Clive Jackson, serial tech entrepreneur and CEO of Victor, will be speaking on the panel at a seminar this tomorrow afternoon entitled “Can business aviation expand to meet the expectations of a new category of passengers?” at a time when his own company has grown to do just that.
Launched in 2011, the charter and empty leg/per seat sales site Flyvictor.com can now be used to access availability from more than 100 aircraft operators representing a total fleet that already exceeds 800 aircraft worldwide.
Speaking with AIN just before EBACE, Jackson said the London-based company now has offices in Moscow and Frankfurt, with the next step being the U.S. market. “The big push for us now for us is to go to New York in Q3,” said Jackson. “We have started doing flights to, from and within the U.S. already and have some U.S. operators.” In fact, he said, the company has had “numerous approaches” from operators keen to be included on the Victor system. The company now working on what he described as “a very exciting deal announcement on what we are doing in the U.S.–it’ll be big news in about one month’s time.”
A central part of Victor’s philosophy is transparency, so its web-based booking system provides full information on the operator, even serving to promote the operators.
“Our ambitions are three-fold,” said Jackson. “One, we want to become the best-known and most trusted brand–so the benchmark is to look at NetJets, though we’ve got a very different model. Within the next two years we want to be more well known than NetJets.”
The second part is using scalable technology that can be multi-country and multi-language. To this end Victor is developing a new system including a new mobile device app, said Jackson. “[At EBACE] we’ll be doing some previews of our new platform and app; it’s a whole new customer experience.” This will come to market within the next four weeks,” he added.
Third is customer service. “First and foremost we’re providing the best service for private aircraft charter,” said Jackson. And although the operators and aircraft on Victor’s system are available through other brokers, Victor’s transparent approach and focus on quality of operators and its own customer service is what sets it apart, Jackson said. “The issue in the industry at the moment is the vagaries of, for example, empty legs if the aircraft doesn’t actually fly when the charterer changes their mind.
“People ask all the time why we are different from other brokers. It’s because we are marketing the operators and their aircraft as well as ourselves,” he said. Victor is also different from the likes of Avinode, which is a B2B service. “Our space is the business-to-consumer one,” said Jackson.
Much of Victor’s recent growth has come from corporate customers, after two to three years of growth driven by, he said, “private individuals, entrepreneurs and multiple-company owners. The past nine months we’ve been seeing corporates and travel management companies, they all love the transparency.” Jackson predicts “massive growth” for Victor as it adopts smarter technology, linking into scheduling systems and bringing in a much wider audience. And his message to operators? “We will continue to expand the fleet and operators–it’s free to list and we’ll deliver for you.”
Jackson concluded by saying, “EBACE is ideal for meeting these people, it’s a great event for bringing people together.”