Private jet mobile revolution drives sales: Meet Clive Jackson, the man behind Victor, the Uber of the skies

Billy Bambrough
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Clive Jackson founded jet booking service Victor in 2011 and since the mobile app launched 50 per cent of customers have used it

Mobile apps have become the latest driver of growth for private jet hire, opening up a whole new market of corporate and private customers.

Just as Uber has changed the way taxis operate, mobile app booking is absorbing market share from private jet brokers who have traditionally matched customers to companies.

Founded in London in 2011, Victor claims to be the first firm offering an end-to-end booking service for private jets within a mobile app, a prospect that has seen its revenue double over the past year.

It launched a mobile app in April last year and has had bookings through it ranging from £5,000-£150,000 as 50 per cent of customers make the switch to mobile.

“It’s similar to comparison sites like MoneySuperMarket, though these sites are just lead generation. We do the whole thing, end-to-end,” says founder and chief executive Clive Jackson.

The similarity to private car booking app Uber is something that Victor is clearly keen to encourage, teaming up with the San Francisco based company to offer lucky US Uber users a free flight to New York last month.

The similarity doesn’t end with the way the app works though; Jackson thinks the ease of use will attract plenty of new users.

“When Uber launched in San Francisco there was a rise in the number of people who were using private hire cars. We’re seeing the same thing with Victor, it’s not just the traditional users of private jets that we’re attracting,” claims Jackson.

Jackson originally founded the company after becoming frustrated with the existing system to book a jet. He wasn’t tempted by the growing popularity of membership schemes that charge thousands of pounds per year for a subscription to the service however, claiming the membership model is in terminal decline.

“With membership schemes you don’t get the transparency Victor offers,” claims Jackson, who thinks people prefer the ability to book on-demand without limits on where and when you can fly, as well as being able to chose their jet model and the price they pay.

Victor is Jackson’s 14th company and he claims to have learned the hard way when it comes to customer service. “We want our customers to be able to come to us for anything, no matter where they are,” he says.

Victor already offers flights around the world, but has plans to expand this year with offices in the Middle East and South East Asia at the top of the agenda.

“The reality is that our clients are global, and want to go everywhere. To be able to deliver that we have to be there too,” says Jackson.

Recent industry surveys have shown the private jet market will soar in 2016, with a rise in ultra high net worth individuals expected to send the market higher. Jackson is hoping Victor’s early entry into the market will give it the edge.

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