New Delhi: As the Indian government strives to make flying affordable for the masses with its regional connectivity scheme, aircraft charter companies are charting a similar flight path as aggregators — much like Ola and Uber — and offering fares that are up to 50% cheaper.
As an aggregator, a company would offer flyers all available aircraft on one platform and optimise the use of the planes. There are 129 general aviation operators in the country and about 60 of them have fixed-wing aircraft in their fleets, while the remainder has only helicopters.
Conventionally, most charter companies charge customers all the costs associated with hiring an aircraft — travel from the home base, the actual trip, and the empty return leg. With the aggregator model, aircraft chartering charges can drop by as much as 50%.
By positioning aircraft strategically across the country and by matching demand and supply more efficiently, the overall flying time can be reduced, significantly lowering costs for customers vis-a-vis the rate charged by a standalone charter company, according to Kanika Tekriwal, co-founder of Jet-SetGo, a New Delhi-based business charter company with cricketer Yuvraj Singh as one of its investors.
“The cost differential can, hence, even be as high as 50%,” said Tekriwal. Hiring an aircraft with six to nine seats currently, ranges from Rs 150,000 to Rs 200,000 an hour. Air One Aviation Pvt, promoted by the former president of Air Sahara Alok Sharma, is in the business charter business and has offered up to 500 planes through its subsidiary Ezee Charter Pvt. Sharma said the charter business segment in the country is set to grow and he plans to tap the leisure travel market.
“At a later stage, we want to launch holiday packages, which will have on offer flights according to passenger convenience and hotels to a group of people flying to a particular destination. Going ahead, I see a lot of charter flights being used for leisure travel and a big market is waiting to be tapped,” said Sharma.
19/10/17 Mihir Mishra/Times of India