Back in June of 2021, in the midst of some pretty horrid market conditions we launched the first twenty five ACCESS cards in a stealth fashion.
We kept marketing to a minimum so those who followed us on our journey could be the first to experience the new offering.
The card program was the first of its kind in Australia, many have conceptualised and tried, but never managed to get the product operational.
In February we managed to effectively sell our initial release out, and prepare to launch the next 15 cards.
Fast forward to this morning, we had our card holder and her family arrive to some special treats and a nice chilled bottle of bubbly to celebrate our 100th demand hour.
An incredible way to start their long weekend in Tasmania.
We always knew ACCESS would be impactful – either by making private more affordable, easier to consume or understand. But it’s had a far greater impact than we first thought.
We are giving our card holders their lives back.
Appreciating how much time we have given back to card holders based in Regional Victoria who can now be on location at their farm in Central Queensland within 2 hours where it used to take a full day of road and commercial travel.
A private jet card enables holders to book from a designated type of aircraft at an agreed hourly rate. Generally obtained by pre-purchasing hours on a specific jet, the card is aimed at those in the market to purchase their own aircraft, but save on the maintenance and ongoing expenses.
Where did the concept originate?
The first private jet card originated in Boston in 1997, by a broker named Sentient. The card was developed in response to the growing popularity in fractional ownership programs championed by aviation powerhouse NetJets.
Both products were designed to provide a cleaner and simpler solution without the complexities of owning a private aircraft. For the term ‘jet card’ took on the meaning of bulk on-demand charter hours.
Providers have doubled in the past ten years
As expected with the industry, if a concept works it will be replicated and tinkered by many and for the jet card, this was the case.
As of 2018 there is believed to be over 250 providers providing a myriad of options including dynamic based, milage based, capped rate and even jets by the seat.
What factors to consider when purchasing a private jet card
If you’re in the market for a jet card do your research, because in some cases, it is difficult to void a contract and claw back pre-paid funds.
Establish the upfront costs involved, including any maintenance, fuel and sign on fees?
Ensure the expectations of the operator are clear, what is the availability policy, what if an aircraft isn’t available etc?
What, if any, additional fees are payable and how are they charged?
How long are your pre-paid hours valid, what happens to funds at the end of the contract period?
Do you even need a private jet card?
And herein begs the question, do you even need just a product? Especially in Australia.
At Airly our mission is, and always has been, to make flying private easier to understand that is accessible to more people at a more palatable price point.
But if you’re looking for a program that is similar to a jet card without the upfront cost and restrictive conditions – ACCESS may be the best solution.
Once a card holder, you can book from a streamlined fleet of four seat jets at an all-inclusive rate of $3,995 per occupied hour. You won’t pay for empty positioning fees or overnights. Fixed Base of Operations (FBO aka lounges) and gourmet catering are included where available.
You can learn more about our Australian-first program here.
The way you book ACCESS flights is unmatched. You can utilise our app, WhatsApp, SMS or email.
Then there’s the experience. A streamlined fleet of jets that look and feel the same, the in-flight meals (included in hourly rate) available to/from major airports is clean and wholesome and caters to all dietary restrictions.
Finally, being able to plan your annual travel budget couldn’t be easier. The only variable you need to consider is the flight duration.
3. Additional value
Our card holders join ACCESS for the flying, but stay for the added value.
We’ve secured member-only rates for the best five star hotels in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and the Gold Coast. Members can also receive discounts on our premium Sydney chauffeur as well.
ACCESS members will soon be able to take their card overseas – but more on that at a later date.
We have a huge vision for this program far beyond what you see today, so get in early and enjoy the offering at todays price point.
To maintain sound availability over the summer we will be capping our memberships so if you’re interested in joining the program please reach out via the link below, or apply via the app.
We’re pleased to inform you that the latest version of the Airly app is now available.
Less bugs, more features and better experience.
Let’s explore some of the new features.
ACCESS at your fingertips
We’ve added in all the functionality and features of the newly-launched and popular program, ACCESS.
You can request an ACCESS membership, book and manage ACCESS flights as well as manage prepaid hours.
Enhanced SHARED features
A flow on benefit from the ACCESS program is the reduction in seat prices along SHARED routes.
It’s also now easier to share your itinerary with others and we created preferred departure time selections (only available to SHARED members) to help group members together for the purpose of flight activation.
Improved charter flow
The development team have improved user experience, flow and visuals on the charter-specific sections as well.
To enjoy the new features please update your app or click here to be taken to the appropriate app store.
2020 and 2021 have seen a large number of interstate relocations. And thanks to border restrictions the reduction in commercial flights have seen four legged family members get left behind.
We continue to hear heartbreaking stories of furry family members being stranded due to hotel quarantine requirements or the huge backlog experienced by animal transport providers.
So we’re in the process of enabling your pets to also be included into the SHARED and ACCESS program free of charge.
What does this mean?
It means you can now use your SHARED or ACCESS membership to transport your pet without the need for you to be on the aircraft.
How will this work?
Simply advise your member care team that it will be your pet travelling, and we’ll guide you through the process.
Airly will also send your dog or cat a luxury gift after the flight.
When can I book?
You can book using your SHARED or ACCESS membership now!
WE WANT TO HELP
If you, or someone you know, is currently separated from their dog or cat please contact us and we’ll work to put some flights together using our SHARED platform to help reunite family’s with their best friend.
If you’re not familiar with ACCESS, this product allows you to book from a streamlined fleet of jets for an all-inclusive fixed hourly occupied rate. That means members don’t pay empty positioning fees, overnight fees or lounge fees.
If you’re on the jet for one hour, you pay for that hour. Everything is included!
And best of all, unlike the SHARED program, flights are confirmed on booking – and you have the entire jet to yourself and your guests.
But one of the most impressive facets of the program is our cancellation and change terms.
We ask for 72 hours notice if your schedule changes if possible. But if your plan changes last minute we won’t charge any cancellation or change fees (so long as we haven’t already positioned to pick you up).
And if lockdowns or border closures get in the way there’s no penalty, ever.
A private jet product that is simple to understand, easy to predict, accessible to more at a far more palatable price point?
“Wheels up” is a phrase used in aviationto describe the transition from take off landing gear down configuration, to airborne configuration with landing gear, or wheels, retracted. It’s a phrase that evokes progress, speed, and of being on a journey.
Thus, it’s fitting for a pioneer in business and private aviation to be named as such. Wheels Up was founded in 2013 by three New York-based founders. Their founding goal was, and still is, to reinvent private flying through a “revolutionary new business model that delivers the safest, most consistent, and highest -quality aviation solution.” This article explores what that means to members and travellers, the pioneering journey that Wheels Up continues to track, and the company’s leadership in shaping an industry.
“You can’t fail, you pivot.”
Wheels Up is a leader in private aviation. And, the brand and legacy it forges only makes sense by looking at its founder, Mr. Kenny Dichter. A successful entrepreneur and businessman, Kenny Dichter made his first millions in 1998 through the sale of his college-founded Alphabet City Sports Records, a label focused on songs often heard in sports stadiums and arenas. In 2001, Dichter co-founded Marquis Jets, the world’s first fractional card private jet program. By 2007, the business was turning over USD700 million per year with 3,500 customers, selling private jet access in 25-hour allotments. That same year, Dichter predicted that Marquis Jets would grow into a billion-dollar business within three years.
In 2010, Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary company, NetJets, acquired Marquis Jet. Marquis Jets’ innovative, accessible, and flexible ‘jet card’ model bolstered NetJets’ fractional ownership business model. Within two years, NetJets proceeded to place the largest aircraft order in private history, for up to 275 Bombardier aircraft, valued at over USD17.6 billion.
“Rule Number One: Never lose money.
Rule Number Two: Never forget rule one.”
– Warren Buffett
Although the 2010 sales terms of NetJets’ acquisition of Marquis Jet weren’t disclosed, it’s probable that Dichter’s 2007 prediction was realised, with NetJets reporting significant sales increase that year. Today, both Marquis Jets and NetJets continue to operate, with the latter the clear private jet fractional ownership industry leader.
After selling Dichter took a ‘break,’ founding the highly regarded and cult-like Tequila Avión. Pernot Ricard, the premium liquor portfolio company, increased its ownership of the esteemed tequila brand to a majority holding over a few years.
In 2013, Dichter along with two co-founders, returned to aviation entrepreneurship with the launch of Wheels Up. The co-founders simultaneously announced their management team along with a USD1.4 billion order for 105 Beechcraft King Air 350i turboprop aircraft. In disrupting and creating new markets, Wheels Up’s business model was premised on a membership / on-demand business model, servicing non-hub commercial services.
Since founding, Wheels Up has gone from strength to strength in under a decade. Within a year of launch the company had over 1,000 members and close to 40 aircraft (King Airs and Cessna Citation jets), and by 2019 the company had over 5,500 memberships (individual and corporate) and owned nearly 100 aircraft.
Importantly, Wheels Up continues to succeed through challenging the industry’s norms through Dichter’s entrepreneurial attitude, manifested in business model adjustments. Although founded on an entirely new premise of membership-based flying access, in 2018 Wheels Up announced a new flight sharing membership offering, Wheels Up Connect. The goal of Connect was to “democratize private flying” by further reducing the unit cost to access the benefits, efficiencies, and economics of business jet aviation. Despite Wheels Up closing 2020 with 10,995 active members and USD690 million in revenue at the end of 2020, they estimate that “90% of people who can afford to fly privately don’t,” or more than a million people in the US, and forecast their 2021 annual revenue to grow to USD912m
The last several years have seen Wheels Up manoeuvering to capitalise on this untapped blue ocean of private aviation travellers. In 2019, the same year that Wheels Up announced their goal of 16,000 active members by 2021, the company started a strategic acquisition spree to bolster their charter operations and membership management platform. Acquisitions included included the Travel Management Company (TMC Jets); Avianis, a B2B communication platform for operators and brokers; Gama Aviation Signature, the largest Part 135 charter operators in the USA; and Mountain Aviation, the largest Cessna Citation X fleet charter operator in the United States.
The underlying logic behind Wheels Up aggressive growth is simple – the company needs aircraft (supply) to meet the untapped private aviation demand. Dichter told Forbes earlier this year that the company will continue to serve the wholesale market and supply the growing demand for members. To fund this exponential trajectory, Dichter has executed what appears to be an astute two-stage plan.
The first stage saw Delta Private Jets, Delta Air Lines’ private aviation subsidiary, merge into Wheels Up and bringing Delta’s 70 aircraft into Wheels Up’s fold in 2020. This merger saw Delta Airlines take a majority stake in Wheels Up, and granted them a board seat.
The second stage of strategic funding is a shrewd twist on Dichter’s previously reported preference to pursue an initial public offering (IPO). In February, the company announced a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) merger with Aspirational Consumer Lifestyle Corporation. By merging with a SPAC, Wheels Up is expecting to achieve an “enterprise value of about USD2.1 billion,” and cash proceeds of USD790 million, without negotiating the traditional IPO process.
The winner is…
Having a successful, proven, serial entrepreneur in Kenny Dichter, who is clearly passionate about general and private aviation, and recognises its unrealised potential, is an incredible opportunity for the industry. Travellers benefits through new and more accessible means of transport, at improved value; while the aviation industry benefits from positive disruption, bringing about improvements and progress.
Wheels Up are an industry leader, and Kenny Dichter an incredible change agent.
The changes come along with price increases to the entire network. These were necessary to help combat rising costs, less-predictable demand and to help activate more private jet flights in a shared environment.
Fly to Adelaide by private jet
As a result of the changes we have included Adelaide and Cooma as new destinations.
Adelaide will be accessible from Melbourne and Sydney airports.
Cooma will be a seasonal option from Sydney perfect for Winter.
To take advantage of these changes you need to be part of Airly’s SHARED program.
First of all download and register the Airly private jet app. Then you can apply for membership.