Moneycontrol
Sep 08, 2017 07:27 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

This startup is on a mission to de-corrupt private jet business in India

The private jet business in India reeks with lack of transparency and corruption which digital aggregation startups are trying to solve...

From lack of parking spaces and airports in smaller cities to huge corruption, the private jet business in India reels with lack of transparency which digital startups are trying to solve.

Founded in 2014, Delhi based private jet and helicopters aggregation firm JetSetGo is now a known name in the high flying corridors.

Backed by Puneet Dalmia, managing director of Dalmia Bharat and YouWeCan Ventures, JetSetGo company mostly counts top politicians and businessmen as it clients.

Started by former aviation consultant Kanika Tekriwal and Sudheer Perla, JetSetGo either manages or gets into exclusive marketing contracts with aircraft including private jets and helicopters.

While India barely has 500 helicopters and private jets, against 30,000 in the US, the market is growing gradually. As a result of which, JetSetGo, which reported a revenue of USD 62,200 during the financial year 2015, grew to USD 3.2 million in 2016.

In an interaction with Moneycontrol, Tekriwal talks about the market opportunities and the company's expansion plans....

On the price in India for chartering a jet

The cost structure varies drastically. We offer the whole range of aircraft beginning from a 5-seater to a 17-seater aircraft.

Price for renting a 5-seater plane price starts at Rs 60,000 an hour. It could go up to Rs 6,00,000 per hour for renting a larger aircraft.

On corruption & competition in private jet business

I feel competition is a great validation to your business. It only increases the market size. However, our competition is very fragmented and broken.

There are tons of brokers, operators who are our competitors and then there are lots of people who are trying to do the same thing like us.

But what’s been keeping us alive is that we are on to a mission to de-corrupt private aviation business.

This business historically and predominately has been a very corrupt industry where there have been far too many middlemen, far too many people making money which only increase the cost of doing business.

For the simple reason, we are transparent, honest and very clear in our mission which is to ensure that our customer gets the right product at right price.

On creating differentiation from BookMyCharters & others in the sector:

Kanika said that this business is divided into two parts: private jet owners and their customers

She said that JetSetGo is making the owning of a private jet a lot cheaper for its owners.

The company manages the private planes of individuals with its own crew, engineers, maintenance and ground staff.

“We decrease ownership cost, increase safety and efficiency of the aircraft,” she added.

Secondly, the company allows other customers to charter these planes.

So, in the end, the company is managing the owners, marketing their idle jets for them and letting other customers utilise.

“We have got the largest fleet without owning a single aircraft. All the aircraft are positioned across the country at strategic locations where there is lot of demand which basically reduces the customer’s private jet bill,” said Tekriwal.

As the availability can be seen online and via an app, customers can book an aircraft within just 3.5 minutes, she claims.

“What really sets us apart from others is we guarantee an aircraft, even if the plane develops a problem, a pilot falls sick or the owner wants his plane back. We ensure that the customer will get a plane from wherever,” she said.

On market size of the private jet industry in India

Business Jet Aviation in India is a very small market with just about 350 aircraft present and about USD 600 million in revenues.

We are at a very early stage where the market is just taking off.

If you compare India with a city like Sao Paulo, which is also in a developing country - the city alone has 900 helicopters whereas our entire country has about 150 helicopters.

Although the market in India is very smaller in 10 years we are going to see a phenomenal growth.

“We had no planes when we started JetSetGo. We demonstrated 7x growth in the revenue last year and hope to achieve the same. We have around 150 regular customers.

On commission per seat sale on the private jet

We get a certain percentage of the seat sales which secures the owners and our existence.

It also motivates us to get the maximum revenue possible for the aircraft owner. (does not disclose the commission rate...)

For the customer, we solve their problem of right price for the right aircraft and reduce their bills.

They come to us because of the quality services we provide them.

“Maximum demand for our aircraft comes out of Delhi as it is the political and business capital of India. We see a lot of demand on routes from Delhi to smaller cities,” she said.

On lack of aviation infrastructure in smaller cities

When you go to small cities, there is a severe lack of infrastructure.

To solve the problem we have created our own ground handling companies in these cities.

A team of people works at various airports to ensure safe arrival of an aircraft, safe serving of an aircraft and to take care of the passengers arrived at the destination.

We have local teams at these airports which directly report to us.

Every airport where we believe there is not enough infrastructure we are trying to create ourselves.

Currently, we have a team in 24 airports. We hope to take this number up to around 70-75 in the next 10 months.

We focused on the airports which have a lot of movements.

If there is a time when a customer has to visit an airport where we don’t have a team, we mobilize our team two days before their arrival.

We want to work with the government to develop basic infrastructure for smaller airports under a fully private model without costing much to the government.

It will also generate a lot of employment.

On getting Yuvraj Singh as the first investor...

(Cricketer) Yuvraj Singh was our first investor and at that time I was naïve and young. I thought I don’t need other people’s money or time to grow this business.

We ended up speaking with Yuvraj’s CIO and had just a 40 minutes conversation and the funding was closed.

I still wasn’t convinced that whether we should part with the company’s stake.

In hindsight, getting Yuvraj on JetSetGo was one of the best decision we took. It automatically catapulted a lot of things forward than what we could have grown just on our own.

sabahat.contractor@nw18.com
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