How digitisation democratises Business Aviation - an entrepreneurial perspective - EBAA


How digitisation democratises Business Aviation – an entrepreneurial perspective

It's never been more important for the Business Aviation industry to listen to technology companies. The traditional Business Aviation ownership model has evolved into all-you-can-fly membership plans, private airlines, on-demand real-time charters and crowdsourcing solutions. These new models are aimed at the upper-middle class, not just the 1% of high-net-worth individuals.
By Paul Malicki, Founder and CEO of Flapper

A new ecosystem

It’s only now that the market has the means to accommodate more disrupting models, such as pay-per-seat short-haul flights or boutique airlines. They won’t necessarily push the big guys aside, but they complement the existing ecosystem.


The reasons behind the evolution of business aviation are not limited to technology. Consumer preferences have changed too as they shift from owning to renting. Another driving force is the rise of social media: it is easier than ever to reach the masses through unified marketing channels, while intuitive applications and engaging content allow for an unprecedented scale of marketing.

Connectivity is key

My company, Flapper, is part of the new generation of private aviation marketplaces. We provide on-demand flying services to airports that are inaccessible to commercial aviation. Our launch market, Brazil, has 2,460 airports, only 121 of which have a connection with commercial flights. The country boasts the world’s second-largest private aviation fleet, but it is underused and in the hands of the wealthy clientele.


Flapper solves some of the typical pain points of airlines, like security checks and cancellations. It also addresses two key challenges of private aviation: a costly service and no automation. Neither of those can be solved without technology: a combination of a sharing economy and a robust marketplace, powered by machine learning, makes private aviation more efficient and accessible to end users.

Urbanisation demands new mobility solutions

It’s worth highlighting that America and Europe have both been at the forefront of shared services, while LATAM still operates under the old scheme, despite huge potential behind the sector. Brazil and Mexico are both continental in size and boast huge fleets. The opportunity also comes with the rise of the VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) sector. More than 30% of São Paulo’s infrastructure is covered in roads. The thriving middle class combined with poor urban planning have resulted in excessive traffic congestion. This traffic costs the Brazilian economy at least $31 billion a year, almost 4x the value of the entire private transportation market. We are currently in the process of signing a partnership for the operation of VTOL passenger drones, to be officially launched in 2022.

Opening a new market

Are we air pioneers? None of the four co-founders of the company had previously chartered a plane. But after taking 117 commercial flights in a single year, I started questioning whether there was an alternative. I couldn’t believe there was so little information about the pricing and fleet availability, or that the industry’s leading commercial model had not changed over the last 20 years.


With Flapper, we have successfully challenged the status quo by thinking differently about distribution, technology, and branding. We are bringing a new group of users to the market, and in a post-crisis economy, that matters a lot.


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