Today Wingly, a French flight sharing platform, has completed a €3 million investment round, led by Innovacom Fund. The funds will be used to launch a new commercial aviation service called ‘Wingly Pro’, and to accelerate the growth of its existing cost-sharing flights across the UK, France and Germany.
Wingly, founded in 2015, currently connects private pilots with passengers. Thanks to its flight sharing options, pilots and passengers can share costs and enjoy the perks of private aviation for lower prices. On one side, pilots can list their services on the website, responding to potential clients within 48 hours. On the other side, passengers can search the thousands of flights on offer to find the perfect sightseeing, day trip or one-way flight nearby. So far the platform has grown to 300,000 members, with 20,000 pilots offering their services.
The official launch of ‘Wingly Pro’ will see the Paris-based startup jump into the commercial aviation market. It will 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 platform will be restricted to businesses that possess valid certifications from the Civil Aviation Authority for commercial air transport across Europe. Plus, keeping in line with other online booking portals, Wingly has also obtained a European-wide travel agency licence.
To coincide with the pending launch of ‘Wingly Pro’, Wingly is also getting some new features ready. 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.
“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. 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.”
The launch of ‘Wingly Pro’ also has a sustainable objective, by filling empty seats and reducing the carbon footprint of passengers. “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.”
In addition, ‘Wingly Pro’ will also assist in the fight against one of the private aviation sector’s most persistent challenges – illegal charter flights. 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.