Estimated reading time 9 minutes, 15 seconds.
Saeed Golzar believes there’s a lot to see right here in Canada, and he’s creating an online resource to help people explore this country’s incredible sights.
Enter Airble, a B.C.-based technology platform and marketplace business model that will connect passengers directly with private jets, helicopters, float planes, and turboprops. If it has wings – fixed or rotary – Airble promises to help travelers get on board, opening up a new level of mobility for all Canadians.
“Imagine Expedia with private aircraft, or Airbnb with private aircraft,” explained Golzar, CEO and founder of Airble.
It all started back in 2019, when he was traveling to a remote destination and wished there was an app that would let him charter a helicopter on demand.
“There was no such thing,” Golzar told Skies. “I decided to do something about it. We started slowly. I was the founder and we had no investors at the time. It took a while to gather the team, and then Covid hit, so we were delayed again.”
Today, Airble is located within an FBO at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, British Columbia. Golzar and a fast-growing team have been working hard to build the two key components of the Airble business model: passengers and aircraft.
The premise is simple: Airble’s website and app will allow passengers to compare and book private flights, reserving an entire aircraft and sharing the seats with whomever they choose. In addition to on-demand travel, the platform will track so-called “empty legs,” where an aircraft is returning to its home base without passengers. Travellers can then book these seats at reduced prices, with the added benefit of no lineups and no security delays.
“We are a technology platform only,” explained Golzar. “We do not touch the price — our job is only to show the options. We are not pushing the passengers to choose any particular option.”
The Airble team has been busy approaching aircraft owners and operators to bring them into the fold.
“They need a platform that will help them profit from unused aircraft time,” continued Golzar. “We have five air operators on board now, waiting for us to go live. Three more are about to sign, with more in the pipeline. They love the technology; they love the idea.”
As of late June, Airble’s confirmed operator partners in B.C. included Streak Air in Kamloops, the first to come on board; Sky Helicopters in Pitt Meadows; Gulf Island Seaplanes in Ladysmith; Liard Air in Muncho Lake; and Bella Coola Air in Campbell River. All together, Golzar said Airble has 15 aircraft in its system, ranging from helicopters to floatplanes to turboprops.
The new service is looking to partner with more air operators, and attended the 2022 Canadian Business Aviation Association (CBAA) conference in Toronto in mid-June to spread the word.
“The reaction at the CBAA show was amazing,” said Golzar. “While talking to smaller air operators, we heard there is a lack of technology to facilitate their business. There are actually hundreds of airlines in Canada, but people only think of Air Canada, WestJet, etc. Our job is to let the community know there are so many smaller operators who can access smaller airports closer to you.”
Airble’s new mobile app is now undergoing user testing and is expected to go live by the end of July.
“As soon as the app is live, we’ll energetically approach all Canadian air operators,” said Golzar. “We are excited. We see this as a great opportunity to showcase our beautiful country and bring tourism to locations unknown, through local air operators who are also excited to be part of Airble’s journey.”
Meanwhile, Airble will be advertising its services to prospective passengers.
Eventually, the goal is to have a network of small fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, floatplanes, and smaller airlines, with everything connected in one app that can be accessed by travelers. As the platform develops, Airble is hoping to incorporate passenger loyalty incentives.
Golzar said the plan is to expand eastward across Canada and then, eventually, across the U.S. from west to east.
“The timeline will depend on Airble investors, who want to see the growth,” he explained. “As soon as we can sell tickets in B.C., we will keep moving forward. We want to have the Canadian market in hand first, then the U.S.”
Airble has been working to obtain all necessary approvals with Transport Canada and the Canadian Transportation Agency, as well as the Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of Transportation south of the border.
Golzar’s diverse aviation industry background has helped him build the Airble business model. A former airline pilot with 3,500 hours on types such as the Airbus A320 and McDonnell Douglas MD-83, he also has his commercial helicopter license and flew float planes in Fort Langley, British Columbia. Golzar also gained operational experience working for Jazz Aviation as a special technical operations coordinator, managing communications and tasks between all airline stakeholders.
He said safety is a key element of the Airble service.
“We check every air operator’s history before signing the contract to ensure the safety of all passengers. We check all the legal documents required by Transport Canada and the Canadian Transportation Agency, one by one.”
When asked what message he has for prospective flyers, Golzar reiterated that there is so much for Canadians to see here at home.
“There has been a lot of work done by these small- to medium-sized, hard-working air operators to create wonderful experiences. They don’t have access to technology, so we want to help them show people the things they can see in their own backyards. Airble will get you there.”