It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it's the Uber of private flights.
Airble is an online marketplace that connects users to private commercial flights. Specifically, ‘dead leg’ flights. According to Kevin Adlparvar, Airble’s business development leader, if someone charters a flight they are paying for their trip from point A to B, but also the costs of getting the plane back to point A.
With Airble, the public can purchase the ‘dead leg’ flights from point B to A, meaning when the plane would otherwise be going back empty.
While other companies offer these flights, Airble brings together flights from different aviation companies in one place.
Airble users currently have the option of 40 aircrafts that fly in and out of more than 300 B.C. airports, said Adlparvar. These flights are operated by licensed commercial pilots who fly everything from triple-prop planes to seaplanes and helicopters.
“Our job is to let the community know where the [airports] are. So, the operators who can access those airports close to them can get them there,” said Adlparvar.
Typically, if someone wants to book any type of private flight, they need to fill out a query form and wait to hear about an estimate. With Airble, there is no waiting.
“Why is it that I can order my food online, I can buy my commercial flights online, I can buy flowers for my girlfriend in a different city online? But then when it comes to chartering a flight, I've got to send a whole bunch of emails and then wait back. This is what we're trying to solve,” said Adlparvar.
While Airble boasts their shared single-seat purchase options, there are currently no flights in or out of Squamish that would allow a user to do so. They must charter the entire plane – which can come with a hefty price tag.
“The business model of a lot of these operators is either one way or another, to either do whole charters or shared flights. For us, it's just a technical challenge and one that we're sorting out,” said Adlparvar.
According to Adlparvar, it is up to each individual airline operator to set their pricing. Meaning, that the original customer chartering the flight may or may not still be charged for the ‘dead leg’ portion that someone else is purchasing a ticket on. This could mean savings for both parties or extra cash for the airline if they double-up on charging for that portion of the flight.
“The potential is certainly there. But we have found that in most cases, the operators do want to reward the original passenger [with a discounted rate]” said Adlparvar.
This not only has the potential to lessen the luxury price tag that can come with chartering a flight, it also mitigates the environmental impact. In a report by Transport & Environment, a major European clean transit group, one hour on a private plane can emit up to two tonnes of CO2.
“The return is wasted,” said Adlparvar. “What we're able to do with our system is automatically identify those [dead leg flights] and then republish those for other people to take advantage of thereby potentially preventing them from charting a different aircraft.”
For now, Squamish-based users are able to purchase single seats on aviation tours – which includes a tourism element like a hike, heli-skiing, or scenic views. But there are a minimum number of tickets needed for the flights to occur and they drop passengers off back at their original locations.
“Our goal is really to try and serve the people in the communities that are reachable by these aircrafts,” said Adlparvar.
Find out more on the app's webisite.