with the courtesy and attentiveness of the human touch, these companies have pioneered a model we believe many more brokers and operators will adopt,” says Marthinsson. “Avinode is committed to helping all our members thrive in the new online economy and we’re investing to create the tools they will need.”

As its latest introduction, Avinode Group last month launched PayNode, the world’s first online payment platform specifically built for business aviation. PayNode is available to Marketplace members and non-members alike and brings major time-saving, cash flow and data security benefits. In 2017, the system will be expanded from handling credit card payments to also supporting bank wire transfers.

“Traditional brokers and operators without an online strategy will still win business through their customer relationships,” says Marthinsson. “However, the internet brings much greater price transparency, so their margins will come under increasing pressure. At the same time, as the functionality of online channels grows, the power of purely personal relationships will shift.”

“Therefore, our hope for 2017 is to help many more members adapt their businesses to the online era. Avinode offers the world’s leading end-to-end charter solution, comprising the world largest online Marketplace, SchedAeroscheduling software for operators, Trip Manager for brokers and PayNode for anyone doing business in this industry. Preparing your business for the next 15 years is a smaller step than many think.”

Keep reading