By Fly Aeolus
Fly Aeolus becomes a fully-fledged air taxi service
The demand for affordable flights is greater than ever. That is why Stefaan Ghijs started the air taxi service Fly Aeolus. Thanks to a unique concept he is able to transport three people throughout Western Europe for 700 € per hour.
In Greek and Roman mythology, Aeolus – son of Peoseidon – was appointed by Zeus as keeper of the winds. Today he lends his name to a new airline: Fly Aeolus. It was founded in June 2009 by Stefaan Ghijs. He was in his thirties and studied Aerospace Engineering as a Belgian at the University of Delft. There he started developing a concept that would grow into an aviation company back in 2006. In addition, he provides training in aviation management.
Fly Aeolus is a sort of air taxi service. On request, it transports customers from the nearest airport to an airport near their destination. They can reach as many as two thousand airports in Western Europe. “We consciously chose small airports”, says Ghijs. “They have important benefits. The check-in time is limited to fifteen minutes or even less, the costs are lower and they are usually closer to the customer’s final destination. As a result, the travel time can be halved.”
Air taxi service with co-ownership
The average hourly rate at Fly Aeolus is 700 €. According to Stefaan Ghijs, this is more than half as much cheaper than the prices charged by charter companies. “It is our ambition to become the cheapest and preferred supplier of private flights”, he says. “Market research shows a growing demand for affordable, reliable and punctual flights. In collaboration with the University of Delft, we have developed a universal concept to meet this demand”.
The business model revolves around a system of fractual ownership: each customer invests a thousand euros and therefore becomes co-owner of the aircraft. As a result, Fly Aeous falls under the regulations for private flights, and can be flown with single-engine aircraft. Stefaan Ghijs: “The aircraft are leased from private owners, and the pilots are freelancers. At present, four (now 15) high-quality aircraft with a capacity of three passengers plus pilot can be permanently used. Safety is of course a priority. Our concept was developed in consultation with the European Aviation Safety Agency.
Break-even within three years
The Fly Aeolus clientele consists mainly of consultants and senior executives. For 2012 Ghijs expects a turnover of €150,000. Within three years he wants to break even. Eighty-two percent of the shares are in his hands, the remaining twenty percent are owned by co-founders. “However, we are in consultation with new participants,” says Ghijs. “They have to add extra marketing knowledge on the one hand and additional entrepreneurial experience on the other.”