Friday, 5 February 2010


On the day when British Airways announces it is likely to make a record loss this financial year, it is always reassuring and really quite exciting to see new entrants into the airline market.

You might think that this would just about be the worst environment ever to launch an airline but a good idea is always a good idea , regardless of the economic climate. And if that idea is about offering a service that is luxury but cheaper, that is perfect for today’ world.

That’s why I am really liking the idea of Wijet, a French company that aims to make private jet travel more accessible. Laugh out loud you may - private jets when companies are cutting back to the bone? But actually this concept is quite clever and is based, I believe, on real customer insight.

There is apparently, a trend towards the day trip for businesses when top management would like to visit multi sites at a time and in a way that is convenient to them. Private jets provide more confidentiality and less of the formalities of the big airports. Imagine, the team can have a management meeting in the sky and visit 3 clients all in one day, saving one of the most valuable commodities of execs: time.

It’s not stupidly expensive either. According to Corentin Denoeud and Alexandre Azouley, the two start up’s founders, Wijet is less expensive for 25 European destinations, flying from Paris than the total of business class tickets, when 3 or 4 execs are flying.

The price is fixed at 2200 euros (£1900) per flying hour which compares to their rival Netjet who sells a 25 hour package for the modest sum of 110 000 euros (£95 800) which works out at 4720 euros (£4110) per flying hour.

Wijet flies from the small Parisian airport of Le Bourget, closer to the centre of Paris than the main airport of Roissy Charles de Gaulle.

Not content with offering business travel, Wijet are also aiming their service at day shoppers. Quick shoe trip to Milan anyone?

I think these guys are brave, innovative and have spotted a gap in the market. If their customer experience is top notch, and they can keep their cost base under control, they could do really well.

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