Fresh Jets formally launched its online live empty-leg platform in March, offering a new way for charter users to be introduced to charter operators. Instead of just listing inventory that may or may not exist, Fresh Jets is a software system that charter operators and corporate travel departments can use to take advantage of empty legs.
The reason for starting what might seem like yet another empty-leg marketing company, said Fresh Jets CEO Timmy Wozniak, “is because there hasn’t been one that has really figured it out.” The idea is to work with travelers and corporate travel departments and show them how they can use available funds to buy empty legs, not only as a reasonably priced way to travel but also to introduce them to business aviation charter. This benefits both the traveler and the charter operators that use the Fresh Jets platform, he explained.
So far Fresh Jets has more than 149 jets among 10 operators on its platform. Fresh Jets isn’t just a website showing available empty legs; it also provides its own software to participants for listing and booking empty legs. Among the charter operators that have signed up already are TWC Aviation, Schubach Aviation, Pacific Coast Jet, Mountain Aviation and Monterey Pacific Executive Charter. Charter users can see available inventory, including pricing, using the Fresh Jets mobile app.
Fresh Jets doesn’t make money from any of the empty-leg flights that it facilitates, and there is no charge to the end-user. Only the participating companies pay by licensing the software from Fresh Jets. “They can list their empty-leg inventory and respond to customer requests,” Wozniak said. “What they’re paying for in licensing fees is based on each aircraft, and then they can connect with all of our members. We’re not allowing any brokers to list anything or connect on the system. The reason we chose that route is that we don’t want to affect their price integrity and list flights that may or may not exist. It’s all real inventory, and a price has to be attached to the flight.”
Charter end-users can sign up as Leisure or Corporate members. Leisure members are typically individuals traveling on their own or with family. Corporate membership allows the member to manage travel to common travel locations so that, for example, if an empty leg becomes available for a typical trip, the member will be notified. Fresh Jets has more than 1,000 Leisure members and 325 Corporate members, each with 10 or more active travelers.
During its first three weeks of operation, Fresh Jets had 140 flights listed and sold 12 of them. Fresh Jets pricing includes all taxes and fees. Participating charter operators can add inventory themselves using the Fresh Jets system or email the inventory details to Fresh Jets. The company is also developing interfaces with other travel software systems so that Corporate members’ travel departments can easily view available inventory. “We saw this as a huge opportunity to introduce this to corporate travel, especially C-level executives,” Wozniak said.