Up in the Air
Devyn Silverstein is revamping the air charter industry with his company, SILVERWING. The domestic passenger air charter space is a $14B industry, and while private jets are currently accessible through brokers, Devyn is bringing the booking process into the 21st century where it belongs.
After spending five years as a jet broker himself, Devyn realized it was time to give people the capability of reserving an air charter on their own. There would be challenges to creating this possibility, but he would find the ways to make it happen.
Air Travel Advances
Online travel agencies like Orbitz or Priceline depend on Global Distribution Systems, or GDS systems for their booking processes. A GDS is a computerized network, allowing automated transaction between travel businesses by delivering rates and keeping inventory of seat and airplane availability.
The system allows a consumer to go online and see what flights are available, when the flights are, how many seats are open on the airplane, and then the customer can immediately book a flight.
“We’re trying to modernize the air charter industry, so you can go online and reserve a jet the same way you can go onto Orbitz and book a flight,” Devyn says. “What we’re creating is a booking engine.”
At this point in time, there is no GDS in the air charter world. Leaders of the private charter market such as Sentient Jet and Blue Star Jets have used the brokerage method since the industry was created in 2001. A customer has to call up a broker, and it often takes the broker three or more hours to make an arrangement that fits the customer’s needs. Brokerage firms do not own the airplanes but use directories to source them.
SILVERWING is scheduled to launch in the fall of 2016. “Once all the software has been tested, we’ll have a soft-launch and an official launch,” says Devyn.
The company wants to make private air chartering as cost-effective and convenient as possible. Consumers will also save on cost by having groups fly together on a chartered plane, versus buying multiple airline tickets. Customers will also have the option to book a last-minute jet.
“For customers, it’s a big daisy-chain of communication,” Devyn says. “They can’t be waiting three hours for people to tell them if a plane is available or not.”
While private jetting has been an industry for mostly corporate executives, government officials, celebrities and professional athletes, SILVERWING expects to grow the industry so that it is not just for the one percent, five percent or even ten percent. With the right infrastructure and advertising, the company expects the top 20% of the population will be able to afford to climb aboard.
When SILVERWING launches, it will have 50 operational partners. The company will facilitate flights with origins in the United States, including roundtrip international flights.
In year two, SILVERWING will expand to facilitating flights with international origins. To reach that stage, the company will have to build and develop relationships with international partners.
“Eventually, we would like to take our technologies to other industries such as sailing and luxury stays to unify the luxury travel experience,” says Devyn.