Prince Air will allow members to fly unlimited in chartered jets for a monthly subscription
It promises to be the Netflix of Indian aviation.
In a first of its kind initiative, a startup based in Delhi plans to start subscriber-based airline services. Named Prince Air, the startup will let customers travel unlimited times on private jets across metros in the country.
Of course, it comes at a price. But, Sanket Raj Singh – the founder of Prince Air – promises to fly members at fraction the cost of hiring a chartered jet.
"We have seen disruptions in taxi service, retail and hospitality. But no one has ever tried to disrupt the aviation industry in India," says Singh, a fashion industry professional helping American and European brands with manufacturing and supply chain solutions.
During his stints overseas, Singh was struck by the disruptions technology was making across sectors. "Air transportation was one where there wasn't any disruption till now," says the entrepreneur.
While Singh is tight-lipped about the monthly subscription rate, he promises it will be a fraction of what it costs to charter jets. As of now, it costs at least Rs 1.5 lakh to charter jets, say from Mumbai to Delhi. Singh promises that Prince Air subscriptions will allow members to fly multiple times at a price a little more than that. "We will bring down the cost of traveling in chartered jets by up to 90 percent," he says.
To start off, the subscription will be limited, and Singh claims he has already filled up a substantial number. "While most of our clientele is corporate, the luxury real estate segment has responded well," says Singh, who is in talks with a couple of high-end real estate players in Mumbai and Delhi.
One of the real estate companies has offered to buy 250 subscriptions, which will be given to buyers of apartments that cost upwards of Rs 5 crore. While Singh shared the names of these real estate companies with this writer, he requested this to be kept confidential till a formal announcement is made.
The service will also include chauffeured luxury cars and stay in five star hotels. "We are close to signing the deal with a well-known hospitality brand based in Mumbai," said Singh.
The entrepreneur is in talks with investors based in the US to raise up to $15 million. He did share names and showed e-mail interactions with founders of these investors. However, he requested their names not to be disclosed at the moment. Interestingly, some of the names were recently written about in connection with the Indian aviation industry.
The startup comes during interesting times for the Indian aviation industry. Even as a well-known brand name is close to shutting down its operations and there are effects of the general economic slowdown, the Indian aviation market continues to be one of the fastest growing ones in the world.
Most of the airlines, including IndiGo, GoAir and Vistara have embarked on ambitious expansion plans from adding to their fleet to growing their networks.
A subscription-based airline is a complete unknown as of now. For instance, fuel costs are a major headache for the mainstream airlines. How much will a subscription based airline - with limited room to change pricing - be immune to fluctuations in this critical variable?
Singh assures that, with his subscription rates, the company will break even within two to three years. He plans to start Prince Air services in "10 to 11 months."
In Prince Air, the service will be app-based.
"Everything would be done through our app. From booking to boarding the flights and easy access to flights where one doesn't have to wait in the queues or face delayed flights. Private jet flights would be accessed from a different entry to the airport without any hassle," says Singh.
The businessman plans to have a fleet of six Bombardier and Embraer jets. "Once you find the right aircraft, you put a 15 percent to 20 percent down payment and rest would be financed," said Singh.
To start off, the services will be available to customers in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru.