BookMyCharters wants to be the Uber of Indian skies


Chaitanya Gudipaty Moneycontrol A Mumbai-based startup is changing the way millionaires book private jets and negotiate city traffic to reach airport in time. Traditional methods of booking chartered flights done through brokers take up to 48 hours or longer. Enter BookMyCharters, the long-drawn process ends in a click. Travellers get fare, aircraft type and availability and can make bookings in under a minute. The startup, which wants to be the Uber of India’s chartered aviation skies, lets fliers generate quotes and book private jets real-time — much like Uber the American taxi aggregator it is trying to emulate. “It’s like booking a cab,” says Sachit Wadhwa, co-founder of BookMyCharters. The cost for a hiring an 8-seater private jet from Delhi to Chandigarh could come to as low as Rs 30,000, a search on the company’s website showed. BookMyCharters, led by parent Baron Aviation, launched in December 2015 and offers services across 22,000 routes, 150 locations and has 40 diverse aircraft within India. In cities like Mumbai, it also organises a pick-up from a nearby helipad and then off to Juhu Airport, from where a private chauffeur escorts fliers to the jet. Wadhwa says that the startup has a clientele of A-list celebrities, corporate bigwigs and politicians. He adds that there is demand from small and medium enterprises too. “Today, the charter market is only at seven locations, including the four metros. The idea is to take it to the next level, where people beyond metros are also looking at this application,” he says. “I expect 6,000-7,000 flying hours from tier-II and tier-III markets in the next two-three years, generating a revenue of about Rs 250 crore,” he adds. Wadhwa is trying to educate customers about chartered services. “Are we saying that Chandigarh or Ludhiana doesn’t have the amount of wealth to charter a flight?” Wadhwa asks. “What we are trying to deliver with BookMyCharters is that people (businesses) in Chandigarh and Ludhiana don’t know about charters.” BookMyCharters, which is looking to raise funds, also has plans to expand its services to helicopters, yachts and is exploring options to offer air-ambulance services. Currently, the startup takes bookings through its website, but there is an app in the works that the company plans to roll out soon. It is not just BookMyCharters that is aiming to make a mark in the chartered flight industry. There are the likes of JetSetGo and JetSmart which also give fliers an option to skip the middleman and book flights. For those who live out of a suitcase, the rise of such services is helping them save time and money.