Zaher Deir seeks to revolutionize private jet charters post-pandemic -Runway Girl
Drawing on more than three decades of experience in the private aviation industry, Zaher Deir saw an opportunity in the booming post-pandemic charter market for an online platform aimed at revolutionizing business jet charters.
In years past, a broker would usually call or email a few select traders with a client’s requirements, waiting for a call or message with prices. This paradigm began to shift 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 an auction platform with an open and accessible hub to meet real-time charter requests and requirements.
Enter AeroBid, which speeds up the process of booking a charter with a state-of-the-art platform accessible through a smartphone-enabled web portal, and which boasts price transparency and accuracy.
Through the platform, brokers can submit detailed flight requests, including aircraft specifications, destinations and special requests. Operators can view flight requests live and can then bid anonymously, in real time, for charter, allowing brokers to receive accurate and up-to-date offers on their flight specifications.
Notably, users are vetted and pay a subscription, but AeroBid plays no role in charter transactions.
AeroBid however insists that its brokers demonstrate industry accreditation, while operators must upload an Air Operator Certificate (AOC). A critical element here is AeroBid’s ability to identify required documentation, regardless of the member’s regulatory jurisdiction.
“The idea came to me during the lockdown, when I had time to think about how our industry needed to change,” explained Deir, who also owns UK-based Jet Connections, which specializes in the charter, management, sale and acquisition of business jets.
Each AeroBid user enters their company details and uploads their documentation through a personal page. Some elements, including AOCs, remain visible to everyone, but other data remains private to the user.
“A broker looking for a flight enters his client’s detailed requirements into a template – date, time, destination, number of passengers, preferred aircraft type, whether car or helicopter connections are needed, medical needs , same year of manufacture of the aircraft, etc. a private traveler might want,” Deir said.Then the requirement is posted on the AeroBid Marketplace.
Every operator sees all requests, wherever they are in the world. Those able to fly respond with fees and other details, including aircraft type. The broker sees global and transparent offers.
At this point, AeroBid has already saved the broker a lot of time and probably exposed their needs to otherwise unknown or unfamiliar traders. For the latter, the platform offers a global knowledge of charter opportunities.
It also means that brokers will see the cheapest option possible. This, Deir said, is where the professionalism of the broker comes in. “They will present the best options to their client and between them they will select the best one. This means that the lowest price does not necessarily win the auction.
For traders, there is another extremely valuable AeroBid service. Empty runs are an inevitable consequence of one-way charters and operators try to avoid them by advertising them, usually at very favorable rates. Now, operators can have AeroBid notify them when a flight request arrives based on their aircraft’s location.
Imagine a London-New York charter where the jet doesn’t need to return to the UK for two or three days. The operator configures AeroBid to notify them when a New York-London demand appears in the market, monetizing what would otherwise have been an empty leg.
“The market is in turmoil,” Deir told Runway Girl Network on April 22, less than three weeks after AeroBid went live.
“We have 75 brokers and ten traders registered and using the platform. I’m really happy to see how busy it is already. Our goal over the next year is to have around 1,000 operators and possibly 4,000 brokers registered. The more users we have, the better the platform will serve everyone.
All images credited to AeroBid