For many reasons, private jet industry for a long time was quite a costly affair. Only very rich people could afford this type of transport, so the jet business developed in the way to meet their needs and expectations. Such a state of things become to seem so natural that even a technological development walked past this industry, in comparison to other areas. However, the industry has a compelling need of new solutions that can revolutionize private jet booking system and open new opportunities for business.

As a mobile app sector growth, one of the primary goals in private jet business development is a jet charter app creation and simplification of booking. Although some steps in this direction has been already made, provided solutions failed to attract the amount of new customers it potentially would have. According to the research, if the app is able to break judgement that only rich can afford that and attract some part of customers regularly using commercial airlines, the industry will grow far and away. In this article we will address tender spots of private jet business and discover how much does it cost to create a private jet sharing app.

Why Do We Need Uber for Private Jets Development

There are three conventional way to charter a jet, including broker’s help, fractional ownership and prepaid card:

• With the help of a broker it is impossible to make an unexpected flight, because booking a flight takes some days.

• Fractional ownership means buying a share in an aircraft, that will allow you using it for a specified number of hours. In case of running out of this specified time you would not be able to make a flight, that is quite disappointing and cause additional problems.

• A membership card provides a service similar to recharging a phone: you pay some sum of money ($150,000 and up) and use the money during a specific timeframe. When the time runs out, all unused hours will expire. This system can be effective if one makes flights regularly, but in case one needs to make flights occasionally, it is quite unprofitable.

All these problems caused the necessity of a Uber for private jets development. Or not exactly Uber. The industry needs reorganization.

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One might think, ‘is it possible that nobody tried to build a Uber-like app for jets before?’. And this thought is quite reasonable. There were several attempts of making a service for simply planes booking. Here is what the are.


The History of the Issue

The first attempt to create an online service for booking private flights occurred in 1997. This project was named Skyjet. It allowed customers ordering jets without any call and explanations, right with a few clicks. That was the first service that worked without any membership cards or shares in aircraft, eliminating back and forth calls and invoice faxes to make private jets available to many more people.

There some other modern web-based services, including M2Jets and Independent Jets, that help to book a plane for a short time. However, with a firm integration of mobile services into a modern daily life, this way of booking becomes outdated as well.

Now we have some relatively successful attempts to invade the world of mobile technologies; the most famous one is called JetSmarter.

How Does JetSmarter Work?

JetSmarter is a Uber-like mobile app platform for booking flights both by paying for a membership or as a non-member. This service managed to increase the number of active users of private jet booking on 33 percent than the whole industry served before. It is an intermediary service between customers and plane companies, providing simple tools for booking planes. For convenience it provides a unique set of booking options to every taste:

• Private Charter is an option for those, who wants to rent the whole plane (for solo journey or with friends or partners). The flight cost here is dependent on the time it tooks.

• Shared Charter is for an occasion when you want to share the cost of the flight with other participant by inviting them to the flight. For this one should create a flight in the app for people to know there are empty seats available.

• Jet Shuttle is a reverse service to Private Charter: one seeks places in the flight placed by another participant.

• Jet Deals, or empty legs, which are provide places on a flight (sometime even for free) that is necessary for plane relocation between charters. Such deals appear spontaneously, so they are not a good option for planned trip, but it is great opportunity for those, who need really cheap and urgent flight.

Such a system of booking places in planes allowed to optimize the amount of empty flights (or empty legs), which took a third of all the flights before, and an intelligent routes management reduced costs spent on unnecessary transportations.


This was how does JetSmarter work. Other business strategies provide different unique services to increase the number of effective flights. Such services as BlackJet does not sell empty legs for not wasting flights, they eliminate these flights by managing routes in the way they become unnecessary. For example, the route from Los Angeles to New York does not need any reposition: the flight back is full flight. Such system reduces wastes considerably, but does not provide the necessary agility.

Basic Enhancement Areas

The secret of a successful mobile app for private jet booking is not in creating a JetSmarter clone, but in improving the existing way of how this type of transportation is run. As we think, the best features for the area enhancement are:

1. Smart pricing system. It is still a problem to provide fair pricing for different flights, and the industry is in a great need of a pricing automatisation.

2. Route system management. That is still necessary to find a golden mean between the agility of the routes and no-empty-legs flights system. This point is also closely connected with the previous one, and in case of being successfully resolved is able to reduce tickets cost significantly.

3. Better integration with private companies. As a rule, just like any Uber-like app, those for flights booking does not provide their own planes for booking. Instead they collaborate with various planes providers. This may cause problems concerning how to integrate different provider services with each other. The development of a universal system for effective collaboration with these companies is also essential.

4. Preview issue. The more different providers there are in an app, the more questions about ‘why would I book this exact plane’ arise. For providing better opportunities for competition one can increase the quality of provided services. For example, some feature like 3D preview of a plane might be fascinating for users and providing increased credibility of the services.

5. The last but not least: the different markets issue. It is still a question how to organize best service according to a certain land. Whether to stay in US market, or develop better services for the East, or combining these two markets – these are all the questions need to be investigated and answered.


How to Make an App Like JetSmarter

What is necessary to build an alternative private jet booking service? There are three basic elements: technology stack, business model and promotion. And if the business model issues are more or less covered in the article, let us consider how to make an app like JetSmarter from the technical point of view. The main features Uber-like services regularly provide are:

• registration, for users do not worry about personal information input every time they need to use the service;

• filters that allow them find the best matching flight nearby, usually using geolocation;

• instant notifications about flight changes, status and the availability of empty legs, if necessary;

• price calculation according to the exact route, plane and flight;

• integration with payment systems, with all the security issues are taken into account.

According to the features it needs to combine, the startup development of this middle-size app will take nearly 1800 hours to build such an app for iOS or Android. The cost to make a private jet booking app at $50 hourly rate (the average rate throughout the world) will be something like $90-120,000. Taking into consideration that such apps usually take 10 percent of the flight cost, it is pretty good investment.

Technologies used for JetSmarter development: Javascript, PHP, Python, Node.js, Java, Objective-C, Swift, Groovy, MySQL, SQLite, PostgreSQL, HTML/CSS, and also npm, Gradle, AFNetworking and others.

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As we see, private jet industry is very attractive for mobile application development. It needs innovation and sophisticated solutions for expand the borders of the business. So, if you have an idea of how to improve state-of-the-art aviation business, it is a perfect area of investment.

Uber for Private Jets: Industry in Need of Great Applications
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