Software Could Boost General Aviation Role in Transportation System
April 8, 2010 — Airlines serve most regions of the country; however, passengers, especially in smaller communities, may have to travel significant distances to board a flight. Once on that flight, they may have to take a circuitous route to their destination that may require considerable ground travel again. Charter services using general aviation aircraft have always been an option, but for various reasons they haven’t been able to bridge the divide. Now, new software is opening up competitive travel options to the flying public utilizing general aviation aircraft by tying together independent charter services across the country into one large fleet. The software allows the traveler to access this fleet in much the same way one would purchase airline tickets online.
The CAS system, developed by Coastal Aviation Software, creates a virtual fleet of aircraft from its participating members that is available to the potential passenger. The traveler can benefit from point-to-point service, usually from an airport that is closer than one with airline service. The charter companies benefit by being networked and thus open to a larger pool of passengers without having to invest heavily in additional aircraft and infrastructure. The software also helps the charter operator through an online marketplace to sell empty flight segments.
If a passenger wanted to fly from Waupaca, Wisconsin, to Kirksville, Missouri, on the airlines, it would involve a 90-minute drive to an airport with airline service and two to three connections to get to Kirksville. Through the CAS system, the passenger would book his travel like he would through Expedia or Travelocity by using his home address and destination address. The software would select a charter operator, provide a quote to the passenger, and book and confirm the flight.
In this case, Waupaca has a general aviation airport, as does Kirksville. Almost all charter operators have aircraft that can be serviced to airports, and the passenger would be flown directly to their destination, eliminating drives to Green Bay or Milwaukee, Wisconsin, plus connecting flights through Minneapolis, Minnesota, or St. Louis, Missouri, or elsewhere, and then a drive for at least another hour from Quincy, Illinois (the closest airline stop).
EAA President Tom Poberezny says, “With innovations like the CAS system, general aviation could change the way it earns revenue with very little investment by networking their resources and tapping into the traveler that is growing weary of the trip within the trip that often characterizes airline travel today.”