The private aviation industry is ripe for innovation – and ONEFlight is up to the task.
Innovation can happen even in the most unlikely of spaces. Largely due to its niche market, the private aviation industry has been kept out of the spotlight. However, it is a sector of business that has been ripe for modernization. “There has been a long overdue problem with the charter private jet industry known as the ‘Empty Leg’ problem,” explained Ferren Rajput, CEO and President of ONEFlight International. The Empty Leg happens when a chartered private jet transports a passenger to one location and then returns to its base empty. In 2008, Rajput set out to fix what he defined as a 40-year-old problem. He knew that by reducing these empty flights, not only could he reduce the rates of charter flights, but also increase their efficiency and sustainability.
“Most private jet charter companies focus on promoting their aircrafts within their local region because of their limited number of aircrafts,” Rajput went on to explain. “This limitation leads to many problems: not being able to provide a recovery aircraft due to a mechanical issue because of a lack of aircraft availability or having to charge a client for an empty leg back to homebase to serve another client.” After two years analyzing the problem, Rajput came up with the solution: a country-club-style membership product for the end user. In late 2010, he launched ONEFlight International with the “Jet Club.”
By developing a membership platform, Rajput was able to connect clients with aircrafts from all over, greatly reducing their need to rely on their own fleet: “ONEFlight is unique in the sense that we have developed a network of 500 of the best companies in the industry, giving our clients access to over 4,000 aircrafts under one platform.” In addition to this new business model, Rajput also developed BAJit.net, an online tool for searching, selecting, and booking private jets in just a few minutes.
What Rajput has done is completely change the landscape of his industry. Not only does his platform improve the customer experience, it also saves money. “The annual size of the U.S. market is approximately $15 billion with about $5 billion wasted on empty legs,” Rajput claimed. “The BAJit network will allow one charter company to cooperate with another in earning a revenue whereas otherwise it would have resulted in a costly empty leg flight … We estimate that over the next few years, BAJit will result in eliminating most empty legs, reducing the cost of flying in private jets by 20 to 30 percent and increasing the market by 30 to 50 percent.”
Now, Rajput predicts that the strategies he has employed will become the new normal in the charter private jet industry. By focusing on customer experience, convenience, and overall efficiency, Rajput was able to take his industry to its next stage of evolution. “It should be very well received by the marketplace and will force charter companies to comply to the higher expectations of the public, allowing for bidding wars to drive pricing lower,” Rajput concluded. “It will soon become the new norm for booking private jets.”