Flight sharing platform Wingly has completed a €3m investment round, with the funds to be used to launch a new commercial aviation service and to accelerate the growth of its existing cost-sharing flights in its largest markets of the UK, France and Germany.
With the Innovacom Fund leading the round, Wingly Pro will see the Paris-based start-up become the first online platform to allow smaller, commercial aviation operators to advertise their flights and connect directly with potential passengers. Additionally, operators will be able to post flights with spare seats, including empty flights.
Listing on the Wingly platform will be restricted to businesses that possess valid certifications from the Civil Aviation Authority for commercial air transport across Europe. And keeping in line with other online booking portals, Wingly has also obtained a European-wide travel agency licence.
“The launch of Wingly Pro this summer will extend our vision and make Wingly the largest collaborative community for private aviation,” said Wingly co-founder and CEO Emeric de Waziers. “This foray into commercial aviation will help us respond to the existing demand from our community as well as complementing the leisure-oriented cost-shared flights currently being offered by the 20,000 private pilots who have already registered with our platform,” said Emeric de Waziers, co-founder and CEO of Wingly.
“By addressing both demands, Wingly is making flying more accessible than ever before. This furthers our objective to connect the 500+ airfields in the UK and also expands our inventory to add many more helicopter flights.”
The launch of ‘Wingly Pro’ will also assist in the fight against one of the private aviation sector’s most persistent challenges – illegal charter flights. Wingly will be registering, validating and monitoring all parties using the service, giving them the ability to ensure the barriers of private and commercial operations are not crossed.
“Our platform will be able to provide much needed clarity and transparency to the public,” said Emeric de Wazier. ”This will enable them to select trusted operators and pilots, whose documents have been thoroughly checked and verified by Wingly and who are operating within the rules.”
With the coronavirus expected to cost the global aviation sector $84bn this year alone, the launch of Wingly Pro is the latest chapter in Wingly’s goal of becoming a catalyst for innovation in the aeronautics sector.
“With the way the current global pandemic has affected the mobility and travel sector, aviation will require a fundamental change in approach as well as suitable digital tools” said Jerome Faul, President of the Innovacom fund.
“It is essential for Wingly to be able to contribute to the development of sustainable aviation – lots of operated charter flights are carried out with less than 40% occupancy,” said Emeric de Waziers. “Our interest here is to fill empty seats, improve the aircraft occupancy rate, thus reducing the carbon footprint per passenger as well as the cost for all parties.”
Wingly is also developing a variety of new features to coincide with the pending launch of Wingly Pro. The first will be ‘flight request’, allowing users to directly post the type of flights they are looking for on the website – based on the criteria of the specific request, they can be met by either commercial operators or by a cost-shared flight with private pilots.