Private flight booking portal Victor is seeking to raise almost $2.3 million to expand its web-based business into German-speaking parts of Europe. According to founder Clive Jackson, membership has tripled, to around 670 people since Victor’s launch in August 2011. He declined to disclose transaction rates but insists that these too are growing.
FlyVictor.com allows members to book available aircraft and resell individual seats to share flight costs with other members. UK-based Victor takes 30 percent of the income from seat resales, or a 5-percent commission if no seats are resold.
German-speaking clients from Germany, Switzerland and Austria have shown a strong interest in Victor, prompting the company to introduce a dedicated site for them beginning at the end of last month. By the end of next month, the site will also feature a new interface that, according to Jackson, will make it easier for users to track aircraft availability on any given day. Victor will also provide operators with more data on charter demand patterns, helping them to position their aircraft more efficiently.
Jackson told AIN that Victor is seeing growth in the average amount members spend on charter using the site, as well as an increase in the number of flights they are taking. In his view, FlyVictor’s role in spreading the cost of private aviation means that it will buck the recessionary trend facing the European industry this year. “We are finding that members who have been able to sell seats have felt able to take an extra flight as a result of this,” said Jackson. “They do more trips because they can offset the costs.”
One trend identified through early usage of FlyVictor has been that the site’s option to buy seats at fixed prices has proved to be more popular than the FareShare option, where seat prices fluctuate according to how many buyers commit to a particular aircraft. But it will continue to offer both options.
Victor has appointed Cobalt Corporate Finance to find new investors and it expects to have raised the funds by the end of this month. Jackson emphasized that he will not allow the site to fall under the control of charter operators or brokers so the company can avoid any conflict of interest and ensure that the services offered are done so in a neutral and transparent way.