Charter Report Market Intelligence

Charter Mobile APPs – Charter Report 2022

Charter Mobile APPs – Charter Report 2022

By mid-1994, the Internet that we know and love today had begun to take shape. AOL, an American web portal and online service provider, was the most popular website, breaking the 30 million monthly visitors total for the first time in the July, although Yahoo!, another web services provider, had started to catch up.

Businesses realized they could reach more customers through the Internet and, one by one, began setting up their own websites to promote their products and services. Airlines were no exception.

The first known airline website was published in 1994 by Canadian Airlines. By today’s standards it was a very basic site, offering visitors the ability to view destinations, contact information as well as news about the airline, so it was viewed as more of a source of information than anything else. Technology inevitably matured, allowing every airline to add booking engines into their websites, where visitors could search for and directly book flights, all from the comfort of their own home or office.

By the early 2000s, booking a flight online had become the norm and is how most people still book flights today. In addition to airline websites, airline aggregator websites also appeared, which scoured airline websites to get the best flight prices for travellers – all people had to do was enter their departure and arrival points, dates, and the website would do the rest.

These websites work by connecting to a Global Distribution System (GDS), which is a network that helps with the connectivity of different travel agencies to multiple different organizations, such as hotels. But airlines know how to win your hard-earned money and have teams of analysts constantly changing, altering, and fine-tuning fares around the clock. The changes are made directly into the airline’s booking systems, which syncs with the GDS in real-time. Since airlines could be “optimizing” fares multiple times a day, the price you see when you search for a flight may differ from one you’ll see later.

There are various factors that can influence the price of a flight. For example, airlines have to ensure their flight prices compete with other carriers operating the same route, flight times, promotional offers, and the number of connecting flights.

Airline base fares are easier to calculate because they are repeatable. An airline often flies the same route on a daily or weekly basis, unless there’s a big rise in fuel or airport costs or a sudden change in the use of aircraft, then prices will remain the same.

Chartering a private jet, on the other hand, is a different story.

By their very nature, a private jet could fly anywhere, at any time. This makes booking a flight online in real-time, almost impossible. While airlines have teams of analysts constantly looking at flight routes to ensure that aircraft spend as little time on the ground as possible, private jets work in a completely different way. For example, a Gulfstream could be on the ground in Geneva waiting for a flight the next day to Dubai. But say there’s a last minute request for a flight from Paris to Stockholm – the aircraft has to perform that flight, then position back to Geneva for its flight to Dubai. The flight from Stockholm to Geneva will be expensive to operate, meaning that the operator will have to bear additional costs.

Private jets also have more airports to take off from and land on. According to database company Statista, there were 5,217 public airports in the US in 2020, and of those, less than 500 had commercial airline services. It’s a scene that is repeated all around the world, and it means that people who charter business jets have more choice than those who fly via commercial airlines.

Using a flight from New York to London as an example, flights run between John F. Kennedy International Airport and Heathrow Airport, as well as Newark Liberty International Airport to Heathrow. However, if you choose to charter a jet, your choice of New York area airports for departure opens up; you could fly from JFK or Newark, but you could also choose to get on the plane at Teterboro Airport, Westchester County Airport, New York Stewart International Airport or Albany International Airport. The same thing happens if you want to charter a jet to London – You have the choice of landing at Gatwick Airport, Farnborough Airport, London Luton Airport, London Stansted Airport, or even Oxford Airport. Keep in mind that these examples are based on a large jet flight – there are even more options for shorter range flights when it comes to different airports.

To put it simply, booking a charter flight isn’t easy. There are too many variables at play, including the location of the aircraft before the flight, airport charges, en-route charges, how many people are on board and the type of catering required. It is also worth noting that not all charter aircraft are owned by charter companies. Oftentimes, aircraft owners will allow their management companies to make their aircraft available when they aren’t using it, subject to the owners being informed about each flight before its confirmed.

And despite the availability of charter flight apps, it is not possible to do a live charter booking – at least not at the moment.

After Canadian Airlines was acquired Air Canada in 2000, its place in history as the first airline to have its own website had already been cemented. And whilst it might seem churlish to compare that first website back in 1994 to the charter apps of today, until a time that a charter flight can be booked live, we will be stuck booking flights the old-fashioned way, much like we did in 1994.