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Uber Co-Founder Garrett Camp Launches BlackJet, The "Uber For Private Jets" (techcrunch.com)
63 points by kloncks 1819 days ago | hide | past | web | 23 comments | favorite



NetJets already exists, but it is different. It is more like owning without the headache and they also offer fractional ownership. It is damn near impossible to beat NetJets on pricing because they can finance the aircraft via Berkshire Hathaway's AAA.

This seems like a different market. I am not quite sure I understand it. It looks like it is flying private rather than first class on standard routes. The advantage to charters is that you don't have to go through security, and you can fly from nowhere to nowhere direct. I don't understand this business model. It seems like they are flying standard routes.

New York to LA on a private jet is worse than commercial because you are stuck in a 6 foot diameter pipe for 4.5 hours, rather than a first class seat on a normal airplane.


I was thinking the same thing, there are fractional ownership deals [1], charter airline brokers [2], and of course air taxis [3] (which are not often jets but what ever).

I realized this evening when slogging southbound on Highway 101 in the Bay Area what I really want is something that attaches to my car roof with a big NASA approved docking connector on it (aerodynamic though) which when I call up the app schedules a Sikorsky Sky Crane to fly by pick me up out of traffic and take me to my destination.

[1] http://www.netjets.com

[2] http://www.rsvpair.com/

[3] http://www.garyair.us/


I want to upvote this ten times just because of the Sikorsky Sky Crane comment, but I also am voting because it's just a good comment.


I don't know if that would be more awesome or terrifying, especially once you've removed the pilot: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaman_K-MAX#Unmanned_remote_con...


> "New York to LA on a private jet is worse than commercial because you are stuck in a 6 foot diameter pipe for 4.5 hours, rather than a first class seat on a normal airplane."

I have not had the opportunity to compare commercial first class travel to private jets, but my hunch is that 9/10 people would prefer a private jet, even ignoring the convenience factor of skipping the TSA and flying on your own schedule. In first class you get a seat. In a private jet, you get the jet.


It sounds like you just get a seat.

> BlackJet seeks to partner with charter jet services to help them fill space on flights

If they are doings set routes like it sounds, that makes sense. If you have the whole plane you should be able to go where you want. But then you have NetJets.


The article says people will take one way private jet flights and the jet will fly back empty. Perhaps by 'fill space on flights' they mean legs where the jet would otherwise be empty.


I think you underestimate the importance of moving around. Private jets are really really tiny! Cabin size is like a "stretch" prop plane more than a private airline


That's possible. I don't usually move around during flights. I went LAX - HNL and back without leaving my seat. For my purposes, I would prefer a shared private jet over first class.


This strikes me as a good idea, on paper.

If I may play the traditional role of first-comment-is-negative however:

1. NetJets are a fractional ownership company who are probably going to remain more popular at this level of society because they're a full service outfit;

2. Charter companies already run their planes efficiently, so they may be in a position to match on price on some routes;

3. I suspect that for a lot of really really rich people, owning a plane is not a purely financial decision. It's a status signal.

All that being said ... it might just work by creating a new market segment -- people who can afford business or first class but can't quite justify private charters.

I think people on HN sometimes underestimate the importance of the middleman in economic life. You don't have to be B2C or B2B with a direct product or service. Often the most profitable position is as the switchboard.


I think people on HN sometimes underestimate the importance of the middleman in economic life. You don't have to be B2C or B2B with a direct product or service. Often the most profitable position is as the switchboard.

www.airbnb.com

www.taskrabbit.com

www.twilio.com

I think we understand very well that running the marketplace is where its at. Remember, we're trying to be the middleman, just much more efficient than the incumbents.


Can you elaborate on how market inefficiency is the issue? It seems others have tried similar schemes (Virgin America ran a private jet website with the same intentions), or attempted to open the market through smaller "taxi" planes (Embraer Phenom) or wholly regional airlines (Independence Air), but the cost of fuel and labor prevented increased adoption.

The private jet market is scheduled at the last minute and filling unused seats (or return segments) seems to be quite challenging, even if offered as one way last minute deals to consumers. Is the goal to have a Southwest like "Ding" fare alert for subscribers?


Unused capacity is a market inefficiency. If you've got a jet deadheading somewhere empty, or have extra seats when someone hasn't bought out the whole cabin, that's an opportunity to offset your costs or even profit depending on the situation.

If your app knows where people want to go to, knows their location, knows their spend willingness, etc, you can capture that additional revenue you might've never known about.


Yep. Selling unused capacity, even at low prices, represents pure profit when your variable costs have already been met.


Slightly offtopic:

What I found out the other day is that Jesse Jaymes [1] who sang the song "College Girls are Easy" founded Marquis Jets, a similar-ish service.

He's also married to the billionaire founder of Spanx. Extraordinary career trajectory.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesse_Itzler


Uber for private jets? No idea how they're going to land the plane out front of my house, but I'll definitely download the app and give it a try.


They'll get a private fleet of black Ospreys

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell_Boeing_V-22_Osprey


"Noise ordinances? Can't you see I'm disrupting here?"


Invite only baby. Trying to figure out how to get an invite code.


I can already see it: funds permitting, we'll take Uber cars to the airport and then catch a BlackJet to our final destination.


i thought the point of a private jet, was so that you did not have to share with anyone else


I think the point is to ride in a limousine across the tarmac and then step directly onto your jet without any hassles. Direct point-to-point travel to any airport is convenient too. The Citation X can fly coast-to-coast in under four hours.


Correct, of course. The key unstated requirement is that it's exactly on your schedule and catered to your tastes.

The issue with this idea, at least as I understand it, is that they're generating higher utilization by sharing and perhaps selling deadhead legs. Any of those things (and anything I can think of that drives utilization meaningfully higher) gives up a lot of the flexibility and precision adaptation to the guy-in-back's ever-changing schedule.

I fly my family in our (piston) airplane for most of our travel east of the Mississippi. Even at piston costs and speeds (both way lower than jets), I can usually beat them door-to-door out to 800 miles and I smoke them door to door for everything under 500 miles. Plus, I'm never waiting for my inbound aircraft, getting the free opt-out feelup by TSA, sweating connections or waiting for my bags.

UberJet can deliver on some of those things, but the closer they drive it to part 121 (air carrier) to make it cheaper, the more they'll give up on the advantage side. I suspect they'll give up a lot of advantages and still not have a cost-competitive product. No one will complain about riding x-country in a Citation X, but they may balk at the $7500/hr operating cost.




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