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Jettly acquired Online Jet Charters in 2021. Image courtesy of Jettly

Private jet travel has accelerated amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and online broker and private jet marketplace Jettly has played a significant role in making the transportation mode more accessible to a new generation.

Established in 2016, Jettly allows clients to search its network of operators to charter flights entirely online, fitlering through operators’ jets, charter prices and seating capacities based on origins and destinations. By focusing on simplifying the jet charter process rather than operations, Jettly differentiates itself with a flexible, customer-centric model.

“We don’t have a fleet of aircraft,” said Justin Crabbe, CEO at Jettly, Toronto. “We’re focused on making it easier, and less expensive, to access private jets when you need them.”

In this Q&A, Mr. Crabbe discusses what how Jettly has established its niche in the private aviation industry and why millennial affluents are drawn to the platform. Here is the dialogue:

Jettly CEO Justin Crabbe. Image courtesy of Jettly

What experiences did you have in aviation or technology that led you to launch Jettly?

I’ve been working in technology my entire career as an entrepreneur.

And, I’m also a pilot. Jettly was an interesting and intriguing way for me to bring to bear my experience with startups, technology and the aviation market to solve a very real problem.

It shouldn’t be so hard to compare prices for private jet travel, to book an itinerary. We’ve used online tools in our day-to-day lives since the late 1990s.

Nowadays, every airline has an app where you can book a flight, let alone a website. So, why not for private jets?

It’s historically been an industry averse to technology disruption, and that’s what Jettly is focused on, day in, day out.

Jettly has been described as “Expedia for private jets” – what makes the platform a unique player in private aviation?

The traditional model is for an executive assistant or corporate travel manager to pick up the phone and call an air charter broker or an air operator at an airport to book a private jet.

Can you imagine doing that today to book a flight on an airline? No way.

The most convenient way to do this is online, and more than that, to be able to compare estimated fares, add elements like food and ground transportation.

Jettly has built that experience — one that is just as familiar to an EA as it is to a CEO or a corporate travel manager — but for the private jet space.

What is Jettly’s relationship with private aviation firms such as NetJets, Wheels Up, VistaJet, etc.?

Many of their aircraft are generally available to book in the Jettly platform. They want customers.

But unlike our competitors, we’re not focused on operating aircraft, which we totally respect.

As a pilot, I can assure you that is a big job, in and of itself. We’re focused on bringing information, availability and the ability to book online directly to our customers.

How does Jettly engage and reach prospective clients?

Our name has grown quite popular over the years, especially through word-of-mouth. We focus our efforts on inbound marketing for the most part and let our value speak for itself.

We reach prospective clients using a combination of techniques including social media, influencer marketing, paid search marketing, affiliate marketing and optimizing our website and mobile app for Google search results.

Our sales team is able to convert commercial business class travelers who come to Jettly looking for charter quotes quite easily.

About 40 percent of Jettly’s clients are millennials. Why do you think Jettly’s model appeals so much to millennial consumers?

More than any other customer group, millennials want speed, transparency, and a user experience they are familiar with.

We’ve grown up digital. We’ve never called a travel agent. We’ve never called a jet broker.

Members can use the Jettly app or site to book private jet charters online. Image credit: Jettly

We’ve never picked up the phone to buy a flight and for that matter, it’s a total annoyance to call an airline. Nobody has time for that.

At the same time, we see many of our peers bringing groups of people together on a single private flight, where the cost approaches flying in business or first class. If others can do it, we can too.

So that’s the mindset. And as a direct result, Jettly’s tool resonates with them. They get it without having to think about it.

Order groceries online? FreshDirect or Instacart. Order clothes? Go directly to the brand website or Net-A-Porter. Book a private jet? Hmm, where can I do that? Jettly.

Can you tell us about Jettly’s future plans as interest in private aviation grows?

I’ve built this company in a sustainable way. We’ve not taken outside investment, we’re not a flash-in-the-pan startup, by design.

We are in this for the long haul. We’ve been very fortunate, since the beginning, to have paying customers who understand exactly what we bring to the table: transparency, speed to booking, and an experience that they are used to when booking travel.

When you have customers, paying real dollars, and you’re profitable, the sky’s the limit.

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