Category Archive: Avinode

  1. Chris Kuiper – Removing the barriers to private jet travel

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    Hi Chris. Can you tell us about the idea behind Catch-a-Jet

    We’re an app that’s been created to connect the empty leg flights of private jet operators with travellers.

    The end user is our start point for everything, and the app really is built around them and their needs. The result is a solution where they can book and pay for an empty leg flight in under a minute. And our goal is always to make it as efficient and as easy as possible.


    And what was your inspiration for the app?

    Well, the idea came about as a result of a conversation I had with a private jet operator. He told me that around 50% of his flights were flown without passengers. I was curious, so I dug deeper to understand the figures and see what’s been done in the past to try and reach the end users for these empty legs.

    What really motivated me was the idea of removing the barriers, for both end users and operators. Listening to the industry, and to a lot of potential end users, has influenced our business model.

    Operators would typically have to pay to feature on a platform like ours, but we’ve made it as attractive as possible by not charging them anything until the flight has been sold through our platform.
    And for end users, they don’t want a platform where they must register first, provide an email address in return for membership, or be bombarded with notifications. So, we’ve avoided all of those things.


    The Catch-a-Jet app uses the Avinode Empty Leg API. How have you found working with Avinode?

    It’s been fantastic, and I’ve learnt so much from the guys at Avinode about the technology and APIs in general.

    I’m very grateful for Avinode because you’re the biggest on the planet at what you do, and the support you’ve given me… you guys rock!

    I’ve been working closely with Sam Sidea, one of your engineers. Sam is worth a statue to your company in my view. I’ve also had a lot of support from Viktoriya (Gopfauf) and Saskia (de Jong) – they’ve been a pleasure to work with.


    And what does that API integration mean?

    It means that we’re able to make something that’s unique and attractive to end users and operators.

    Take operators for example. If they had to constantly input their flights manually, that’s a lot of work for the sales department. But by integrating the Avinode API, they only need to verify which flights should be appearing, and the rest is taken care of automatically. And of course, they keep full control over the flights and any details associated with it.

    Also, the API integrated into our platform lets us pull data from Avinode, which also makes it easy for us to add and onboard new operators. And now there’s the empty leg pricing module too, so we can offer more accurate pricing, which is invaluable.

    Take operators for example. If they had to constantly input their flights manually, that’s a lot of work for the sales department. But by integrating the Avinode API, they only need to verify which flights should be appearing, and the rest is taken care of automatically. And of course, they keep full control over the flights and any details associated with it.

    Also, the API integrated into our platform lets us pull data from Avinode, which also makes it easy for us to add and onboard new operators. And now there’s the empty leg pricing module too, so we can offer more accurate pricing, which is invaluable.


    You’re providing a solution where everybody wins?

    Yes, we are. For operators, if they receive €1,000 for an empty leg flight that’s better than the alternative, which is to take nothing at all. And every flight booked could lead to a new lifetime customer if we get people onboard an aircraft who have never been on a private jet before.


    It sounds like you really know you audience

    That’s true, and we’ve done a lot of research. In each country where we go live we have a marketing person who has profiled our potential end users. We’re typically looking at 30-75 year olds who can afford empty leg flights, and this is a big market.

    Marketing is as important as the platform for us, and we’ve made it our business to know about these people; the events they attend, the magazines they read, and the brands they’re drawn to. We’re currently looking at some exciting partnerships with brands that share our audience, so we can come together to offer them a complete and unique travel experience.


    It sounds like exciting times ahead, Chris. Best of luck in the future

    Thank you. We’re still a relatively new business but things are going well, and we know there’s potential to make a real difference in the sector.


  2. Wenche Knutsen – 20 years of building great relationships

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    How has working with Avinode impacted your business?  

    “Working with Avinode during all these years has made it so much easier to market our aircraft to buyers. It enables us to build a greater network in the industry and make new connections with both brokers and operators.”

    Can you mention a favourite memory from your time with Avinode? 

    “We have so many fun memories from spending time with Avinode’s team at both trade shows and networking events such as the Avinode Academy. From the start, the Avinode team has always been well-known as a bunch of happy, competent, and welcoming people. We especially appreciate these opportunities to meet with other professionals in the industry.”

    What are your hopes for the future of business aviation?

    “Now that the COVID pandemic is over, we’re hoping to attend more events in person and be able to build new relationships in person again. We look forward to Avinode facilitating this. In our experience Avinode has always been a great platform where operators and brokers connect, both online and in person.”

  3. Jesper Kragelund – 20 years of optimizing sales and operations

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    How has working with Avinode impacted your business? 

    “Through the years, our cooperation with Avinode has made a huge positive impact on our business and daily work. First of all, we have gained customers from all over the world. These customers would, most likely, never have found North Flying in Aalborg,  Denmark, without the Avinode platform. And we’re still finding new contacts via the Avinode network today.

    Our sales and operation staff has saved a lot of man hours by optimizing our fleet, prices and transient aircraft around Europe through the system.”

    Can you mention a favourite moment from your time with Avinode? 

    “We have many favorite moments with the Avinode team, such as the outstanding parties at Avinode Academy and many late nights with the team in Geneva.

    On a more professional note, we really value the recent introduction of Paynode. Being part of the Paynode network makes it so much easier to get paid from overseas in due time before a flight. We’re happy to see that more and more of our clients are starting to use Paynode.”

    Looking 20 years ahead, what do you predict will have the largest impact on your business?

    “We expect to face some challenges with the green transition that is happening in aviation. It will surely have an impact on our common business. Not to mention the introduction and possibilities of BIO fuel.

    We’re looking forward to another 20 great years with the Avinode team!”

  4. Merlyn Patricio – Working to create the best user experience for our customers

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    Hi Merlyn. Tell us about your typical working day

    As a UX designer here at Avinode Group, I help our product teams build the best solutions by working closely with users and putting them at the center of things.

    My typical working day starts with stand-up team meetings where we update each other on what happened yesterday and what we’ll do today. These meetings happen for both the development teams that I’m working with and the UX team that I’m part of as well.

    From late morning onwards, once I’m aligned around what needs to be done, I’ll focus on my tasks.


    It sounds like there’s always lots going on?

    There is, yes, and no two days are the same. That’s one of the things I love about UX design, it never gets boring. We can always make the user experience better, and I love doing that while collaborating with like-minded people who understand the value of design.


    And do you talk to customers much?

    Yes, I do. I talk to them when we have a question in mind or want to test out a solution. This first-hand information from the people using the product is so useful. It tells us whether we’re on the right track, if some tweaks are needed, or when an idea is lacking impact. Our customers are amazing at supporting us because they understand that we care about their experience.


    You were born and raised in the Philippines. How did you end up in Sweden?

    While studying Business at University in the Philippines, I became involved in social projects. We were doing a lot of different things, such as projects to educate kids in nutrition and basic urban farming.

    We had volunteers from all over the world come to help, and that’s where I met my Swedish girlfriend. We decided that it made sense for us to live in Sweden together.


    And did you have a UX background?

    Yes, I was already working in UX in the Philippines. I was at a start-up before moving to an agency where we worked with a range of different clients. That’s where I first thought that this is something I want to do seriously as a career.

    The question was really whether it was possible to continue my UX journey in Sweden. It’s a big change in culture, there’s the language barrier, plus the fact that I had no experience of working here.


    But it all worked out

    Luckily, yes. Before Avinode Group I began working as a consultant for one of the big UX consultancy firms here in Gothenburg. While I was there I met some people from Avinode, and it sounded like a great company with great people.

    I was also really interested in taking on a new challenge. I knew that Avinode was a complex system, and it was nice that they thought I would be a good addition to the team.


    How different is the work culture in Sweden compared to the Philippines?

    The corporate culture in the Philippines is more traditional. In Sweden, and here at Avinode, things are more relaxed and people trust you to get the job done. I feel free to share my thoughts and ideas because the people I work with make me feel like I can fail and make mistakes and that’s ok because we can just work on it together.

    In the Philippines, people are obsessed with the 9-5. The commute can also be crazy – it could take 2-3 hours to get home with the traffic, which makes it hard to maintain a hobby outside of work.


    So, you have more free time now?

    I certainly have a lot more time. I can now make time in my day to sit with my thoughts, meditate and do some breathing exercises. That’s a big part of my morning for sure.

    After work I try to exercise. I jog or go to the gym, and I’ve even got back into playing tennis. Sometimes I also play the guitar to relax.


    And what are you loving most about life at Avinode?

    I love that Avinode is a really friendly company for international employees. There are people from all over the world in the business.

    Although we’re an English-speaking company, everyone is very open to me practicing my Swedish. They make it comfortable for me to do that – and there are lots of people in the same boat.

    This has helped make it easy for me to integrate into the company and to life in Sweden.

  5. What demand to expect for the festive season?

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    The US domestic market has boomed this autumn. The Avinode demand index climbed steadily since the turn of the year and reached new heights over Thanksgiving, matching the record number of flights that took place. Our forecast – based on a mix of prior year data and forward-looking request data – is indicating that Christmas and New Year traffic could be even greater. The watch out is how reliable Christmas 2020 can be as an indicator for Christmas 2021, given the very different factors at play – including the vaccination roll out, commercial aviation schedules and the community spread of omicron.  

    Index of internal demand in the USA
    Rolling 14-day index of internal demand within the USA in 2021 and into 2022. Black is historical data, green is forecasted. Day of year along the horizontal axis.

    Looking at the festive period in detail, Boxing Day – which falls on a Sunday this year – is the big travel day, with return journeys focused on Sunday 2nd January. There is a large flow of demand taking folks back up to the colder northern states after some time in the Florida sunshine. Trips to ski breaks in the mountains are showing a similar pattern but with some earlier demand too – arrivals into Aspen are very strong on 17th and 18th December. The big international markets are Mexico, the Bahamas, Sint Maarten, Turks & Caicos, and the Dominican Republic.

    Avinode Index of hourly rates for US domestic trips
    Rolling 28-day index of hourly rates for US domestic trips.

    With high demand and low supply mixing with high fuel prices, it is no surprise that rates are increasing. The Avinode hourly rates pricing index for the US has been rising since the start of the year and is at record levels for all aircraft bar super midsize jets, which peaked in October. With such record activity and increasing rates, it has become more challenging to get quotes that reflect the final price of a trip.

    To counter this effect, we added a price estimate column in search results last year, creating transparency between our brokers and operators. When sorting on estimate price, it gives buyers a better idea of the final price. In this challenging market situation with low supply and high demand, I recommend using the estimate when searching for aircraft.

    Intra-European charter demand through Avinode has followed its typical seasonal pattern but with a shallower slope down from the summer peak than previous years. The Christmas holiday peak is expected to follow the same daily pattern as in the US, with an added busy travel date on Sunday 9th January. Looking further forward, the UK to Alps ski peak on Saturday 12th February – with return a week later – is already taking shape. Chambery and Innsbruck are most popular.

    Avinode index of internal demand within Europe
    Rolling 14-day index of internal demand within Europe in 2021 and into 2022. Black is historical data, green is forecasted. Day of year along the horizontal axis.

    From Russia, demand is focused on Sunday 2nd January with the return taking place on Sunday 9th January. France and Switzerland are in the top 3 most popular destinations, with the Maldives in second place. Dates between 25th-29th December are also busy, but for this period it is the Maldives and Dubai that are the most popular destinations. Despite their popularity, the Maldives and Dubai are down 30-50% compared to last year – ski holidays are back in demand.

    Hourly rates within the intra-European market are slightly higher than November 2019, having rebounded throughout the summer. Rates are most robust in the Entry Level Jet category – up around 10% on 2019. Hourly rates are also high for Light Jet and Super Light Jet categories, up around 4%.

    Avinode index of hourly rates for intra-European trips.
    Rolling 28-day index of hourly rates for intra-European trips.

    Of course, the big question mark is how much tighter travel restrictions may get. Undoubtably the tougher restrictions are, the longer it will take commercial aviation to recover. This could mean a continuing opportunity for private charter to woo new clientele into 2022.

  6. Adrian Stopp – Ensuring our tech experts can focus on what they do best

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    Tell us about your role, Adrian

    I’m Engineering Manager which means I manage the people, resources, and processes in
    our tech department. It’s my job to keep everything running smoothly.

    The tech guys are so talented. When it comes to developing our products and what code
    goes where, that’s where they excel. But I take care of the many other things around that,
    such as having good processes in place, ensuring that people are happy in general and
    hiring new team members.

    Although I don’t have any technical experience myself, the team is happy because it means I
    can’t micromanage them even if I wanted to.


    So, you bring those ‘softer’ management skills to the team

    That’s right. It’s really common for example that the best Sales Manager becomes the Sales
    Director. But wouldn’t you want your best salesperson doing what they do so well? If you
    have someone who is good at managing people but not so good at selling, it makes more
    sense for that person to be Sales Director.

    The same goes for tech. You don’t want your best engineer also taking care of the other
    aspects of a role that will mean they have less time to code.


    This is not your first role at Avinode, is it?

    No, I’ve been with the business for 10 years. I arrived as an intern and after six months I was
    hired. And I’m still here!

    I started off in sales, taking care of the Nordic countries before expanding into other
    European territories. I did that for five years but began to feel that sales wasn’t my calling in
    life. The novelty of traveling so much on my own was also wearing off.


    And then you took a sabbatical

    I did. In Sweden we’re lucky to be able to take a sabbatical and keep our job. It’s great to
    have that security of knowing you have a role to go back to.

    So I went to China for a year. I lived in a city called Ningbo, just south of Shanghai. I studied
    Business Management at a British university – University of Nottingham, which has a branch
    out there – and it was a fantastic time. I learned a lot about Chinese people and their culture.

    When I returned to Avinode, I wanted to do something different, so I joined the Commercial
    Development department. Along with my manager in Miami, we ran that department for a
    couple of years. I oversaw our CRM system project, amongst other things.


    It sounds like Avinode Group has given you a lot of freedom to move around

    Yeah, I’ve certainly benefitted from that freedom, and the business really does empower and
    trust its staff in lots of ways.

    If you’ve been hired by Avinode, you’re free to make the best decisions you can make.
    People won’t micromanage you. As an employee, you really feel that trust and I’ve always
    felt that in my time at the company.


    Just going back to your Engineering Manager role, what’s the biggest challenge you
    currently face?

    Oh, recruiting, definitely. Finding great developers is tough because they’re in high demand.
    If you’re a developer looking for a cool company to work for, there are many options out
    there, and Avinode is just one of them. It’s a competitive market.

    Also, I’m always hiring. It’s a continuous journey as we grow the team and people move on
    naturally.


    But when you’re not hiring, what do you like to do outside of work?

    My life outside of work really evolves around my young family. I have two children aged six
    months and two and a half years. I love to cook and recently I’ve been following NFL closely
    – I’ve found that I can still watch a game while carrying a baby around.