It was less than 10 years ago that the luxury flight industry changed forever. The digitization of the market has fundamentally altered the way that custom air travel is booked and managed, and Aeronux Airways is leading that change.
Founded in 2012, Aeronux Airways is the most sophisticated and advanced broker of private jets for hire. Now listed as #6 on this year’s Inc. 5000 list of the top fastest growing private companies in America, Aeronux Airways is known for combining its intricate knowledge of the elite charter aviation client with the modern function of a lean IT firm.
In fact, Owner and Co-founder Dr. Kambiz Khadem mentions that the company was born out of his desire to combine his deep IT background with his passion for aviation.
“I have always had a passion for aviation. My family comes from that line of business,” recalls Dr. Khadem, who obtained his PhD in IT Management and Strategy. “I was looking for something that allowed me to marry these two completely different lines of business. That’s one of our main differentiators, and the reason we are very successful at it is because we run the business entirely like an IT company. We are very agile, very responsive.”
Aeronux Airways’ revolutionary integrated system technology is an industry game-changer. The technology allows the company to automate backend operations, including aircraft scheduling and management via a complex IT system. The patent-pending system eliminates the need for a lot of the manual work that is traditionally done in the charter business. Most importantly, the system is extremely accurate, responsive, and of course, convenient.
“If we look to any of our competitors, by the time that you want to get a quotation for a certain flight, at best it takes a few hours and at worst a few days for the company to put together a quote. With us, it takes seconds,” Dr. Khadem explains.
Though private jet charter brokerages as a whole have embraced web technology and moved away from requiring face-to-face interactions with booking agents, these companies still require customers to fill out a web-based form which is manually processed. The interaction isn’t complete until an employee on the other end has personally assessed the request, put together a few options, and confirmed with the customer via phone – a process that can take hours if dealing directly with an operator and days if dealing with a broker who works with multiple operators. Though this is certainly a step in the right direction, modern luxury travelers are still left expecting more.
On the other hand, this innovative new broker, which regularly participates in NBAA (National Business Aviation Association) tradeshows, understands that the demands of today’s elite travelers do not allow for such unexpected delays or inconveniences in scheduling.
For the decisive private traveler who knows just what they want and when they need to arrive at their destination, all it takes is a few moments for them to go to www.aeronux.com and enter their origin and destination. Customers are also able to enter any special requests or amenities they may require throughout the duration of the flight, such as catering, entertainment, full or partial lavatories, and more. From there, the customer will receive instant information on pricing. They can make a reservation by paying for a portion of the trip or the entire trip via credit card.
All of this happens in less than two minutes. All prices are generated immediately based on the selections that are made via Aeronux’s online platform. This ability allows Aeronux Airways to act as both a broker and an operator for all aircrafts in its system.
“Some of our customers can’t believe it. They call us back and say, ‘we just got this quotation, what is the real price?’ I can go over it on the phone and run the numbers through the system, but this is 99 percent accurate pricing,” Dr. Khadem remarks. “We can double check if they want a certain brand of caviar, champagne, or a meal request which we can check with catering, but beyond that it is just a very accurate and fast quotation system that we use and nobody else has. It’s just like Air Canada in that you book your trip from Halifax to Toronto, you get your pricing upfront, you make a reservation, and then you know that the trip is going to happen because everything is confirmed.”
Getting ready for takeoff, Dr. Khadem’s goal is for Aeronux Airways to be the number-one brokerage and charter company throughout North America. He envisions the company reaching this goal within the next five to six years.
“There are about 3,000 operators in the U.S. alone, and there are a few hundred in Canada,” he shares. “It’s a very competitive market, a very cost-sensitive market – especially on the operation side, because each suitable aircraft costs millions of dollars. We have to build up that fleet.”
The company has applied for a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) operator license, and as soon as that is processed Dr. Khadem plans to acquire a couple of smaller operations so that Aeronux Airways can begin building its own fleet. Currently, Aeronux is a licensed broker that works with two mid-sized operators based in California and Georgia. All flights are operated by FAA Part 135 carriers that meet FAA standards. Aeronux does not manage or operate aircrafts on behalf of its clients, but assists them in seamlessly finding the best ones to meet their needs.
Building up a fleet of its own may take Aeronux a few years, but on the broker side of the equation, Aeronux’s growth plans could be realized even sooner. “I have no doubt in the next two years we are going to be the number-one broker,” states Dr. Khadem.
Indeed, due to its ability to handle volume alone, Aeronux Airways is at a huge competitive advantage. For example, even if other leading brokers receive ten inquiries per day, they will need to have five team members handling those calls and emails. On the other hand, Aeronux is already equipped to receive a thousand or more inquiries per day with just five people available to handle calls, because everything is 99 percent automated.
“Those five people will just have to be there for dealing with things outside of our automated system like catering, transportation to the airport or from the airport, and special requests. We can scale up very fast,” asserts Dr. Khadem.
At the moment, the six-year-old, sixth-fastest-growing company is still a new name in the industry, and Aeronux Airways is just getting started with its soon-to-be patented technology. Still, at the end of the day, Dr. Khadem reminds us that it’s the customers’ needs that always come first as the business’ primary impetus for growth.
“It’s all about the customer and customer satisfaction, and meeting those digital expectations that haven’t been met anywhere else before.”
This is why Dr. Khadem actually looks forward to the day when other private charter businesses adopt Aeronux’s patent-pending system or similar technology, and all of the competition that will ensue with that industry shift. “It’s just going to make us work even harder, and overall it is going to be very beneficial for the industry and the customer.”
The technology boom of the new millennium has brought about a tremendous change in the day-to-day operations of businesses across all industries. Now, by default, customers expect to see that visible transformation in every aspect of their lives, and particularly when they interact with new businesses. Fortunately or unfortunately, Dr. Khadem points out that such a change hadn’t become an industry norm in charter travel until Aeronux Airways came forth with its solution.
Yet, the industry is ready for it. Aeronux Airways has already been met with rave customer reviews in its six years of business. Dr. Khadem has found that customers are very pleasantly surprised with Aeronux’s convenience, transparency, and ease of operations as the paper-free company has shifted away from the old way of doing business with a new system that has executed this shift to perfection.
“It’s a time for change. A lot of industries are going through a digital transformation phase that makes them more efficient, customer-oriented, and more innovative. I am glad that we are at that crossroads when it comes to charter operations in the private jet industry. It is very exciting to see how we can transform the customer experience just by addressing a few basic needs,” he concludes.