NEW YORK (MainStreet) Don't think you will never afford private aviation.
A quiet revolution is occurring, mainly triggered by the miseries involved in entering most US airports - have you been to JFK in Queens recently? Crowds, long lines, security hassles add up to a big bother that has many of us scouting for alternatives.
Another factor: the stock of private planes available to fly one-off passengers keeps inching up as owners seek to monetize their sizable investments (a Gulfstream G-650 will set you back $65 million plus custom cabin features). That plane is not making a dime parked in an airport and - worse - if it flies home empty that is money lost in pilot pay, jet fuel, and wear and tear.
Enter JetSmarter, a company that bills itself as the Uber of private aviation. Its aim, said the CEO Sergey Petrossov in a Mainstreet interview, is to disrupt the market, mainly by delivering realtime booking info - prices and availability - to an app.
"We are about the sale of empty capacity, that's why our prices will be much cheaper," he said. "We are eliminating the middleman and the lack of transparency. We empower consumers."
Before JetSmarter - and, watch, there will be a stampede of competitors into a market that technology is making possible - the only way to shop for an available private plane was to work the phone, calling up middlemen who positioned themselves between available inventory and would-be fliers. Petrossov's intent is to wipe out the middlemen, use computer technology to better access and organize available flight inventory and make it easy for fliers - using their own smartphones and the JetSmarter app - to sort through the planes that are in their vicinity and ready to make their travels real.