Sunday, December 16, 2012

Air-Pooling? BlackJet Brings Ride-Sharing to the Skies (With Video)

Private travel operator BlackJet is bringing ride sharing to the friendly skies, selling seats on idle private planes to cater to travelers fed up with the hassles of conventional airlines. 

The service, which started in late October, was created to take advantage of "an opportunity in private aviation," BlackJet co-founder and president Dean Rotchin told CNBC on Tuesday. For a traveler stranded in JFK airport, or a relatively small group of people in need of transport to hunting or fishing trip, BlackJet could be a potential workaround for their air woes.

"The first thing we did was look at the whole landscape aviation and said, 'Hey, there are people with a serious travel need,'" Rotchin said. "They need to get from here to there."

While still pricier than flying commercial, BlackJet aims to "create affordability" by offering fliers the option of buying a seat on a private jet to avoid delays and overcrowding on regular airplanes, Rotchin said. He said BlackJet's lowest air fare is $900, which is higher than average but well below the cost of chartering a private jet.

Berkshire Hathaway's aviation company NetJets offer similar services, where clients take "fractional" ownership stakes in planes in exchange for flight time.

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