A newly launched comparison site lets users search for and book private jet flights at a relatively low cost — sometimes cheaper than the cost of a commercial flight.
Stratajet bills itself as “the world’s first online private jet marketplace,” using technology to pull up real-time prices and availability for aircraft, much like Skyscanner or Expedia except for private jets.
Though it’s not the only private jet booking website online, it’s the first to let users book without waiting for a quote, and to redirect lower cost empty leg flights to meet travellers’ demands.
Founded by trained pilot Jonny Nicol, the London-based company officially launched on April 22, though it’s been five years in the making.
“It took us two years to work out what the algorithms were and build them, then it took us another two years to make them run fast enough,” Nicol said in a press release of the technology the company has developed. “Stratajet now does all those calculations in 10 seconds.”
The company started with six employees and expanded to 40 employees after receiving funding in 2015; investors include JamJar Investments, which gave the company £4.58 million in June 2015, and Octopus Investments, a representative for Stratajet told Business Insider.
Currently, the site only services Europe — where it works with 78 private aircraft operators and has access to 378 aircraft — but it plans to expand to the US in a few months time, according to Nicol.
“My aim is to bring private aviation to the mainstream traveller,” Nicol told Business Insider at a press event for the company launch.
Though private jet flights aren’t exactly affordable for everyone, it’s possible to find tickets that are cheaper than economy or business class seats on commercial flights. Nicol believes the cost will get lower as demand for private jets increases too.
Users can also book a variety of aircrafts, including jets with lie-flat beds, Wi-Fi, bars, and even bathtubs. The company is talking about adding a search filter to find flights with such amenities, Nicol said.