Jet Scout: a new generation platform
During the Middle East Business Aviation Association (MEBAA) trade show that took place in Dubai in December, Stefano Costi presented a brand-new booking platform concept: Jet Scout. A product that is already set to be revolutionary.
Making private jets more accessible: a claim that has been made before. While clearly the concept of making business jets available for everyone is Utopian, facilitating access remains a major challenge for professionals, particularly in a period undermined by numerous uncertainties. Stefano Costi fully understands this challenge and has for over a decade. Over ten years ago, this career pilot decided to delve into the development of software aimed at giving passengers the possibility of booking a flight on a private jet as easily as they could on an ordinary commercial airliner.
Priority to customers
It all started as part of a simple discussion with one of the founders of a major brokerage platform in 2004. Stefano Costi’s idea for an innovative booking platform would then start taking shape. While the idea moved forward, the interests of the two future directors however went their separate ways. Stefano Costi would continue working on his idea alone, before presenting a first version of his concept to a major entity – which would become his launch customer. This “Beta” version would prove to be the basis of an extraordinary database that the director would build over the next 12 years. Powerful algorithms are at the heart of the booking system generating results not only based on available flights (from any destination or departure time), but above all based on the needs expressed by the passenger.
The Jet Scout director sums up the difference with current competitor systems: “Jet Scout provides customers with transparency. It can be used to book a flight as easily as on the website of a major airline.” Jet Scout is aiming to become a recognized platform for users. Customers enter information in the main tabs to reserve a flight based on destination, place of departure, number of passengers, etc. Once validated, the power of the software created by Stefano Costi comes into play. The search engine then consults a huge database of available flights. On the surface, Jet Scout handles the request as though it were the operator itself. Or so it seems. However behind the online booking platform hides a database updated in real time by all global business jet operators. If needed, it can even integrate specific requests and make last minute changes, especially to modify the type of aircraft used for transport. Once the reservation is made, the customer is provided with a complete form featuring not only the flight details but also the aircraft used, accompanied by photos. Jet Scout upholds its role as the gateway between users and operators since the platform does not handle payment. Services are paid directly between the user and the operator. Jet Scout, as the intermediary, is remunerated from the professionals and takes a percentage of the operations conducted while ensuring that “it has substantial influence on the price displayed to customer”.
Focusing on transparency
A simple and effective booking site, reflecting the current offering available to the general public. It may well be nothing exceptional in itself, however the fact that it pertains to the business jet market changes everything. Because succeeding in combining such a huge database, a powerful algorithm and multiple operators is quite a feat. It took Stefano Costi just under two years to develop and stabilize his software, as the Swiss director explains: “Starting in 2015, I began thinking about a platform that would not exclude the user. Because in terms of the competition, I noticed that it first prioritized exchanges between brokers and operators. When customers would search for a price, they would realize that the system was not very transparent. And ultimately it is rare that a customer controls the whole process of booking their flight from start to finish.” Aside from operator data, the software also relies on a powerful database of over 140 types of aircraft and operational information from over 32,000 airports worldwide. With a lack of online competition, the co-founder explained that he also wanted to offer passengers an alternative to flight brokers. Accordingly, the Swiss designer’s system is available to charter operators and brokers to create their own “white label” platform. Mr Costi’s objective “is to not turn the product into a product for the general public, but rather to make the ways of accessing business aviation more transparent, especially in terms of prices”. A new generation of fully-connected users may appear thanks to this one-of-a-kind platform.
By Frédéric Vergnères
Copyright : Dominik Schroder / JP-Reiland / Thomas Lefebvre / JetScout