South African startup Beaconworx’s MiFlite which provides a central platform for collaboration between pilots, aircraft owners and training schools has a central database onto which subscribed airplane owners have access to enter information on their respective airplanes in terms of location, availability, hire rate to simplify their businesses and bring convenience in the industry.
MiFlite allows private charter companies to upload empty seat information on their charter airplanes onto the platform to allow users like pilots wanting to book an airplane for Hire & Fly to access the information and book airplanes for hire & fly.
According to Nico Louw, Founder & CEO – BeaconWorx, passengers will be able to view empty seats on private charters online or on their mobile device which they can then book as needed.
The mobile app will provide freemium, in app purchases, in app advertising and marketing like for instance present insurance options to pilots that do not have sufficient insurance to fly a particular airplane.
“I have a passion for flying and Aviation in general, I am currently busy with my PPL (Private Pilot License) and have about 15 hours left before I am qualified as a pilot,” said Louw. “So I have always been looking of an opportunity in the aviation space where we can use technology to enhance the user experience.
Beaconworx COO Pieter du Toit comes from a Air Traffic Controller back ground and is well connected in the aviation industry. Louw says Peter introduced him to a prominent player in the aviation industry that provides training to qualified pilots and the idea of a collaboration platform was born by them and refined between Beaconworx and the player.
BeaconWorx then put forward a proposal for MiFlite focused on Hire & Fly and is currently in discussions with the player to finalize the user requirements specifications, after which development will start and we are aiming to take the Hire & Fly option life in the 4th quarter of 2017.
Nico Louw says there are 22 442 Registered Pilots , 232 Flight Schools and 49 Private Charter Companies in South Africa but none of these players have a centralized platform where Pilots, Passengers and Airplane owners can collaborate with each other. By using cloud and applicable technologies they aim to disrupt the aircraft industry in South Africa.
To test the waters, Louw says Beaconworx send out a MiFlite questionnaire to 2000+ Aviation students of which more than 70 % came back with a positive response saying that this was “Long Over Due !!!”. Loue belives that social networks will actually enhance and speed up the adoption rate of MiFlite in the General Aviation industry of South Africa.
The firm makes money by charging airplane owners and private charter companies a monthly subscription to the central database to upload availability of airplanes and empty seats. Users (Pilots & Passengers) will be able to access this data via their mobile devices, the mobile app will offer freemium as well as in app purchases for more advanced features, the mobile app and online access will also provide in app advertising and targeted marketing, for instance offering pilots insurance if they are not sufficiently ensured to fly a particular airplane.
The team is now focused on getting funding and putting the right team together and were part of the Seedstars World South Africa competition which they say was important opportunity to network with like minded entrepreneurs and investors and market their businesses to their target market.