How the likes of JetSmarter, Surf Air are disrupting the airline industry


The emergence of private jet marketplace players such as Strata Jet, Surf Air and JetSmarter not only came in as a fresh wave of innovation, it also changed the course of private aviation industry by disrupting it. In their own unique way, these new ventures democratized private air travel, which led to the creation of a new community of travelers who are up and about at the prospect of being a part of something better.

The private aviation industry existed on a completely different tangent a decade ago. There was no ease of access, no sharing economy, no digitalization at all. Everything seemed to be anachronistic as people went about booking private jets manually over the phone. As compared to other industries, the private aviation sector went the digital way much later, and it’s good because the customer can reap the benefits.

Private jet startups broke the wheel of monotony in private aviation through their exploration of sharing economy. The concept of ‘Uber for Private Jets’ not only widened the horizon of private aviation, it also proved that luxury doesn’t necessarily mean burning a hole in your pocket. However, the most salient feature of the ideation remains bridging the huge gap between the demand and supply of private aviation solutions.

Various surveys reveal that an average private jet has a gross flying time of about 200 hours per year. This figure is poles apart from the ideal flying time of about 1,500 hours per year, clearly exhibiting the fact that the load factor for these private jets remains very low, with only two or three people boarding each flight.

JetSmarter CEO Sergey Petrossov, in his interview with Forbes, said, ““The supply side was ripe for disruption and then obviously the demand side there’s a massive pool of people who would like to experience private aviation at a lower cost. We just bridged the gap.”

Private aviation startups like Surf Air and JetSmarter offer great ‘value for money’ in terms of their membership plans. For example, a standard JetSmarter membership comes at about $15,000 a year, and drops down to $13,000 for the second year. The standard membership provides with unlimited flights to customized destinations on last-minute empty leg flights and shuttles.

Those who think shelling out 15 grand is way too much – have got an option as well. The company offers a more affordable alternative – the Founders’ Membership, which comes at just $5,000 a year, and entitles the member for one token, which could be used while booking flights. A win-win situation for the customer in case they want to hitch around cheap.

Private jet ventures like Strata Jet, Surf Air and JetSmarter are liberating not just the travelers, but also the aviation industry as a whole. These startups are proving to be a blessing to people who fly frequently, and are tired of going through the exhausting process of standing in never-ending queues at the airport.

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