Jettly platform promotes transparency in aircraft chartering

Avatar for Lisa GordonBy Lisa Gordon | November 29, 2021

Estimated reading time 7 minutes, 26 seconds.

There’s nothing more rewarding than combining two of your professional passions. Serial tech entrepreneur and commercial pilot Justin Crabbe did just that when he created Jettly, an online platform that connects passengers with private jets.

Crabbe, who has launched several successful e-commerce, software-as-a-service, and mobile app platforms, is also a pilot from Richmond Hill, Ontario. After talking to various charter operators, he realized in 2016 that there was no digitized platform where passengers could research and compare flights offered by various operators.

Pictured is a Hawker 900XP, which has a price per hour of $4,146. Jettly File Photo

“The traditional way to book a charter was to call a broker and then wait for a call back,” said Crabbe in a recent interview with Skies. “There was no transparency.”

Likening the Jettly platform to “Expedia for private aviation,” he said the service addresses consumer demand for an open, transparent marketplace. The website – optimized for both desktop and mobile access – allows customers to search for a charter flight using a number of customized parameters. Along with flight dates, routing, and number of passengers, Jettly permits customers to select other desired attributes such as aircraft make and model, enclosed lavatory, ground- or satellite-based WiFi, air ambulance capability, and the date of manufacture as well as interior and exterior refurbishments.

Currently, Jettly offers over 20,000 aircraft in a global network that includes about 2,260 operators and spans 190 countries. Operators who want to join the Jettly program must submit proof of regulatory approvals and current audit reports from either Argus or Wyvern, well-known private aviation safety and quality assurance programs. Jettly itself is registered with the Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO).

There are four options for accessing Jettly services, explained Crabbe. Three membership levels are available depending on how often users wish to use the online service: personal, business, and jet card. Fees range from US$370 to US$997 per month and clients get to make one, three, or unlimited flight bookings during the month, respectively. In addition, there is a “pay as you fly” option, where clients are charged a 10 percent booking fee when they book on an ad hoc basis. There are no commission fees.

In all cases, members have access to Jettly’s online charter reservation platform, which delivers a seamless booking process. Clients have the ability to customize their experience by adding additional services such as catering, ground transportation, and helicopter transfers. Payment terms and cancellation policies are clearly outlined for each operator and deicing waivers can be pre-purchased to avoid surprise deicing fees. Jettly notifies customers when their route will require customs clearance or fuel stops, and even issues a separate invitation to each passenger so they can privately provide their own body weight and personal information.

Jettly founder and CEO, Justin Crabbe, who is also a known tech entrepreneur and commercial pilot. Jettly Photo

Members also have access to Jettly’s team of 40-plus flight coordinators, available every day around the clock, to assist customers with all aspects of their travel.

Crabbe outlined the benefits of the Jettly model: “Compared to airline travel, the time savings alone is substantial. You can show up five minutes before your flight. And in terms of cost, when you fill the aircraft, the price is in line with the cost of traveling first class on a commercial airline. Remember, executive time is money. Plus, you have the benefit of stripping out the brokerage fee while customizing your search to find the aircraft that fits your needs and budget.”

Jettly’s charter flight booking platform has never been busier, according to Crabbe. Each month, the company receives 15,000 to 20,000 charter inquiries – and of those, 10 to 15 percent are booked. A large percentage of customers are millennials who “don’t like to work behind closed doors” and appreciate transparency in an open marketplace, he added.

“Leading up to Covid-19, we had been doubling our growth year-over-year. We slowed down a bit for the pandemic, but we picked it back up once vaccines were being distributed. It’s really surpassed our estimations and demand has never been higher.”

Over the next year or two, Crabbe plans to focus on the Jettly platform to further refine its capabilities and enhance the user experience. After that, he’s not ruling out expansion through aircraft acquisition.

The Jettly website – optimized for both desktop and mobile access – allows customers to search for a charter flight using a number of customized parameters. Jettly Image

“In five years, based on the demand we’ve captured to date and how the name has grown, we could look at introducing scheduled routes on aircraft we own and operate. That could be the way growth could occur.”

With pent-up travel demand reaching a post-pandemic high, the future looks bright for Jettly. While travellers are well used to booking commercial flights on Expedia and similar platforms, Jettly targets those who want to fly private. Following the pandemic, this sector has enjoyed increased interest.

Crabbe’s Canadian company seems to have a unique global solution in place at just the right time. 

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