Web-based booking system provides instant view of availability, routes and costs

Business aircraft online booking company Avinode is embarking on a major expansion into the USA following its success in Europe, where the company now claims to have access to 85% of the available business jets.

The Gothenburg, Sweden-based company was formed in 2001, initially focusing on helping customers achieve higher utilisation of the forthcoming generation of very-light jets.

“But we quickly saw a demand further up the scale,” says managing director Niklas Berg.

Since then Avinode has grown from 215 members in mid-2004 to around 450 today, 260 of which are operators, the rest brokers. The number of aircraft contained in its system has doubled in the past year, to 1,000.

The company remains the only one of its type in Europe and now it views the USA as a major opportunity to expand.

Avinode already claims 20% of the US market, where it will compete with the largest online booking company in the USA, CharterX.com.

Berg points out that there remains a large untapped potential with operators and brokers that have yet to sign with either.

The Avinode system is accessed with user name and password via its web site, www.avinode.com, which provides an instant view of the availability of business aircraft for any route, including the flight time and cost.

A cargo booking system was added in 2004, which shows availability of aircraft in Europe and Russia for urgent deliveries.

According to Gavin Copus, passenger sales manager of UK broker Air Charter Services, Avinode provides a “very useful time-saving tool, which allows us to accurately quote indication prices and flight times to our clients”.

But he adds that, despite the real-time nature of the system, aircraft availability as seen on the website is not always guaranteed. “They can be taken at any moment, so when you check Avinode, then send a request, it could already have gone.”

Copus says this reflects the “extremely dynamic” business aviation environment. “It’s fast and furious. More and more aircraft are coming on to the market and we’re seeing the need for this kind of specialised travel grow as airlines tend towards low-cost operations and customers look for increasing flexibility.”


Source: Flight International