Uber has made it possible for everyone with a mobile phone and a bank card to get a private car to take them where they want with the push of a button.
Now the sharing economy has been launched via Wingly – a service that allows private pilots to fly with Joe Public.
The flight sharing service provides a quick way to get from A to B, but the main selling point is that it gives someone with sufficient depths access to a private flying experience, which has traditionally been the domain of the ultra-rich.
And it is not necessarily as expensive as you might think. A one-way return trip to the Isle of Wight, for example, starts at £ 26 per person per way, while an excursion to Le Touquet, in northern France, is priced from £ 62. Those prices are of course dependent on when you fly and you may see that the potential account is much higher.
Uber of the skies: Wingly strives to bring private aviation at an affordable price to the masses
The company was founded by Emeric de Waziers, Bertrand Joab-Cornu and Lars Klein in France in 2015, after they saw a gap in the market.
Of the trio, the Waziers is the only one with its own pilot's license. Before Wingly he was the co-founder of Esprit Co who sold French military hats for ceremonies.
Joab-Cornu was intern trainee mechanics, while Klein worked as a self-employed web developer.
They raised € 70,000 (£ 63,000) within the first six months of trading to get the business off the ground.
The sum consists of prize money won from starting competitions, a subsidy from the French government and cash from the personal savings of the founders.
However, initially the company was blocked from operating in France due to concerns raised by the country's aviation overseers.
& # 39;[They] did not like the new model for sharing flights and wanted to revise the activity to ensure safety, "said Ahaad Adiji, head of UK operations in the company.
Wingly was finally released to operate in France and is certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in the United Kingdom.
This is intriguing no money maker for those who do the flying. Wingly & # 39; s pilot book is non-commercial and therefore can not earn money by flying passengers or goods.
But they do get an advantage from flying strangers. The money paid by passengers is used to subsidize the cost of their expensive hobby.
The whole idea is to bring private aviation to the masses at an affordable price, while pilots can share their passion in a cost-effective way at the same time – it's a win-win situation for both parties, "says Ahaad Adiji. , who heads the British operations of the company.
Pilots book their routes, their availability, the number of chairs available and determine their flight price on the Wingly app.
The community of Wingly consists exclusively of non-commercial pilots who are not allowed to benefit from flights by law
Expectant passengers can search the website for flights departing from their area, by destination and price, among others.
Although flights are listed on specific dates, most are flexible. Registered guests can send the pilot a message immediately prior to the booking to discuss the dates and any additional requirements.
Who earns money from the service?
The rules of the civil aviation authorities prohibit private pilots from making a profit, but let them share the costs of driving the aircraft with passengers.
Wingly manages payments through his website and raises an extra variable commission, usually 15 percent plus £ 4 on flights.
The app is not designed to compete with players like Ryanair, EasyJet and other low cost airlines.
Most pilots fly lightweight single-engine piston planes that accommodate two to five passengers at a limited number of destinations in the UK, both at home and in Europe.
Besides the Isle of Wight and Le Touquet, other popular routes from London are a beach holiday to Jersey and a city trip to York.
Since its launch in the United Kingdom in February 2017, more than 2,300 British passengers have flown with Wingly and more than 42,000 have registered for the flight sharing service.
This is 150,000 across Europe and the company now has more than 3,000 British pilots in its books.
Other websites such as Share My Flight and Coavmi offer similar services, but Wingly currently claims to be the largest in the UK in terms of the number of flights offered.
It claims to have been involved in more than 1,500 flight hours in general aviation, saving pilots an estimated £ 90,000. It is 6,200 hours across Europe, representing a saving of £ 500,000 for pilots.
The statistics may flatter Wingly, but the collapse of Skyuber, one of the pioneers of the flight sharing sector, raises serious questions about the lifetime of the business model last year.
I do not think Skyuber has the same scale as we, & # 39; said Adiji.
& # 39; The co-founders of Wingly are pilots and we all have a good relationship with the pilots on the list. Our reach together with our expertise gives us the edge over our competition. & # 39;
But is it safe?
Some claim that traveling with a private plane increases the dangers of flying, and in some ways it does.
On commercial flights there are always at least two pilots and on many flights there are three.
The main reason is for safety: if the worst happens – as the captain gets sick during the flight – having a second pilot on board can be the difference between disastrous and smooth sailing.
Wingly flights are operated by a single pilot, so your options are limited if he / she suffers from a serious midair condition.
Moreover, not all pilots are comfortable with the idea of flying with a stranger next to them.
Wingly can accommodate up to six people (including the pilot) to share the costs of a recreational flight
A recent CAA blog claims that flying with strangers brings new potential problems, ranging from security and personal safety to insurance implications.
But the CAA has said in the past that you are more likely to die from riding and rock climbing.
Adiji said: "We take the safety of passengers very seriously. All pilots must provide a medical certificate and a valid license before they join us. Moreover, we only use aircraft that have been certified by the CAA. & # 39;
Pilots also reserve the right to cancel the flight at any time if they feel that the weather is not optimal or for any other reason, but Wingly reimburses passengers if it can not be rescheduled to another date.
Adiji believes that is the only way for Wingly, who recently raised € 2.5 million (£ 2.2 million) in a seed financing round.
The company plans to use the money to make more new to its 30 strong team, develop its technology and expand internationally.
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