Avinode (Booth B71), a Swedish provider of online charter aircraft sourcing and booking software for operators and brokers, is highlighting at EBACE 2019 a new product aimed at helping its customers find and sell more short-notice charter flights. Called Takeoff Ready, the product ensures that not only is an aircraft available for charter in the next four days but that there is a crew to fly it.
A lot can happen between the time an aircraft’s availability for charter is scheduled—as long as 90 to 180 days in advance—and the actual flight, including crew illness and availability, or an owner deciding he needs his airplane on this date when six months ago he didn’t. “Especially now, with pilot shortages and owners that are flying a lot, just because the schedule shows the aircraft isn’t doing anything doesn’t necessarily mean that aircraft is available for charter,” Avinode executive v-p of the Americas Per Marthinsson told AIN.
More than a third of requests through Avinode’s system are for flights within the next 96 hours, which is why Takeoff Ready’s focus is only on that time period. “The reason for [96 hours] is that’s when you know what your crew schedule basically looks like,” he said, adding schedulers should also have a pretty good idea of an aircraft owner’s intentions in that window of time. “Thirty-five to 40 percent of all the requests in the Avinode system are sent for this time period,” which would be about 7,000 of the 20,000 average daily charter requests made through Avinode’s system, Marthinsson added.
One possible drawback to Takeoff Ready is the requirement that operators, including aircraft management firms, have to manually input an airplane and crew’s availability into the system. In the past, Avinode has been asked to overlay crew schedules with aircraft schedules while also factoring in the needs of owners of managed aircraft, which make up the majority of charter aircraft in Avinode’s system, according to Marthinsson. “And what we have said is we don’t believe you solve this by collecting more data from computerized systems.”
Motivation to manually input information into the system will come from operators and aircraft management companies eager to put their airplanes and crews to work, Marthinsson believes. It enhances their exposure to the market and generates revenue for an asset that would otherwise be sitting on the ground, he said. “We are not relying only on computer availability, but we are having users coming in saying, ‘This is what I want to sell, this is what my owner wants to sell,’ and be able to promote that to a community of 7,000 users around the world.”