The CEO of online charter platform TailHail talks about launching his company during the pandemic
What is TailHail and what have you achieved since its launch last year?
TailHail is the first online membership-based private jet platform of its type outside of the USA. We aim to make flying private more affordable and accessible. We started by talking to operators and discovered the big issues they face are how to increase charter hours and that their technology is a little outdated. It made me think that maybe I could create something that helps operators and at the same time makes flying private more accessible, affordable and sustainable.
What else did your market research reveal?
We found that some customers felt they had either been charged a small fortune or were not aware of all the costs when booking. We’ve used little negatives like those to help us shape our product and to really try and create something different that people will want and need from both sides. The platform offers operators the opportunity to increase their flight hours and to reduce their exposure to the costly business of empty or under-occupied flights.
What’s your background in aviation?
I’m a massive plane geek! I’ve always been mad about flying. I knew in school that I wanted to be a pilot and had to figure out a path to aviation. I was flying before I could drive, when I was 17. I’ve also set up an aviation charity and founded several aviation-related business ventures.
What feedback have you had from the industry since launching TailHail?
When we launched we received some mixed messages. A few of our competitors got in touch and were excited about what we were looking to do. On the other hand some people asked why we needed another platform like this. It showed us both sides of the industry – those that want to lend a hand and open doors and those that don’t understand that technology can offer a way for the sector to evolve.
Why should customers trust your platform?
Another main motivation for creating this platform is to try to tackle illegal charter head on. Every aircraft going on the platform has an audit. If they can’t pass it or provide answers to the questions we ask them, we don’t allow them on. We feel that this is the key thing that will give our members confidence when flying.
How has the pandemic impacted TailHail?
Covid-19 has affected our plans but in a positive way. It’s made us accelerate bringing our technology to market. Our original plan was to launch the website, and then roll out the app in 2021. But the demand we saw early on made us realize that we needed to have the right technology in place from the start, because realistically Covid-19 isn’t going away until vaccines are widely available.
Do you consider environmental issues important to aviation?
We want to be the most sustainable private aviation platform in the world. We plan to achieve that through technology that reduces aviation’s impact on the environment and the cost of flying privately as well. We are targeting the millennial market with low-cost membership that gets them into flying privately. Millennials are very conscious of environmental issues, which is why we really have to act on sustainability.
What are you plans for the future?
In the next five years we want to have up to 20,000 members on our platform and be seen as a market leader from a technology perspective, in the sense of making flying privately more accessible, affordable and sustainable. I’d like to think that we can surpass 20,000 members within five years. Ultimately, we want to be one of the largest private aviation platforms in the world.