Article

Chris Kuiper – Removing the barriers to private jet travel

16 Sep 2022

Hi Chris. Can you tell us about the idea behind Catch-a-Jet

We’re an app that’s been created to connect the empty leg flights of private jet operators with travellers.

The end user is our start point for everything, and the app really is built around them and their needs. The result is a solution where they can book and pay for an empty leg flight in under a minute. And our goal is always to make it as efficient and as easy as possible.

And what was your inspiration for the app?

Well, the idea came about as a result of a conversation I had with a private jet operator. He told me that around 50% of his flights were flown without passengers. I was curious, so I dug deeper to understand the figures and see what’s been done in the past to try and reach the end users for these empty legs.

What really motivated me was the idea of removing the barriers, for both end users and operators. Listening to the industry, and to a lot of potential end users, has influenced our business model.

Operators would typically have to pay to feature on a platform like ours, but we’ve made it as attractive as possible by not charging them anything until the flight has been sold through our platform.
And for end users, they don’t want a platform where they must register first, provide an email address in return for membership, or be bombarded with notifications. So, we’ve avoided all of those things.

The Catch-a-Jet app uses the Avinode Empty Leg API. How have you found working with Avinode?

It’s been fantastic, and I’ve learnt so much from the guys at Avinode about the technology and APIs in general.

I’m very grateful for Avinode because you’re the biggest on the planet at what you do, and the support you’ve given me… you guys rock!

I’ve been working closely with Sam Sidea, one of your engineers. Sam is worth a statue to your company in my view. I’ve also had a lot of support from Viktoriya (Gopfauf) and Saskia (de Jong) – they’ve been a pleasure to work with.

And what does that API integration mean?

It means that we’re able to make something that’s unique and attractive to end users and operators.

Take operators for example. If they had to constantly input their flights manually, that’s a lot of work for the sales department. But by integrating the Avinode API, they only need to verify which flights should be appearing, and the rest is taken care of automatically. And of course, they keep full control over the flights and any details associated with it.

Also, the API integrated into our platform lets us pull data from Avinode, which also makes it easy for us to add and onboard new operators. And now there’s the empty leg pricing module too, so we can offer more accurate pricing, which is invaluable.

Take operators for example. If they had to constantly input their flights manually, that’s a lot of work for the sales department. But by integrating the Avinode API, they only need to verify which flights should be appearing, and the rest is taken care of automatically. And of course, they keep full control over the flights and any details associated with it.

Also, the API integrated into our platform lets us pull data from Avinode, which also makes it easy for us to add and onboard new operators. And now there’s the empty leg pricing module too, so we can offer more accurate pricing, which is invaluable.

You’re providing a solution where everybody wins?

Yes, we are. For operators, if they receive €1,000 for an empty leg flight that’s better than the alternative, which is to take nothing at all. And every flight booked could lead to a new lifetime customer if we get people onboard an aircraft who have never been on a private jet before.

It sounds like you really know you audience

That’s true, and we’ve done a lot of research. In each country where we go live we have a marketing person who has profiled our potential end users. We’re typically looking at 30-75 year olds who can afford empty leg flights, and this is a big market.

Marketing is as important as the platform for us, and we’ve made it our business to know about these people; the events they attend, the magazines they read, and the brands they’re drawn to. We’re currently looking at some exciting partnerships with brands that share our audience, so we can come together to offer them a complete and unique travel experience.

It sounds like exciting times ahead, Chris. Best of luck in the future

Thank you. We’re still a relatively new business but things are going well, and we know there’s potential to make a real difference in the sector.