Flight sharing website Wingly is to launch a new commercial aviation service and to accelerate growth in its existing cost-sharing flights in its largest markets of the UK, France and Germany, thanks to a €3m investment in the company led by the Innovacom Fund.
Wingly Pro will see the French start-up become the first online platform to allow smaller, commercial aviation operators to advertise their flights and connect directly with potential passengers. Additionally, operators will be able to post flights with spare seats, including empty flights.
Listing on the Wingly Pro platform will be restricted to businesses that possess valid certification from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for commercial air transport across Europe. In line with other online booking portals, Wingly also has a European-wide travel agency licence.
“The launch of Wingly Pro this summer will extend our vision and make Wingly the largest collaborative community for private aviation,” said Wingly co-founder and CEO Emeric de Waziers.
“By addressing both demands, Wingly is making flying more accessible than ever before. This furthers our objective to connect the 500+ airfields in the UK and also expands our inventory to add many more helicopter flights.”
Wingly also believes its ‘Pro’ service will also assist in the fight against one of the private aviation sector’s most persistent challenges – illegal charter flights, ‘grey’ charters.
Wingly will be registering, validating and monitoring all parties using the service, giving them the ability 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,” said Emeric de Wazier. ”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.”
Wingly is also developing a variety of new features to coincide with the pending launch of Wingly Pro. The first will be ‘flight request’, 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.
When asked by FLYER how Wingly would cope with current social distancing regulations, Ahaad Adjii, manager of Wingly UK, said, “The restrictions imposed vary in different countries all across Europe. We are gradually seeing that flying and social distancing norms have evolved positively since the height of the pandemic.
“So we’re confident that both Wingly Pro flights, as well as our traditional cost-shared flights, will resume once the restrictions are lifted based on what we have seen in other countries so far.
“Furthermore, we’re already seeing an increase in user activity for flying in July and the Summer months in the UK too.
“That being said, if at all restrictions are still in place, our users can cancel/ reschedule at a click of a button and they are fully refunded without any hassle.”