Taking the private public
Private jet travel is now a whole lot more accessible thanks to a young technology start-up called jetsmarter
There was once a time that travelling by private jet was only reserved for celebrities and enormously wealthy business people. after all, without the need for queuing up at airports and interacting with the general public, it’s the only way to travel. however, with the rise of the extreme visions of first class that some of the world’s best airlines have brought to bear, private jet travel has seen something of a slump. some of the large airlines have proven that, despite the usual air travel annoyances, flying first class with them can be more luxurious than flying private.
however, the private jet industry is currently seeing something of a resurgence, and that’s down in no small part to a silicon Valley start-up called Jetsmarter. when it was first launched, it was billed as “the Uber for private jets”, because it allowed users to download a simple application, and book trips on private jets that weren’t being used. But now that Jetsmarter has been in operation for a number of years, it has morphed its own being, and has taken the high-end air travel world by storm.
Jetsmarter was founded in 2012 by entrepreneur sergey Petrossov, who would later go on to be featured on Forbes' list of 30 under 30 business leaders of 2016 because of the app. In august 2012, the beta-version was launched and tested among a closed group of private aviation users. after testing proved successful, Petrossov sought and received substantial venture funding to expand Jetsmarter’s scope. and here we are today.
The Jetsmarter application connects passengers and private air carriers through the latest mobile technology. It’s a members-
seat on an already scheduled route.
The second is called Jetcharter. This allows members to customise and create their own charter flights. Within this option, they can book an entire jet to themselves, or create a “shared charter” flight, which allows them to purchase individual seats on a flight (between shuttle cities—more on that in a moment). This flight is then opened up into the Jetshuttle section of the app, therefore creating a shared flight that is available for other members.
There are, however, a limited number of Jetshuttle routes. In the Middle East, for example, you can only go between Kuwait and Dubai, Jeddah and Riyadh, Dubai and Riyadh, Kuwait and Jeddah, and Jeddah and Dubai. However, the number of routes are growing, with around five being added in Europe later this year.
The last service offered by Jetsmarter is Jetdeals—exclusive, one-way flights on private jets, where members can book a accommodations, exotic car rentals, access to exclusive events, premium tables at fine restaurants, and much more. The company may be making private jet travel more accessible, but it’s still an out-and-out highend service.
The idea is so promising that, last year, Jetsmarter received $20 million of backing in a funding round. Among the investors were American rapper Jay-z, investment bank Goldman Sachs Capital Partners, and social networking service Twitter. The company also received backing from big players in the Middle East—including the Saudi Royal Family.
“One of the key investors, His Royal Highness Prince Abdullah bin Bandar bin Abdullaziz Al Saud said, "We are thrilled to be an investor and are committed to Jetsmarter's growth. At the forefront of this new era in travel, we believe that Jetsmarter's proprietary services and offerings have, and will continue to revolutionise the industry."