Flight sharing ‘Uber of the skies’ platform Wingly is to launch a new commercial aviation service having completed a €3 million investment round.
The firm said the new investment will also be used to accelerate the growth of its existing cost-sharing flights in its largest markets of the UK, France and Germany.
The Innovacom Fund led the latest funding round that will support the launch of Wingly Pro this summer.
The Paris-based start-up said it will become the first online platform to allow smaller, commercial aviation operators to advertise their flights and connect directly with potential passengers.
Operators will also 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.
Wingly has obtained a European-wide travel agency licence.
Wingly co-founder and chief executive Emeric de Waziers, said: “The launch of Wingly Pro this summer will extend our vision and make Wingly the largest collaborative community for private aviation.
“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.
“By addressing both demands, Wingly is making flying more accessible than ever before. This furthers our objective to connect the 500 plus in the UK and also expands our inventory to add many more helicopter flights.”
Wingly said its Pro version will also help in the fight against one of the private aviation sector’s “most persistent challenges” – illegal charter flights.
The firm will register, validate and monitor all parties using the service 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,” added de Waziers. ”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 $84 billionn this year alone, Wingly said Pro is an important part of its aim 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 said it is also developing a variety of new features to coincide with the pending launch of Wingly Pro.
The first will be a flight request service, 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.