Hiring private citizens to use their cars as on-demand taxicabs has worked out quite well for companies like Uber and Lyft. So why not for airplanes?
That’s the concept from Ideator Lo-Rain Shiimi, a resident of Shanghai, China who travels extensively throughout Africa for business. Tired of spending so much time sitting in airports waiting for connecting flights, she began to ponder how to get from point A to point B without having to stop and change planes in between. Gradually, the concept of forming a private air charter company began to take shape.
“Recently, I had to wait more than 10 hours in South Africa to catch a connecting flight,” said Shiimi. “Had a direct flight been available, it would have cut my travel time in half. I sat there thinking about all the time I spend waiting around airport terminals, and that’s when I got the idea for AirCharter.
What’s the Problem?
As more Africans take to the air to travel from one country to another within the continent, the lack of direct flights between cities often makes it an inconvenient and time-consuming process. This is especially true for business travelers who need to reach their destinations quickly. In some parts of Africa, airline customers often wait up to 12 hours to board a flight to another country. Recently, Shiimi had to postpone an important business meeting because flights were not available to get there in time.
What’s the Big Idea?
Shiimi is working to start an air charter business by hiring or sourcing private jets from local private owners to fly between African cities and countries where direct flights currently don’t exist. Her goal to establish routes that make it more convenient to fly between these cities while reducing the time spent in transit, lowering the price of tickets, and reducing indirect costs.
Launching a charter airline business is a complex process that requires careful study of market factors, operational costs, and price points for each route. So far, Shiimi’s biggest hurdles have been raising the raising the capital to conduct the required marketing research and creating a fundable business plan.
Where Is It Headed?
Shiimi envisions her business becoming one of the biggest air charters in Africa and beyond by offering direct flight routes where other airlines either can’t or don’t want to serve that market. For now, she’s focusing her efforts on seeking partner investors who can bring needed airline industry expertise and capital funding to the table.
A relatively new Ideator, Shiimi is still getting familiar with all the tools and resources on the platform. However, she has already benefitted from the connections made on the site.
“There’s been a bit of a learning curve figuring out how to use all the different resources on Ideator.com,” she says. “However, my advisor, Jessica, has helped me tremendously with plenty of feedback and advice. With her continued support, I will succeed with this venture!”