VOO Flights CEO, Robert Plhak, on the company’s blueprint to revolutionizing business aviation, current market challenges and future developments. In the rapidly evolving landscape of business aviation, one company has emerged as a beacon of innovation, promising to revolutionize the business jet charter landscape.
VOO flights, a fully automated B2B marketplace, is redefining the business jet charter experience, by offering a toolkit for charter flight bookings tailored to meet the current industry needs. Founded by long-time aviation industry veterans, VOO flights aims to meet the industry’s growing demand for digitalization, automation, transparency, and enhanced safety.
In this exclusive interview, VOO Flights CEO, Robert Plhak, casts light on the pioneering platform, its unique solutions for industry challenges, and its ambitious blueprint for growth and expansion.
Bridging the gap
Derived from the Portuguese word for “flight,” VOO signifies a unique approach to business aviation. The platform empowers users with a range of settings to customize the output and maximize the efficiency of the booking process, by leveraging the software’s automatic price calculations. Furthermore, it optimizes operators’ fleets by combining scheduled flights with new bookings, as well as utilizing available empty legs. Additionally, VOO ensures that availability and valid pricing are displayed in real-time, eliminating the need for external calculation tools or callbacks, all while prioritizing safety, according to Plhak.
Tracing the path that led him to create the innovative platform, Plhak explains that providing a quick, direct, and effortless method for booking private jets, while ensuring safe travel was the primary motivation behind VOO’s establishment.
Moreover, the platform fills a critical market void, he explains. “Before VOO — there was no truly original product to meet the needs of the professional certified charter brokers and business jet operators. VOO makes it possible to find and manage the perfect solutions to [meet] the customer needs, as well as provide transparency in all aspects,” he reveals, emphasizing that digitalization can help the industry better utilize assets, optimize the efficiency of all processes and better understand business, routes, costs and identify opportunities for improvement.
Unique value proposition
Though many platforms on the market are offering tools and services for charter sales, which at first glance may appear as software, they remain essentially mere intermediaries with limited customer support, according to Plhak.
In contrast, VOO goes beyond simple price calculations to offer a comprehensive solution, leveraging its complex pricing and logistics capabilities to provide auto quotes that factor in the aircraft’s logistics and positioning. This efficiency saves operators precious time otherwise spent on calculating and recalculating prices, and sending quotes to brokers. Moreover, it saves brokers time by eliminating the need to send multiple price requests and search for valid and bookable prices.
“On VOO, air charter brokers and aircraft operators get better prices, access to real-time data and unparalleled logistical calculations unmatched by any other service,” Plhak affirms, underscoring the distinctive value VOO’s comprehensive approach brings to market.
Elaborating on the unique value VOO brings to the business jet charter landscape, Plhak explains that, in essence, the platform efficiently streamlines the entire process. “All the calculations are made directly during the flight search by selecting a possible flight and setting a margin, after which VOO automatically calculates the final price,” he notes, pointing out that this eliminates the need for brokers to send multiple requests where prices are not valid until the flight is finally booked.
Instead, the broker sees valid and reliable prices in the search results, thanks to auto-quoting. This, in turn, leads to substantial time savings, with brokers saving up to three hours daily on flight bookings and operators saving up to 90-95% of their time invested in booking efforts, according to Plhak.
The platform also provides a comprehensive solution that eliminates the risk of overlooking data, thereby streamlining workflows and enhancing efficiency, by offering both brokers and operators access to data and ensuring complete visibility into process developments. Each business request is conveniently assigned to its dedicated flight folder, further enhancing the system’s seamless operation.
Prioritising a streamlined user experience is a fundamental pillar of any successful marketplace. With this principle in mind, VOO offers a simple, straightforward, and user-friendly solution to ensure a seamless and effortless booking experience.
“We get told daily just how convenient this platform is! Brokers simply log on to VOO and search for the route they want to find a flight for. After considering several options, they contact the operator directly through VOO and request a booking. Once the operator accepts the request, the flight is booked, and the process is complete,” Plhak explains, outlining the platform’s ease of use.
Currently, VOO’s operations are primarily focused on Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East, with subscribers in several other regions including the US, Africa, South America, and Australia, among others. However, the company has its sights set on aggressive expansion, according to Plhak. “We plan to enter the Asian and North American markets in the coming months,” he reveals, emphasizing the company’s commitment to global growth.
As we delve into the company’s future developments, Plhak unveils VOO’s vision to further enhance the platform’s functionality for operators and streamline the quoting process for brokers.
“Further development of the VOO software is focused on such aspects as extending the management functionality to help operators achieve their goals more efficiently. In addition, VOO aims to provide brokers with an increased degree of simplicity in offering flights and displaying the proper quotations to their customers through our software,” he emphasizes, adding that this commitment extends to a significant upcoming product development, which includes the integration of additional flight management systems and a strong focus on creating functional, efficient, and sustainable solutions.
Furthermore, VOO’s vision extends beyond business aviation, with plans to expand into air ambulance, medivac cargo, and even commercial aircraft, ultimately contributing to the growth and development of the entire aviation industry.
Embracing the technology
Looking at the broader aircraft charter industry, Plhak highlights its distinctive lag in embracing technological advancement. “The charter industry today still operates right at the last century or early 2000s level! Especially in the largest charter market, the US,” he observes, adding that currently, there are not many digital technologies involved and, as a result, automation is only possible to a limited extent.
To address this issue, VOO has shifted its focus to streamlining the booking process, which he perceives as the central element of a charter. “Our goal is to make charter booking as easy as possible for everyone and offer the user an experience similar to booking a seat on a regular airline. Find available connections, see the actual price and simply book,” he says.
Additionally, the company targets to facilitate instant payments on behalf of the broker, utilizing fiat and cryptocurrencies in the near future. This, in turn, will bridge the gap between brokers and operators, ensuring seamless communication and automatic real-time information sharing.”
As the business aviation world embraces the winds of change, VOO Flights stands poised to be at the forefront of this transformation, ushering in an era of digitalization, automation, and unparalleled transparency in charter flight bookings.
© Karim Tolba, The Aviator Middle East
Ivanna is a professional journalist and communications specialist; she channels her creative energy and passion for words to shape outstanding cross-media stories for VOO and the industry’s vibrant media. Ivanna holds a master’s degree in journalism and a professional development certificate in science communication.
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