Based on more than three decades of experience in the private aviation industry, Zaher Deir saw an opportunity in the burgeoning post-pandemic charter market for an online platform aimed at revolutionizing bizjet charters.
In years past, a broker would typically call or email a few favored operators with a client’s requirements, waiting on a call or a message back with pricing. This paradigm began to change even before the pandemic, as a proliferation of apps saw an increase in short-notice charters.
Deir knew there was vast potential to go further by creating a bidding platform with an open, accessible hub to fulfill charter requests and requirements in real-time.
Enter AeroBid, which speeds up the process of booking a charter with a state-of-the-art platform accessible via a smartphone-friendly web portal, and which boasts transparency and price accuracy.
Through the platform, brokers can submit detailed flight requests, including aircraft specification, destinations and special requests. Operators can view live flight requests and can then bid anonymously, in real-time, for the charter, allowing brokers to receive accurate, up-to-date bids on their flight specification.
Notably, users are vetted and pay a subscription, but AeroBid plays no part in any charter transaction.
AeroBid does, however, insist that its brokers demonstrate industry accreditation, while operators must upload an air operator’s certificate (AOC). A critical element here is AeroBid’s ability to identify the required documentation regardless of the member’s regulatory jurisdiction.
“The idea came to me during lockdown, when I had time to think about how our industry needed to change,” explained Deir, who also owns UK-based Jet Connections, specializing in business jet charters, management, sales and acquisitions.
Every AeroBid user enters their business details and uploads their documentation through a personal page. Some items, including AOCs, remain visible to everyone, but other data remains private to the user.
“A broker looking for a flight enters their client’s detailed requirements into a template – date, time, destination, number of passengers, preferred aircraft type, whether car or helicopter connections are required, medical needs, even aircraft year of manufacture, and anything else a private traveler might want,” said Deir. Then the requirement is posted into the AeroBid marketplace.
Every operator sees all requests regardless of where they are in the world. Those who are able to fulfill the flight respond with a fee and other details, including aircraft type. The broker sees all-inclusive, transparent bids.
At this point, AeroBid has already saved the broker lots of time and likely exposed their requirement to otherwise unknown or unfamiliar operators. For the latter, the platform delivers global awareness of charter opportunities.
It also means that brokers will see the cheapest possible option. This, Deir said, is where the broker’s professionalism comes in. “They’ll take the top options to their client and between them they’ll select the best one. That means the lowest price doesn’t necessarily win the bid.”
For operators there is a further, extremely valuable AeroBid service. Empty legs are an inevitable consequence of one-way charters and operators strive to avoid them by advertising them, usually at very favorable rates. Now operators can have AeroBid notify them when a flight request comes in suiting their aircraft’s position.
Imagine a London-New York charter where the jet need not return to the UK for two or three days. The operator sets AeroBid to notify them when a New York-London request appears in the marketplace, monetizing what would otherwise have been an empty leg.
“The marketplace is buzzing,” Deir told Runway Girl Network on 22 April, less than three weeks after AeroBid went live.
“We have 75 brokers and ten operators registered and using the platform. I’m really pleased with how busy it is already. Our target over the next year is to have around 1,000 operators and maybe 4,000 brokers registered. The more users we have, the better the platform will serve everyone.”
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All images credited to AeroBid