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Stellar Labs targets UK private jet market

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A new US based tech company called Stellar Labs is planning to shake up the private jet market in the UK by dramatically increasing the number of people flying privately and adding millions of pounds a year to the charter market.

It will do this by making it easier than ever before to charter a jet, and providing market leading tools to those who own or manage business aircraft to help them maximise the efficiency of how their jets are used and the revenue they generate.
 
Stellar Labs estimates that as much as 35 per cent of business flights in the UK have no one on them – they may be flying back empty after they have dropped off their passengers – but it believes its proposition could reduce this to around 15 per cent.
 
The company, which likens its proposition to Airbnb and digital travel companies like Priceline and Expedia, has been in London recently to see potential clients and possible investors. In November last year, it announced that it had raised USD8.6 million in seed funding.
 
Stellar Labs officially launched in the United States last year, and within three months 27 private jet owners and operators who between them represent around 20 per cent of the charter fleet in the US (over 500 aircraft) had signed up. Six of them also decided to invest in Stellar Labs and become shareholders.
 
Stellar Labs is particularly attracted to the UK private jet market because its research reveals it’s one of the biggest in the world with 594 business aircraft (the second biggest in Europe after Germany) and had around 143,920 business flights in 2015 alone. Only France and Germany had more in Europe.
 
The company, which has over 40 technology professionals including four with PHDs, believes it’s the biggest team of IT specialists ever assembled focusing entirely on the private jet market. It’s the first to offer a complete digital market for private aviation, connecting private jet operators and owners, and those looking to charter business aircraft in the most efficient, transparent and effective way ever.
 
Stellar Labs estimate that the UK private jet charter market is worth around £254 million a year, but around a third of private jet flights in the country empty – some 50,372 a year – are empty. If owners were able to secure charter clients on these through increased demand, better fleet optimisation and airline-style revenue management, Stellar Labs says millions of pounds in fees could be generated from them.
 
Those looking to charter an aircraft can search, select, filter, book and pay for flights in minutes via mobile technology that also verifies clients via their fingerprints. For private jet operators, the company not only provides them with access to potential charter customers, it also offers them free use of advanced science and technology to deliver solutions around real-time revenue management, powerful optimisation, automated pricing and dynamic scheduling. Stellar Labs only gets paid by the jet aircraft owners and fleet operators when their aircraft are chartered through its platform.
 
Paul Touw (pictured), CEO of Stellar Labs, says: “The UK and wider global private jet market is heavily paper based, very manual and laborious and its charter quoting process is error prone. It is a relic, inefficient and friction-filled market.
 
“Our aim is to drag the sector in to the digital age by offering it the first digital marketplace which properly connects owners and managers of private jet aircraft and fleets with potential clients who could charter them. Our proposition is the most effective solution in the private jet market for sourcing aircraft and seeing what is available, pricing it fairly and correctly, securing it and then paying to charter it. If you make things easier to buy and those selling and buying both benefit, you will grow the market.”   
 
Stellar Labs is looking to replicate airbnb, and the digital marketplaces that transformed the airlines industry. Between 2000 and 2005, despite the aviation industry facing up to huge challenges in the dot com bust and recession; 9/11; the emergence of the internet and video conferencing, and fuel prices rising fourfold, travel start-ups like Travelocity, Expedia and Priceline helped the airline industry grow revenue from USD24.38 billion to USD67.41 billion, and passenger numbers from 82.49 million to 152.55 million. 

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