Chilean operator Aerocardal has entered into a strategic partnership with Flapper, the Latin America-focused on-demand private aviation company. The partnership, which is intended to be implemented in phases, will initially focus on the commercialisation of flights operated by Aerocardal and other local operators. Aerocardal will oversee the passenger service and the approval process of new Part 135 carriers and will act as the preferred partner for flights originating from the Flapper mobile application in Chile. The companies are currently working on creating a local inventory for the Chilean market, including helicopter tours, high-season shared flights and on-demand ambulance flights.
With a fleet of 17 aircraft, Aerocardal is the largest air taxi company in the Andean states and Southern Cone. It is also the owner of the largest private terminal in the city of Santiago, consisting of three hangars, a maintenance centre and a terminal dedicated to passengers from the mining sector. Its international expansion plans coincided with the internationalisation of Flapper's operations.
Aerocardal general manager Sergio Seguel says: “We analysed global growth trends and realised that the way forward is to build a marketplace, which will fuel our future expansion. Flapper is the first company to provide similar services on the regional level and instead of launching our own solution, we decided to form an alliance and work together to make business aviation more accessible in Latin America. The idea is to integrate more operators into the alliance.”
New partners include existing air carriers, as well as owners of private jets that wish to make them available to third-parties under Part 135 certifications. “Latin American customers are mobile-first users, and the mobile marketplace is an ideal way to build loyalty among the existing clients and reach out to an entirely new public,” adds Seguel.
The agreement has an ambitious roadmap, under the theme of the ‘democratisation’ of business aviation. At the later stage, the companies intend to add new products to the marketplace, including aircraft sales, aircraft management or even maintenance services. According to both parties, the potential total addressable market equals US$ 2 billion and includes business, leisure, aeromedical and cargo flights. Despite the similar characteristics of Latin American societies, the region lacks a leader with regional reach and the long-term goal would be to create it.
“We want to be your gateway to Latin America's executive aviation services and standardise the customer journey, from concierge to payment methods to safety vetting. Our experience in Brazil shows that more than 40 per cent of our customers had never taken a private flight before, and we intend to apply the same go-to-market strategy in countries like Chile or Peru,” states Paul Malicki, CEO of Flapper.
Flapper, founded in 2016 in Brazil, recently reached a break-even point and is poised to announce its new investment round. The funds will be used to improve the technology and open first international offices. Chilean legal entity is already in the formation process, and its operations will officially begin in December. According to the company, the pandemic caused the demand for its services triple, including a rapid increase in requests for ambulance flights.