Skynet (Stand 860), an online provider of FBO pricing and booking services, has signed up Jet Aviation to trial its software at the latter’s London Biggin Hill facility. It also has signed contracts with Austria’s Caeroscene Flight Support, UK charter operator Synergy Aviation and two service providers–First Class Cars and Cuisine Air.
The Skynet software is intended to allow operators to view real-time pricing for handling at different locations, as well as rates for associated services, such as ground transportation and catering. They can also use the system to book handling directly with FBOs and handling agents, and this is their main motive for signing up.
Skynet managing director Tim Gill explained that the software allows all parties involved in managing a trip to have access to the information they need, to make bookings and to store account information. This covers the aircraft operators themselves, FBO staff, flight planners and third-party service vendors. He claimed it is the only FBO management tool that allows FBOs to upload all real-time prices, and it allows operators to complete a full trip profile, including costs.
Operators and flight planners who are licensed users of Skynet will be able to create accounts in which they nominate their preferred suppliers at any given location, with specified contracted rates linked to a particular FBO. This should be more efficient for larger companies responsible for significant volumes of traffic through particular locations in that they will not have to specify a particular rate with a particular service provider each time one of their aircraft is in town.
Skynet will also display the status of orders for requested services with color coding and confirmation of the agreed rate for each of these. The system can automatically reissue supply orders for these services in the event that a flight’s arrival time changes, following an update from the FBO or operator.
The UK company has not yet finalized its complete pricing policy for licenses, with rates depending on the scale of the organization. For example, an FBO chain with 10 sites will pay a fee for each site but an unlimited number of users will be able to log on at each site. FBOs will have the option of paying a larger license fee to build their own online store to market specific services and goods. Eventually third-party service providers, such as local concierges or limousine providers, will pay a small fee for posting their rates.
In the first year, following a free trial period, Gill indicated that a single-site FBO “of a reasonable size” would pay approximately £5,000 ($8,000). This rate covers training and support, and in the second and subsequent years it would fall to about 25 percent of the initial rate. Skynet is also considering a pay-per-use charging option, and it is putting together a team of specialists to help initial users set up the system and input pricing data.