Two business aviation entrepreneurs have launched what they say is the first on-line service to offer air travellers a seamless point-to-point travel experience by linking commercial airlines and air taxi operators, a practice that will make available thousands of public-use airports in the USA and abroad.
Called JetCombo, the web site allows users to select travel combinations that include connecting from airliners at hubs to Part 135 business jets, and in some cases, piston-powered aircraft as small as a Cirrus SR22, to reach the desired end-point, which may be a community airport near the place of business.
"Even commercial airlines have approached us about this as an add-on service for premium passengers," says JetCombo co-founder George Khairallah. "When they fly Hong Kong to New York then get on an Embraer [regional jet], that's not a good experience for some people. They would have connected to a private jet if they knew it was available."
In development for one year, JetCombo interfaces with real-time airline reservation systems and with select Part 135 operators, providing guaranteed pricing for the airline portion and an on-line estimate for the air taxi segment, explains co-founder Michael Thomas.
Future enhancements include real-time access to air taxi operator data in order to be able to provide guaranteed pricing and availability when booking. At present, Thomas says there's a "bit of back and forth" between JetCombo and the operators to close the deal, a process that takes about two hours.
Khairallah says JetCombo started operations in December with a "soft launch" and has been ramping up business slowly. He says there has been "huge amounts" of traffic on the website since early December, with "a lot more" bookings than expected.
Source: Flight International