Data is king. Improving access to data on aircraft performance, revenues and a wealth of other metrics is improving efficiency and cutting costs.

Tech my ride

This challenging year may have brought at least 99 problems, but do not let technology be one. In the age of Zoom, there is an app for everything. And those in bizav should not be afraid to use it. Words: Yuvan Kumar

Tech my ride

This challenging year may have brought at least 99 problems, but do not let technology be one. In the age of Zoom, there is an app for everything. And those in bizav should not be afraid to use it. Words: Yuvan Kumar

Data is king. Improving access to data on aircraft performance, revenues and a wealth of other metrics is improving efficiency and cutting costs.

IF TIME IS MONEY, efficiency is cash in the bank. And the fastest way to become more efficient is through technology. Business aviation – although associated with high speeds in the air – has tended to track behind other industries (including airlines) in building and adopting new technologies. This is partly because it is a smaller market (making it less attractive to start-ups) but mostly because of its complexity. However, it is catching up fast.

New data technology is helping to cut costs and to improve effieciency. This contrasts sharply with how data used to be handled.


“In the past, valuable aircraft data was stored in boxes in the -4 basement and no one used it,” says Chris Marich, co-founder and global strategy director, MySky. The company is a spending management platform that helps business aviation companies account their expenditure, digitise it, and use the data to drive efficiency.

Marich said: “The idea was: ‘How can we use technology to make private aviation and the ownership experience of an aircraft more efficient and more transparent?”

MySky recently partnered with Satcom Direct on the SD Pro platform, which is gathering all the data SD collects through its connectivity solutions and presenting this in real-time to customers. Often data is not transferred from one part of the operation to the other, said Michael Skou Christensen, Vice President, Satcom Direct International. SD Pro, on the other hand, will combine the financial data – from MySky – with operational information .

Chris Marich, Co-founder, MySky

“In the past, valuable data was stored in boxes in the -4 basement.”
Chris Marich, Co-founder, MySky

Alek Vernitsky, CEO Portside, agrees with Christensen. “Operators will work as five or six different systems – scheduling, accounting, or maintenance – which are not working with each other.” Portside is another cloud-based suite, which stitches together its data from 70 different aviation systems, for owners and operators of any aircraft.

It is important that the data is being measured correctly and in the same way. It has to be standardised and verified. Vernitsky said: “Data consistency is a real issue for all of us and one needs to ensure it is comparable from operator to operator.”

Christensen agrees, saying once bad data is in the system it can corrupt future readings. “If you get garbage information in that will go through your system from start to end. A good approach is to have multiple systems that overlay each other from the start of the process.”

LEFT: Screen search solutions: Stellar Marketplace will give the 50-plus operators on the FL3XX platform the ability to offer, search, quote and book truly available aircraft.

Aviation is a relationships business, and transparency is one of the most important ways to gain a customer’s trust as well as improve the overall experience.

Mark Winzar, Senior VP, Business Development and Technical Services, JSSI said: “JSSI now has Conklin & de Decker, Tracware and our parts department providing a suite of services helping potential aircraft owners to evaluate the right type of aircraft, the operating costs involved and the support and maintenance programme they would need.”

Collating digital market data is the best way to paint a holistic picture for customers to guide them as to the true cost of aircraft ownership and operation, said Winzar. He firmly believes that certain amounts of data should be in the public domain to help potential investors make informed financial decisions. Ultimately, companies must ask whether they want to keep customers and expand their business. Transparency is also the core of Stellar Marketplace – a recent collaboration between web-based aviation management platform FL3XX and aviation tech company Stellar Labs. Stellar Marketplace will give the 50+ operators on the FL3XX platform the ability to offer, search, quote and book truly available aircraft using real-time pricing and safety data.

Vicki Nakata, CEO, Stellar Labs said: “The Stellar Marketplace pulls reliable, up-to-date information directly from an operator’s schedule board, so members with off-fleet sourcing needs now have a single source of truth for pricing and scheduling.”

RIGHT: Blockchain benefits: Volavia’s end-to-end travel solutions app uses blockchain and cryptocurrency to offer customers secure bookings and payments in an age of heightened security threats.

Vicki Nakata, CEO, Stellar Labs


MRO Insider has an app which allows customers to seek scheduled maintenance from its network of 150 MRO and aircraft-on-ground locations. On the app, users can attach a ‘due list’ for any capable facility on the network and receive different quotes at once. This takes away the usual hassles of the trade, according to CEO Andy Nixon.

“ [The app is] similar to Uber, which makes it easy for somebody at their AOG to look for someone within 300-miles to come out and fix their plane or do detailing or help them out with some parts,” he said.

TallyHo! also unveiled its new app – at a CJI Town Hall online meeting recently – which connects owners and operators with the services for their aircraft. App users can search for the service they need in their area of choice. The app is free to users but service providers pay a subscription.

Founder Byron Severson told attendees that the app was inspired by the lack of service providers for his own aircraft. The ability to generate multiple quotations simultaneously was also key.

Severson said the industry is likely to see integrations and partnerships multiply from this point of providing service. This step will lead to connecting the information about the aircraft, but also integrating with maintenance and due dates and the rest of the ecosystem.

Bluetail, as a freshly launched aircraft content management system, is aiming to do just this. It hopes to set itself apart from maintenance tracking systems through a focus on content curation rather than creation.

Aircraft paper records can be scanned, organised and indexed via 150 locations in the US and Canada. These can be stored by specific aircraft and model, by adding value and looking after the documents as a collection. Bluetail offers a base subscription-based service that starts at $3/day per aircraft.

“Members now … have a single source of truth for pricing and scheduling.”
Chris Marich, Co-founder, MySky

Fraud fighter: Flapper’s app and website, designed using the same platform and published simultaneously, uses two different payment gateways to combat fraud.


One of the key factors for introducing and implementing new technology in business aviation is the simplicity with which it can be used – by both owners and customers.

Flightdocs – which became part of software solutions company ATP – has offered maintenance tracking and management software since 2003. There are two important things that customers are considering before picking such software, according to Lee Brewster, director of customer solutions, Flightdocs. These are: how well it integrates or streamlines the work and how time-efficient the process can be.

Brewster said: “Whenever you are looking at your technology solution, at the end of the day, is it increasing your efficiency without increasing your intrusion into peoples’ day.” Along with this simplicity, mobile availability of information is paramount. “Do people have the information they need at their fingertips when they want it?,” she said. Information must be made available to access and act upon for the crew, pilots or whomever needs it.

Compliance with FAA or EASA rules is also made much easier through keeping “clean, auditable and accessible records”. This helps pre-buy inspections as well as other processes take place seamlessly.

At a different stage in the business, Global Closing Room (GCR) has created a mobile-friendly and secure remote environment which helps aircraft transactions get closed.

GCR runs know-your-customer checks on all parties involved before allowing the transaction to continue.

Founder Eric Lewin said: “Once the customers and their lawyers are in, you’re pretty much free to organise your closing as you want. We support original signatures, digital execution, version control and a funds facilitation option.”

There is further simplicity to the operations, as, once finished, GCR provides customers with a final statement to show the funds allocation as well as provides links to PDFs in the transaction which are stored on their blockchain based system.

In a Covid-19 environment, Lewin says aircraft owners will expect lower transactional costs and faster processing.

Paul Malicki, CEO, Flapper

“We have always been very innovative with new technology.”
Paul Malicki, CEO, Flapper

Dashboard control of maintenance matters. Flightdocs is intended to offer maintenance tracking with all fleet information in easy-to-use dashboards.

Flightdocs management software aims to make work orders as simple as possible. Contact Lee Brewster, ATP, [email protected]

“We make it simple and we make it fast. It does not matter if you have a smaller aircraft or lots of different aircraft or complicated transactions. We maintain accuracy so that principals can see on their dashboards where the transactions are and push them forward themselves.”

On the consumer side, adopting blockchain and cryptocurrency, is end-to-end travel solutions app Volavia, which aims to enter the marketplace in 2021. Customers will be able to keep track of their bookings, communications, and itinerary in the same place. It aims to make payment through cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or Litecoin available to users.

Charter payments sound easy but have been a huge hurdle in the past. And a few years ago, many operators and customers would not trust non-traditional means of payment.

Cryptocurrency markets can be volatile, so Volavia intends to create its own currency backed against other world currencies such as the Dollar and the Yen. Smart contracts will also guarantee all payments are made to parties involved with the utmost security, provided their agreement is set up via blockchain.

Mark Green, one of the co-founders, said: “The terms of payment – and any other contractual obligation – can be set within each smart contract. Whether that be 30 days, payment on delivery, or even pre-payment, each obligation can be set and once the timeline for every item has expired, then the obligations automatically take place.”

Flapper, the charter marketplace, is another disruptor. Although Flapper is on Avinode, it built a quotation system in-house because Latin America has a strong internal network. CEO Paul Malicki said the company relies on two different payment gateways, as fraud is a big problem in Brazil.

Flapper’s app and website is designed using the same platform and published simultaneously.

“We have always been innovative with new technology. The website is WordPress with plugin invented by our IT team, which helps us scale it up. When it comes to big data, we are using Microsoft Power BI. But we also run our own reports,” said Malicki.

Whether it is transparency, choice or simplicity you seek, tech experts will confirm that it is worth watching this space. 2020 has seen a surge in industry players wanting to improve processes and modernise. And although sharing information and industry adoption have been slow on the uptake in the past, it will probably not be long before many more decide to join the wave of aviation tech. To 2021 and beyond!

CJI Connect

Chris Marich

Co-founder and global strategy director, MySky

[email protected]

Michael Skou Christensen

Vice President, Satcom Direct International

[email protected]

Alek Vernitsky

CEO, Portside

[email protected]

Mark Winzar

Senior VP, Business Development, JSSI

[email protected]

Vicki Nakata

CEO, Stellar Labs

[email protected]

Andy Nixon

CEO, MRO Insider

[email protected]

Eric Lewin

Founder, Global Closing Room

[email protected]

Byron Severson

Founder, TallyHo!

[email protected]

Mark Green

Co-founder, Volavia

[email protected]

Paul Malicki

CEO, Flapper

[email protected]

Yuvan Kumar, Reporter, Corporate Jet Investor

Yuvan Kumar, Reporter, Corporate Jet Investor