DALLAS – The stark division between commercial airlines and exclusive private jet operators epitomizes the status quo of the travel industry—one that is being steadily disrupted by semi-private aviation, a concept promising to combine the exclusivity of private jet operators with the accessibility of commercial airliners.
As a flagship in the burgeoning sector, Aero promises passengers a seamless experience with all the efficiencies of a private jet operator with fares more akin to those of a premium cabin on a traditional commercial airline.
In an exclusive interview with Airways, Aero CEO Uma Subramanian describes how the relatively new operator is capturing growth opportunities before laying out her vision for the semi-private aviation sector as a whole.
Brent Foster (BF) As a semi-private operator, what is the greatest advantage that Aero provides passengers?
Uma Subramanian (UM) When we decided to start Aero, we looked at the world and the full range of air options for travelers. First and business class travel on commercial carriers is becoming pretty commoditized, you still have to go through the airport, and it is kind of still a slog. I was flying back from Lyon, France to London and we still had to queue for two and a half hours despite flying in a premium cabin.
The experience in the premium cabins is increasingly commoditized and private aviation is largely unaffordable except for a very small population of people. When we set out to start Aero, we asked ourselves how do we bring back some of the magic of flying and make flying a really great experience again while giving people an option that is kind of in between?
In the hotel world, there is a full range of options for a full set of price points, and in the air travel world that is not really the case. You have the ultra-low-cost carriers, the low-cost carriers, the mainline carriers, and the private with very little in between. That was the gap that we were trying to bridge.
For customers who are traveling with Aero, there are a lot of advantages but the main advantage is that you have a private-like experience. You fly through a private terminal and get the time savings that you get from private for a fraction of the cost. It is a very unique experience and it feels private-like.
BF Where does Aero fall between traditional commercial airlines and private jet operators in terms of ticket prices and passenger experience?
UM We are kind of in that sweet spot between commercial first and business and private. Our average fare across our network is about US$1,695 one-way.
It is a premium product and so as such, we understand that our customers have very high expectations of the product, so we aim to deliver a really premium experience. It is a very high-touch service, concierge service, and it is a premium air travel experience. We have 16-seat jets in a one-by-one seating configuration so it feels like a premium offering.
BF How many destinations does Aero currently fly to? What does it offer in terms of route frequency?
To keep reading, subscribe today and you'll never miss our exclusive content. Airways Premium Members get full access to incisive articles and analyses from aviation experts and industry insiders.
Featured image: Aero bridges the gap between private and commercial aviation, utilizing a fleet of Embraer aircraft in the process. Photo: Aero.