Kate Sarsfield/LONDON

Pioneer online charter reservation company Skyjet.com is to introduce an incentive programme to drive up the demand for, and appeal of, business aircraft charter in the USA.

SkyJet founder and president Trevor Cornwell says: "Since we were acquired by Bombardier [in July], we have the financial and intellectual capital to create a business jet experience unsurpassed in the industry."

Although full details are not expected to be released until later this year, Cornwell says the programme, dubbed SkyClub, will offer a loyalty programme to its "premier customers", in a similar vein to frequent-flyer programmes used by the airlines. Premier customers will benefit from block charter hours or regular one-off flights. "We plan to offer a number of very attractive elements to reward customers for using our service, such as discounts and free upgrades from a narrow to a widebody aircraft," Cornwell adds.

He acknowledges that its acquisition by Bombardier has endorsed SkyJet.com, allowing the Washington DC-based company to implement its three-year-old business plan and shore up the appeal of chartering.

"We will bear the cost of these incentives [which] will enable us to give value to aircraft charter in the USA and make it a viable alternative to fractional ownership and airline travel," he says.

SkyJet.com is attempting to improve the aircraft charter reservation process and has created a dedicated software package to "make it as easy to book a business jet as an airline ticket". To aid this process and increase efficiency and quality of service, SkyJet is strengthening the relationship with its suppliers. Cornwell says: "We are encouraging a two-way flow of information to enable us to ascertain where the peak demand is on a given day. As operators update [aircraft movements] into the system, information can be provided on a systematic rather than anecdotal basis."

SkyJet.com also specialises in online charter auctions, allowing customers to bid for positioning flights posted by operators.

Source: Flight International