Avinode / The Node
With the global celebration of ‘World Wide Web Day’ on August 1, now is the perfect time to reflect on the dramatic way in which the internet has changed private aviation. How have we moved forward in the 30 years since British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web in 1989? What will happen next?
A big thanks to airlines
Bizav certainly owes a debt to our colleagues in the airline industry, whose pioneering websites in the 1990s built public confidence in the ease and security of online air travel booking. Carriers such as Alaska Airlines, Southwest Airlines and British Midland took brave steps into this strange new world of the internet. The public responded eagerly and at a speed that even surprised many industry insiders at the time.
Having seen how successfully the airline industry had embraced and exploited the internet in the 1990s, we at Avinode knew bizav was ready for an online air charter sourcing platform when we launched the company in 2002.
To this day, private aviation watches and learns from how airlines use the internet to develop exciting concepts such as dynamic pricing.
Armed with the internet, charter clients no longer need to rely on information from brokers and operators. Passengers who want to know how a Cessna Citation M2 differs from an Embraer Phenom 300 can find out online for themselves in seconds. Brokers and operators will always help in every way they can but the more clients know about bizav, the more precisely those clients can make the right choices for their unique needs.
And web apps, including our own Avinode products, mean clients can search for flights and empty legs with ease.
In short, the internet gives passengers power and knowledge as never before…not just on the ground but in the air too. Whether passengers are relaxing or working, inflight Wi-Fi means a business aircraft today really is a mid-air ‘home from home’ (or ‘office from office’).
Let’s not forget pricing transparency too. In a pre-internet world, unscrupulous operators or brokers could have been tempted to overcharge, knowing customers had no easy way to find out what a ‘fair’ price was. Now, anyone can gather many quotes online at speed. High quotes are simply ignored. And as average quotes across the industry are consequently driven down, bizav becomes appealing and affordable to more people than ever before.
Industry partners are now connecting and collaborating online with unprecedented speed, clarity and efficiency. We don’t like to show off (well, maybe a little bit) but we’ve played a huge part in that process here at Avinode. Working together through our online air charter marketplace, brokers and operators have never been closer.
The internet has opened so many exciting channels of communication. Bizav customers love the convenience of ‘talking’ to brokers and operators by email but, if a phone call is needed, the internet has stepped in to help there too. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephony, most famously Skype, is often the perfect option when clients need to talk through complex flight issues and personal requirements with their brokers and operators.
And, in the wonderful world of the internet, industry experts are no longer trapped in their offices. Fantastic laptops, smartphones and mobile apps mean brokers and operators can work almost anywhere, 24/7. You canliterally prepare a quote and secure a booking when flying on an aircraft with Wi-Fi at 35,000 feet.
The story has just begun. Looking ahead, the internet will bring even greater efficiency to private aviation. The more we analyze online activities, the more we can understand and predict industry needs, delivering productive services that require minimal client interactions.Look at how our new ‘Takeoff Ready’ search filter saves time by effectively ‘pre-answering’ the question: “Is the aircraft actually ready to fly within 96 hours?”
And, elsewhere, generations raised with virtual assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa in their homes, and Apple’s Siri on their phones, will surely expect to be booking private flights through voice technologies soon.
There are so many ways in which the internet will improve private aviation. We certainly haven’t explored every possibility yet. At Avinode, we can’t wait to play our part in this exciting online future.
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