Charter Booking Site Stratajet Prepares To Go Live

 - February 4, 2013, 4:15 AM

Charter booking portal Stratajet is signing an initial group of aircraft operators for system tests that it hopes will lead to a full launch in this year’s second quarter. The company has dropped earlier plans to charge operators to list aircraft in its Stratafleet database and is guaranteeing fixed, all-inclusive charter rates to passengers.

According to CEO Jonathan Nicol, Stratajet will be the first charter portal to generate accurate pricing, rather than estimated quotes. The company has combined proprietary algorithms and software to compute 14 “pricing elements” based on 247 separate operating-cost components, taking into account factors such as landing and handling fees.

Changing operating costs will be tracked in part by software that flags price expiration dates supplied by service providers. Stratajet also employs researchers to constantly update information affecting charter rates.

Stratajet will electronically monitor Notams, meteorological data and airfield bulletins. Its software is designed to be able to cross-reference this data with available flight information.

“Currently, there is no [search] engine that can accurately reflect what charter operators want to charge on a given day,” he told AIN. “We can give a 100-percent accurate price immediately online. This is the price we stick to. We guarantee the price [to the passenger]; we take all the risk and we are responsible for the flight.”

Europe-wide Operation Planned

For alpha and beta testing of the system, Stratajet is using a group of just eight UK operators serving a small group of select clients based in the London area. Among the operators that have committed to the system so far are Synergy Aviation, SaxonAir, Centreline Air and Catreus.

The company intends to extend the system to operators and clients across Europe once the technology is proven. In addition to its website, Stratajet will also employ a charter support team available around the clock.

Operators logging aircraft in Stratafleet will need to provide performance, noise and emissions data for each aircraft, as well as aircraft availability and their desired revenue for flights booked through Stratajet. Operators will be able to interface Stratajet with other scheduling software, such as Leon Software, and will be able to track and analyze fleet utilization and revenue potential through the platform.

Nicol claims that Stratajet will greatly reduce empty-leg flights, which he said account for 40 percent of all the charter fleet’s movements. He argued that the current broker model is not sustainable. “I believe the market as a whole has become complacent and airlines are becoming an increasingly attractive alternative to private charter,” he asserted. “This has to change if we hope to build demand and restore some vitality to this market.”

The company will charge passengers a commission for booking flights via Stratajet. However, it has yet to confirm how much this will be and whether it will be a flat fee or a percentage of the charter rate. It does claim the charges will be “substantially lower” than those operators currently pay to brokers.