While nearly everyone who flies opts for traditional flights, using big-name, or sometimes low-cost, airlines, out of concerns over price and convenience, French startup Wingly has introduced a new option for those in the French or German markets.
Wingly’s approach is to help private pilots cover the costs of flying by offering a platform through which they can advertise open seats (generally between 1-3) to those interested in going sightseeing or who may be looking for a cheap one-way option. I found that listings can be narrowed down by departure or destination city, date, type (sightseeing or one-way), and country. And clicking on a flight listing provides general information about the flight and pilot, including the expected length of the trip, pilot-rating, and the number of flight-hours and hours in that particular aircraft that the pilot has, among other details.
Wingly has not yet begun generating revenue, but co-founder Emeric de Waziers told me that they are planning to implement a commission-based monetization model (taking a cut of the price paid to the pilots).
Their platform launched in France in July 2015, but de Waziers says that they encountered some regulatory hurdles, which limited their growth. They tried again in Germany in February 2016 and, getting the go-ahead from local authorities, they were able to demonstrate proof-of-concept and attract the attention of investors. Just over a week ago, the startup announced that they have pulled in an undisclosed amount of funding from a group of investors that includes Thibaud Elziere, Felix Haas, and “experts from the aviation industry”. Wingly intends to use the funding to increase their marketing and customer-support staff, as well as continue to develop their platform.
At this point, Wingly say that they have 10,000 users, including approximately 2,000 pilots, who, through more than 1,000 bookings, have helped to save about 60,000 Euro in flight costs.