Tag: private jet

private jet brokers

Private jet brokers, can you trust them?

Private jet brokers don’t own aircraft and simply sit in between you and the private jet operator. 

It’s no secret that there’s been a considerable uptick in private jet charter in Australia.  Customers new and existing are making the most of increased availability of jets.

For new customers, it can be quite exciting to book your first private jet charter.  The feeling of finally ‘making it’, or giving in to the utility and benefits of flying private. 

While some private jet brokers have closed down during the pandemic, others are making the most of this uptick. However they can get a little greedy when it comes to pricing your trip.  Let us explain.

How do private jet brokers price a charter?

When you provide your itinerary to the broker, they’ll try to get some further information from you such as preferred cabin size, budget and any other requirements outside of the normal to help make a decision on what operator to approach.

Private Jet Broker Australia

Operators will provide the broker with a price to facilitate your trip.  The broker will then add a margin (5-20%) and present you with some options.

All of the process so far is very common, ethical and standard practice.  

But what if you only fly one way, or the jet returns empty back to its home base during your stay at the destination?  Empty capacity is then generated, in which brokers will then attempt to sell the newly created ‘empty leg’.  This is when some brokers get a little greedy.

Should the broker sell the empty leg, they’ll keep all that revenue for themselves.  There’s a fair chance you’ll have no idea about it.  So what’s the problem with that?

You are paying full price for that empty leg to be created and sold.  The broker has added their fee to your price (their profit), and are now making thousands of dollars on top of that thanks to you.  We call it the double dip.  So what can you do about it?

Negotiate a revenue share deal with brokers

In the name of fairness, you should ask your broker if any empty legs are attached to your flight.  If that answer is yes, ask for a share of that empty leg revenue.  There is no reason for the broker to not work out a deal to make everyone happy.

Working with your private jet broker

If they say no, it may be time to thank them for their efforts and find a more transparent company to work with.

How does Airly share empty leg revenue?

In the past few months we have credited or refunded tens of thousands of dollars back to our charter customers from the sale of empty legs, or combining their itinerary with another customer’s saving on empty positioning fees.

When pricing your flight, we will advise if empty flights are going to be marketed, and how much of a potential refund you will receive on the successful sale of said empty flight.  We refund or credit at least 80% of empty leg revenue back to you.

Here’s some recent examples.

On the 17th of April we refunded or credited a total of $9,100 to two separate customers by selling their attached empty legs on a one-way trip.

On the 2nd of May we were able to sell three empty legs attached to a one-way charter.  A total of $10,000 was credited to the customer’s next flight.

On the 8th of May we combined two itineraries onto the one jet saving both of our customers $4,000 each.

On the 11th of May we combined two itineraries onto the one jet saving both of our customers $3,000 each.

trust private jet brokers

In summary, a good private jet broker can help guide you through the confusing world that is private aviation.  But in order to find a good broker you need to keep them honest.

What celebrities have their own private jet?

What celebrities have their own private jet?

Ever wondered what celebrities own a private jet?

Look out Forbes and AFR, here’s Airly’s submission of JetList – the top 10 celebrities who own their own private jet.

What celebrities have their own private jet?

Airly’s inaugural JetList

The JetList ranks private jets owned by celebs ordered by price at the time of purchase.

10. Tom Cruise – Gulfstream GIV ($36m)

Tom Cruise private jet

We like this entry for the fact it’s a little old school. Mr Cruise’s 1998 Gulfstream is still a beautiful jet in its own right. Combined with his classic P-51 Mustang you can tell Maverick loves the nostalgia of aviation.

9. Jay Z – Challenger 850 ($40m)

Jay Z private jet

Beyonce reportedly paid $40m USD in 2012 for the Challenger as a Father’s Day present. What a present!

The 850 is the largest of the Challenger range, seating up to 19 passengers with some of the seats converting to beds for longer flights. The jet also features two bathrooms in the cabin.

8. Jackie Chan – Embraer Legacy 650 & 500 ($50m)

Jackie Chan Private Jet

It’s no secret that Jackie Chan is an avid Embraer fan. He purchased his Legacy 650 for $30m USD in 2012. In 2016, Chan added a brand new Legacy 500 to take care of shorter trips for $20m USD.

We’re yet to see Jackie buy into the new Embraer Praetor range, so watch this space.

7. Jim Carrey – Gulfstream V ($59m)

One of the greatest comedians is the proud owner of this Gulfstream V purchased for $59m USD.

Carrey makes his 1998 jet available for rent when he’s not using it, for around $8,000 an hour.

6. Oprah Winfrey – Gulfstream 650 ($70m)

Oprah Winfrey Private Jet

Ms Winfrey joins other celebrities who have upgraded their jets to the latest and greatest.

Oprah’s previous aircraft was a Bombardier Global Express XRS, showing no loyalty towards her jet manufacturer.

5. Kylie Jenner – Bombardier Global 7500 ($72m)

Kylie Jenner Private Jet

This is a perfect ‘top-shelf’ purchase in the Global 7500. The pink-branded jet is capable of flying 14,260km non-stop.

Reaching a three-comma status via her makeup brand, ‘Sky Ky’ was just one of Ms Jenner’s big ticket items during a spending spree in 2020.

4. Donald Trump – Boeing 757 ($100m)

Donald Trump Private Jet

Purchased from Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen in 2011 the ‘T-bird’ has become an iconic jet in the sky’s.

Normally a jet liner, the Boeing 757 was refurbished to accommodate 43 passengers with bathrooms featuring 24 carat gold fixtures!

Having spent the last 4 years on Air Force One we’re not quite sure where Mr Trump sits following reports of him flying on a Citation X ($4m USD) in recent weeks.

3. Bill Gates – Gulfstream 650ER x 2 ($140m)

As we researched on our JetList, we were surprised to see the Microsfoft founder owns a single Global Express ($40m).

However, after further digging, we learned that Mr Gates and his foundation also own 2 x Gulfstream 650ER private jets, valued at $70m USD each. The Bill & Melinder Gates Foundation also owns 2 x Challenger 350’s via NetJets, and other smaller aircraft.

2. Mark Cuban – Various ($280m+)

The popular internet billionaire broke records in 1999 paying $40m USD for his Gulfstream V. It was the largest internet transaction at the time!

Since then Cuban has also added two Boeing Business Jets to his hangar. One of which is used by his NBA team, the Dallas Mavericks, and the other his Boeing 767 which he also makes available to charter.

1. John Travolta – Various

Taking our inaugural number one place is John Travolta and his fleet of jets. When you can land your jet in the backyard and park it out the front of your mansion, it’s hard to not give him top billing.

It’s difficult to get a combined value of his fleet. With a vintage Boeing 707, Challenger 601 and EA500 being just 3 of his 6-11 aircraft.

He’s clearly quite the collector.

Learjet

End of an era: Vale the Learjet – long live the business jet

They said I’d never build it; that if I built it, it wouldn’t fly; that if it flew, I couldn’t sell it. Well I did and it did and I could.

William P. Lear, founder of the Lear Jet Corporation, and designed of arguably the world’s first business jet.

On February 11, 2021, Bombardier, who purchased the Learjet company in 1990, announced an end to production of all Learjet private jets. This marks a sad milestone for aviation, for it heralds the end of an era. For decades, since the company’s first aircraft, the Learjet 23, the name Learjet was synonymous with private aviation, business aviation, and aviation leadership.

While the Learjet name may be consigned to history, fortunately business and private aviation manufacturing, innovations, and business models continue to thrive.

Learjet 75 Liberty
Bombardier Learjet 75 Liberty

History of Lear Jet

The first Learjet 23 was delivered in 1964. It was the brainchild of inventor, businessman, and high-school drop out William (Bill) Lear. Over 46 years Lear was granted over 120 patents, contributing significantly to radio and aviation. He is, however, best known for creating a new category of fast and efficient business jets, and a brand that to many is the definition of a business jet. Before Lear Jet there simply was no business or private jet category – VIPs, states-persons, and celebrities that could afford to fly privately were limited to airliner-type aircraft.

The Learjet 23’s genesis began in Switzerland in the 1940s, where the Flug- und Fahrzeugwehrke Altenrhein (FFA) company was developing a domestically designed and manufactured fighter jet – the FFA P-16. The P-16 was never introduced into service and the program cancelled in favour of the proven British Hawker Hunter – but Bill Lear saw promise in the aircraft’s fundamental design as a business jet, having previously and unsuccessfully based preliminary designs on a US experimental aircraft named the Mississippi State University XV-11 Marvel.

In 1960 Lear founded the Swiss American Aircraft Corporation in Switzerland and began work on the initially-named SAAC-23 Execujet. In 1962, frustrated by slow progress in Switzerland, Lear moved SAAC’s factory tooling to Wichita, Kansas and renamed the company the Lear Jet Corporation. Production began in 1962 with the first flight of the Learjet 23 taking placing the following year. On October 13, 1964, the first production aircraft was delivered and over a two year production run 101 Learjet 23s were delivered.

The Learjet makes sense
Aviation Week – 5 July 1965

Learjet Legacy

Fast forward 25 years, and it was the Learjet 31 that ultimately delivered on Lear’s vision of the definitive business jet.

Only 200 Learjet 31s were produced between 1988 and 2002, with many of these still in service. Often referred to as “the Porsche of the sky,” the 31 combines the empennage-mounted engine design with the distinctive “Longhorn” wing configuration. With seating for eight passengers, the jet is capable of climbing at over 5,000 feet per minute, reaching cruise altitude of 47,000 feet and 0.81 March in 28 minutes. A service ceiling of 51,000 feet puts the Learjet 31 in rarefied air. With efficient fuel consumption and field performance, both the Learjet 31 and the slightly upgraded 31A are still favoured by many passengers and operators today.

Learjet 31
Learjet 31

Having sold a significant portion of his company to the Gates Rubber Company in 1967, the Gates Learjet Corporation was acquired by Integrated Acquisition in 1987 and renamed the Learjet Corporation. In 1990, Bombardier Aerospace purchased the company and initiated a clean-sheet design and marketing of the “Bombardier Learjet Family.”

Celebrating the legend of the Learjet

The Learjet 60 was the first of this new lineage, followed by the Learjet 45. Similar to how the 31 revolutionised business aviation, the Learjet 45 fused the operating economics of a light business jet with the comfort of a mid-size jet, while remaining true to Learjet’s excellent performance. The Learjet 75 is the final jet to bear the Learjet name, with first delivery having taken place in 2013 and production ceasing this year.

Learjet 45
Learjet 45

The future of business aviation

The end of the Learjet marque is nostalgic, but should not be seen as a bellwether for the business aviation industry. For several decades, the business and private aerospace industry has been increasingly fragmenting – offering a relatively small pool of consumers an excessive amount of aircraft options. By comparison, the commercial aviation sector has consolidated to effectively two manufacturers – Airbus and Boeing. The private jet industry has several – Bombardier, Cessna, Dassault, Embraer, Gulfstream, and even Airbus Corporate Jets and Boeing Business Jets. For reference, Airbus and Boeing delivered 723 aircraft in 2020, while global business jet deliveries numbered 644.

Consolidation is a natural part of the evolution of any industry as technologies advance and market expectations grow.

Jensen & Copier, The Pros and Cons of Industry Consolidation, OEM Off-Highway, 31 Aug 2020

The business aviation industry is likely behind commercial aerospace in terms of industry consolidation maturity. A Deloitte 2017 analysis of the merger and acquisition trends in aerospace and defense anticipated (generally) that “aerospace and defense companies would increasingly look to M&A (and joint ventures) as a means to grow, specifically by expanding product portfolios, gaining new technical capabilities, and expanding into new geographies.”

Deans, Kroeger & Zeisel, The Consolidation Curve, Harvard Business Review, Dec 2002

This industry consolidation is good for operators, owners, and travelers, in bringing cost efficiencies and technological advances together. Competition is healthy, and we can expect there to remain a handful of business jet manufacturers; but some consolidation in a high-capital, regulatory intensive, and difficult to enter industry is beneficial for all.

While the brand may not be seen on aircraft beyond this year, over fifty years of Learjet’s innovations and progress will continue to serve Bombardier’s business aircraft competitive advantage, and deliver value to operators and travelers.

Learjet 35A
Learjet 35A
Falcon 2000LX in Sydney

Falcon 2000LX lands at Sydney

Dassault Aviation’s philosophy behind their successful Falcon range is simple – to enable business aviation. In this article we take a look at the Falcon 2000LX.

Falcon 2000LX in Sydney

That is, Dassault’s vision is to help others realise the benefits of business aviation, such as corporate development and growth, as well as traveling flexibility.  Having delivered over 2,500 Falcons, Dassault have been a market leader in the wide cabin, long range aircraft segment for over 50 years.  Additionally, through Dassault Aviation’s Defense business, the Falcon jet range benefit from the advanced technological innovations developed for combat aircraft, including cockpit systems, digital flight control systems, head-up displays, flight qualities, and aerodynamics.

History of the Falcon 2000

The Falcon 2000, certified in 1994, introduced several features that progressed the private jet beyond its tri-engined predecessor, the Falcon 900, and set the Falcon family on its successful trajectory to an industry leading marque.  A decade later and the Falcon 2000LX improved on the 2000’s features through modified wings and blended winglets, improving climb performance and range.

Falcon 2000LX touches down in Sydney

Last week, a newly Australian-registered Falcon 2000LX landed at Sydney Airport.  From a comfort perspective the LX’s 6.1 ft tall, 7.7 ft wide, and 26.3 ft long cabin is spacious, light, and well-appointed for its extended range capability.  Although the aircraft is designed to hold up to 19 passengers, the newly arrived one is luxuriously configured for eight passengers with the cabin arranged in two distinct areas of a forward double club arrangement, and the rear with four-person conference table plus a two-person lounge available once the seat belt sign is extinguished.  Two of the forward area seats can fold down, allowing comfortable lie-flat napping.  The windows are large, filling the cabin with natural light, and the forward seating area offers in-seat audio-visual facilities.  A comprehensive galley, stand-up lavatory, and 134 cubic feet of accessible baggage space round out the long-range comforts of the Falcon 2000LX.   

Falcon private jet cabin
Falcon 2000LX forward cabin

From a performance perspective the sharp looking winglets make an incredible difference over the standard 2000.  Although the LX has the same airfoil and wingspan of the Falcon EX, the winglets increase the LX’s range by 200 nautical miles to over 4,000 nautical miles with eight passengers.  From Sydney Airport, this range grants access to destinations from New Zealand across to much of South East Asia.  The winglets also help the jet climb to FL410 in just 18 minutes, powered by two Pratt & Whitney PW308C engines that provide slightly more thrust and performance than the 2000, and provide the jet with a cruise speed of 482 knots at 39,000 feet.

The rear cabin
Rear club configuration

A pilot’s delight

The elegant and modern dual-crew cockpit employs the functional and simple Rockwell Collins Pro Line 4 fully-integrated avionics suite, centred around the Honeywell EASy Avionics panel, and four large flat panel display screens. The aircraft comes standard with an Allied Signal Flight Management System, Collins Doppler weather radar, and a dual channel Integrated Avionics Processor System.  

The Flight Deck

The Falcon 2000LX embodies the benefits of business aviation through its understated performance, and inherent flexibility.  But perhaps most notably, it exemplifies Marcel Dassault’s famous quote, “for an aircraft to fly well, it must be beautiful.”

And now, it is available to Airly members and charter clients.

Private Jet Etiquette

Private jet etiquette: From NBA All-Star Amar’e Stoudemire

Former NBA All-Star Amar’e Stoudemire has weighed in on the private jet etiquette debate.

Private Jet Etiquette with Amar'e Stoudemire.
Amar’e Stoudemire via Instagram

Only known to those who fly private frequently, there’s an unofficial guide to etiquette when flying on a private jet.

Speaking recently with Bloomberg, the NBA legend detailed two of his tips, but we’ll add a couple more to make this article more informative.

Private jet etiquette Tip 1: Leave the red wine for later

The first tip Stoudemire brings up in the interview is around the consumption of wine onboard a private jet.

Most private jet cabins feature light-coloured seats and carpets and you don’t want to be that person spilling a nice Shiraz onto cream leather.

Amar’e suggests to stick with the whites or Rosé.

Tip 2: The host always boards the jet first

It can be quite exciting flying private for the first time.

But as you’re grabbing those selfies as you board, make sure you’re not pushing past your host to get on first.

Stoudemire believes the host should always board the private jet first in a sign of appreciation and perfect etiquette.

Private Jet Etiquette Boarding

Tip 3: Be punctual but not too early

This tip comes from our Member Care team.

One reason private jets are a preferred method of travel is the ability to adjust schedules and timings to suit.

You don’t fly private to sit in a lounge for 2 hours, you fly private to be able to grab a quick snack and be wheels up in ten minutes.

We suggest getting to your departure lounge location 15-20 minutes prior to departure.

Should you be running late, let your captain and/or member care specialist know as airport slots may need to be adjusted.

Tip 4: Know your (luggage) limits

Make sure you discuss luggage allowances with your member care specialist.

Some private jets we frequently use, like the Phenom 300E, can take a serious amount of luggage.

However, there are some jets that will struggle to fit multiple suitcases per person.

To avoid embarrassment and keep your experience smooth and seamless on the tarmac, simply reach out ahead of time and ensure what you will bring with you can fit.

Private Jet Etiquette Ask Questions

Tip 5: There are no stupid questions

Flying private can provide some of the most positive and memorable experiences.

But for those new to the industry, there may be questions you have but you may be too afraid to ask.

This tip is to promise to you that there are no stupid questions.

If you have a question, concern or comment do not hesitate to ask your member care team.

Did we miss any etiquette tips? Let us know via Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn.

escapes by private jet

Escapes by private jet – intrastate: Part One

Intrastate escapes by private jet is the stress-free way to travel in 2021.

Australia has been dubbed world class in its response to handling the COVID pandemic. Despite this, local outbreaks have seen borders slammed shut giving residents minimal time to get home.

In January Airly facilitated multiple last minute chartered flights to get residents home because of state border closures. These closures were implemented after a handful of cases.

Avoid the stress and anxiety, stay local.

Here are our team’s top intrastate escapes by private jet.

Queensland

Hamilton Island intrastate private jet escapes

Hamilton Island

The team have seen a surge in flights and private jet rental requests to Hamilton Island. Our members tend to stay at Qualia or the Reef View Hotel.

A private jet from Brisbane to Hamilton Island starts from $22,100* for a 4 seat light jet including a 3 night stay.

New South Wales

intrastate escapes by private jet

Byron Bay

The most popular destination for our members and charter clients has been Byron Bay. Our members tend to stay at Elements of Byron, if not their own holiday house.

A private jet from Sydney to Byron Bay starts from $11,500* for a 4 seat light jet including a single night stay.

snow escapes by private jet

NSW Snow Fields

Winter is coming and the snow resorts are preparing for a bumper 2021 snow season.

Members tend to stay at Rockpool Lodge at Thredbo but there are other great accommodation options at both Thredbo and Perisher.

The best way to get to the NSW snow fields is to fly by private jet to Cooma and your member care team will be able to facilitate a seamless transfer to the resort. A 4 seat light jet to Cooma starts from $10,120* including a single night stay.

nsw escapes by private jet

NSW Far South Coast

Towns such as Merimbula, Tathra (pictured), Bermagui and Narooma can provide a more quaint escape compared to Byron Bay.

Accommodation is plentiful with our pick being Coast Resort in Merimbula.

The far south coast can be accessed via Moruya or Merimbula Airports with prices starting from $10,120* for a 4 seat light jet including a single night stay.

Victoria

victorian escapes by private jet

Port Fairy

Port Fairy is a quiet village on the Great Ocean Road with stunning Air BnB’s, beautiful beaches, a historic port and growing food and arts scene.

It’s a little left field, but we find Port Fairy an incredible spot to recharge.

Port Fairy can be accessed via Warrnambool Airport with a 4 seat light jet priced from $7,500*.

snow escapes by private jet

Mount Hotham

Much like the NSW snow fields, the Victorian snow fields should also see a bumper year with travellers staying local this snow season.

Our members prefer to stay at Zirkys Mount Hotham. A 4 seat light jet would be priced from $5,000* same-day return or stay as long as you like from $8,950*.

To book your intrastate escape connect with Member Care via our private jet app, WhatsApp or via SMS.

* indicative pricing only subject to availability,

private jet membership

Airly’s private jet membership surpasses 300 members

Airly is proud to announce more than 300 members have now joined our SHARED program. This program is Australia’s first and only private jet membership.

private jet membership

About Airly’s private jet membership

Launched in 2019 the SHARED program enables members to initiate or opt into shared flights onboard private jets for the cost of business class.

Members are free to initiate the flights they need via the Airly private jet app at no cost. Once a flight is initiated the alert goes out to others on the SHARED program and invites them to opt in.

Routes along the SHARED network include Sydney – Melbourne, Sydney – Ballina / Byron Bay and Sydney – Gold Coast.

With ongoing border instability we’ll be launching new seasonal routes in the future including Sydney – Cooma, Melbourne – Mount Hotham and Brisbane – Hamilton Island.

private jet app

The perks of the SHARED program are best described by Lee Teirney, one of our first SHARED members, who loved the concept so much he joined the team in 2020 as VP of Membership and Experience.

As an Airly member having access to shared flights meant that I could have the convenience of flying private for a fraction of the cost, and non of the hassle of a crowded Airport.  Also having the opportunity to meet a wide range of like minded people.

Lee Teirney – SHARED member and now VP Membership & Experience

We’re thrilled to be working on a new product that will completely revolutionise private jet charter. The introduction of this new product will also have benefits for members on the SHARED program as well.

After facilitating 11 flights in 2020 we want to see more members initiating flights, and most importantly, activate at least 4 SHARED flights per month.

To learn more about our SHARED program click here.

Airly Private Jet Member in mask

Airly’s Response to a Global Pandemic

At Airly we have always taken your safety seriously and while private jets are always maintained to the highest standards of cleanliness we have added in a few extra precautions for when you fly:

  • We request all guests flying on shared flights to wear a mask
  • Passengers will be temperature checked at the lounge before the flight
  • Use of hand sanitizer pre and post flight
  • We will also take a 14 day travel history
  • Some operators also strongly encourage the use of the COVID safe app

Airly Private Jet Member in mask
An Airly member on a recent Gold Coast – Melbourne flight.

For your peace mind we can also provide whole plane charters if you prefer, please ask us for a quote via the Airly App or WhatsApp.

If you have any concerns about your safety please let us know.

intrastate escapes by private jet

Airly announces resumption of popular getaway flights

Australia’s fastest growing aviation company, Airly, has announced plans to resume offering members seats on private flights to Byron Bay and Mt Hotham just in time for the July school holidays.

Airly members can opt into an existing flight or initiate a new one on a luxury private jet via the Airly app. The innovative on-demand service, which requires arrival only 15 minutes prior to departure, makes flying private convenient and affordable.

The cost of the seats on the member-only flights from Sydney and Melbourne are comparable to business class.

With the commercial airlines still only planning to be at 40 per cent pre-pandemic capacity by the end of July, and only 46 Sydney to Melbourne flights a week for the foreseeable future, interest in Airly has grown significantly since COVID-19. App-usage is up by 80% and membership has more than doubled since Airly’s popular Sydney / Melbourne flights resumed in May.

“Over the last few weeks, we’ve seen a surge in business travellers using our service to get their businesses moving now that restrictions are easing. With limited local options from the commercial airlines, and no way to holiday overseas, we expect domestic travellers looking to make the most of the upcoming winter break will make up the next wave,” explained Luke Hampshire, Airly’s Co-founder.

“For holiday makers, Airly creates the opportunity to travel in style for very little additional cost compared to flying business class with the commercial airlines. The more members fly with Airly, the more flights become available. Our innovative membership-based approach creates a network effect,” added Luke.

As borders reopen more shared flight opportunities will be offered including the Gold Coast from both Sydney and Melbourne.

Airly Co Founder Luke Hampshire

‘Essential travel hasn’t stopped’: Australian private jet startup Airly has seen an 80% rise in usage during the coronavirus pandemic

View the full article here.

While the travel industry has taken a massive hit from the coronavirus pandemic, the number of people using Aussie private jet startup Airly has risen.

Airly, which launched in 2016, is an app-based service where members can book flights on a private jet – either by opting-in to an existing flight, or initiating a new one.

Co-founder Luke Hampshire told Business Insider Australia the service had been busy during the fourth quarter of 2019 until the bushfires hit and travel started declining. Then the coronavirus pandemic struck, initially causing a decline in usage.

But, in recent months, that has changed. Hampshire said usage on the app is up 80%, with the company doubling its membership numbers over the last three months.

The pandemic threw a very large spanner in the works for airlines both internationally and in Australia. In March, Qantas suspended all international flights, around 60% of domestic flights and stood down around 20,000 workers. Meanwhile, in April, Virgin Australia collapsed into voluntary administration.

Hampshire said flights over the past two weeks have been above average with June “looking very busy”.

Airly Co Founder Luke Hampshire

“We’re in one of the best positions globally from the COVID perspective,” Hampshire said. “We’re very nimble. We’re able to move quickly, we see the demand, we see the interest [and] we can apply that model to what’s required. Whereas the airlines are slow-moving. They have a lot of assets, they have a lot of moving parts that take time to scale up.”

How Airly works

Hampshire describes Airly as a service that merges the perks of private travel with the predictability of commercial flights. “The big goal has always been how can we make private [flights] accessible and affordable to more sophisticated travellers,” he said.

Airly doesn’t require users to pay ongoing membership fees.

“We don’t want people paying for not using us,” Hampshire said. “So basically we can get members in now with no ongoing fees, let them check the app out, let them initiate a flight risk-free, get them on board and get them flying.” It was a decision the company made once the coronavirus pandemic set in, as a new way to provide value for its members.

Once you download the app and apply for membership, you get to either opt in for an existing flight or initiate a flight.

“What happens is that it sends out a notification to all the other members that the flight’s been initiated,” Hampshire explained. “The big difference for us is that you’re not paying for the whole jet, you’re just paying for what you need. And then we rely on other members to get on board, get involved and to book as well.”

Cost-wise, a flight from Melbourne to Sydney or Sydney to the Gold Coast flight costs $1295 a seat each way.

Most of Airly’s customers are business owners

Airly isn’t a scheduled operation. The company had considered it as a business model in the past but never went ahead with it.

“What we feel is the best option is to let our members decide when they need to go,” he said. “Ironically, they tend to be at similar times, which is helpful. It means you can get more than one group of members on a round trip.”

“Members who didn’t know each other prior to the flight actually become strong connections by the end of the flight,” Hampshire added.

Most of Airly’s current customer base are business owners. “Essential travel hasn’t stopped,” Hampshire said.

He explained that there was a period of time during the start of the pandemic when everyone was isolating – something Airly was advocating for as well. No one was flying through March and part of April before travellers started returning, especially business owners who have to travel to each of their business locations.

“It’s quite a contrast to everyone expecting work from home and Zoom to take over,” Hampshire said. “We’re still seeing those business owners needing to get from A to B.”

As a charter flight company, Airly is capable of doing global flights, including repatriation trips all the way from Europe. However, the company’s core focus is its shared flights – mainly from Sydney to Melbourne.

While Airly can provide charter flights for one-off destinations, its shared flights aim to capture the most popular routes. They do seasonal flights to destinations like Byron Bay and the Sunshine Coast, as well as options later in June for the snow season.

The company considers itself a supplementary service rather than a competitor to commercial airlines

Airly has coronavirus preventative measures in place

Airly uses the Embraer range of aircraft – a four-seat option called a Phenom 100 and the eight-seater Phenom 300. Hampshire said having these planes provides consistency for passengers because “we don’t want to be throwing 10 different aircraft at members.”

Embraer Phenom 300
The eight seat Phenom 300

“They’re the perfect jet for us,” Hampshire said. “They’re capable of carrying a lot of luggage, they’re extremely economical, they’re the most carbon efficient jet available in Australia and it’s just a very comfortable ride for your one to two to three-hour flights.”

Hampshire also went through the measures Airly is taking to prevent coronavirus on flights.

Each passenger is required to provide a 14-day travel history before the flight. On the day of the flight, there are temperature checks at the door, and passengers are encouraged to use hand sanitiser. On shared flights, you’ll be required to use face masks, especially when there’s more than one group of members boarding.

While Airly had under 100 members for “a long period of time” through 2019, it now has more than 180 members. It wants to become the first point of call for people looking for a flight.

“The big goal now is to aggressively expand with our investors and keep increasing flights and as borders open we get Australia moving,” Hampshire said. “Right now it’s business travellers [and] we can’t wait until we can start moving leisure travellers around again.”