Hamburg-based private jet chartering service Elbjets was founded in the middle of the global pandemic. Here, co-founders Alexander Muller and Sven Loga describe the USP of their business, give advice to entrepreneurs just starting out and discuss what the future holds for the young company.
How did your career start in the industry?
I (Alexander Müller) and co-founder Sven Loga have been interested in aviation from a very young age, and we both shared a dream that one day we would become pilots.
Sven began his career in flight consulting for a dispatch company, and I worked in an airport for a small private jet operator in Northern Germany. We met later on when we were both working for the sales department of one of the largest European operators, selling aircraft for broker clients.
Can you describe your company and explain your business model / USP?
Elbjets is a Hamburg-based private and business aviation jet charter company providing a highly personalised service. Our USP centres around three main pillars: open lines of communication with clients, with a focus on offering the best options and advice, a high level of customer service, and finally, the implementation of modern fintech technologies to give our clients more choice and a faster, more reliable service.
To that end, Elbjets primarily offers on-demand jet charters, and our clients can book 24/7 on any date they wish; and we’re always on standby to hunt for the best travel solution at a moment’s notice.
Who is your typical customer?
Elbjets clientele is predominantly from Northern Europe. We offer charter flights for companies and private individuals mainly based in Hamburg or Northern Germany, though we’re increasingly seeing interest from the whole of Europe. Our clients travel for leisure or business reasons and are increasingly from a younger generation of first-time private jet flyers.
What do you think is the biggest barrier to your growth?
Finding a reliable payment platform can be a huge obstacle to growth for many operators and brokers. We must ensure all transactions have settled quickly before a flight takes off. We often deal with last-minute bookings whilst maintaining a high standard of service — and from a payments point of view, that means smooth transactions, a variety of payment methods and high transaction limits.
After partnering with fintech payment provider ECOMMPAY, we no longer have to worry about barriers to our growth from a payments perspective. We can easily and quickly accept funds from clients worldwide, integrating multiple payment methods into our booking process and modern technologies such as Open Banking. And even crypto payments.
Do you have any advice for entrepreneurs just starting out?
If we could go back, I think we would have started the business earlier. Demand is high right now, and many people want to fly and experience the high levels of service offered by private jet charters.
My main piece of advice would be to offer a highly personalised and unique experience. Clients like having a person they can talk to, someone with honest opinions who’s able to find great deals and provide an all-inclusive service.
What do you think business aviation will look like in the next 5 years?
I think interest in private jets will continue to grow over the next few years. Major manufacturers are at maximum capacity, so there may be issues meeting demand. For this reason, as well as other factors, prices are unlikely ever to drop back to pre-pandemic levels and will undoubtedly continue to rise.
As the younger generation’s market share continues to rise, we’ll begin to see a greater demand for more modern payment methods — cryptocurrencies are already gaining traction, for example, as well as a tendency to pay and sign contracts using mobile devices.
Finally, many clients are worried about rising prices, so we are beginning to see a trend of some passengers preferring to book jets using hourly packages purchased for the coming year.
What are your future goals for the company?
We envisage Elbjets growing into a 10-15 person team, with continued growth within the German and Northern European markets. Eventually, we’d like to offer bespoke holidays, including chauffeur services, yacht charters, helicopter transfers and more.