It was a breakthrough concept. Use a fleet of small, on-demand, ride-share jets to serve a network of airports and adjust the seat price to reflect each passenger’s scheduling flexibility. Oh, and confirm the trip and fare instantly.
That was DayJet’s operating plan. It was so revolutionary, even mighty Boeing was watching with concern. And with good reason.
Think about it. A passenger goes online and inputs the date and times of a desired trip from A to B, knowing that the wider the time span for departure or arrival, the lower the price. Seconds after pressing “Send,” there’s the fare and flight. No en route transfers needed, although there may be stops to board others. In other words, passengers set the trip’s timing and pricing. And by only serving small airports, ground travel logistics were quick and hassle-free.
For the carrier, delivering such a service is as complicated as a Moonshot because the variables are nearly infinite. It must ensure an airplane is available at the locations, times and dates—near or far—chosen by a variety of customers. Same for the pilots. The routing selected must be efficient yet factor in the component of a yet unknown cohort of passengers traveling on the same aircraft from and to other airports. It must be able to accommodate any weather, ATC, staffing or other unanticipated problems or delays—profitably and quickly.
To do all that requires serious computational muscle, heavy-duty algorithms and custom-designed programming. The effort addresses two interlocked halves of a system anchored in complexity science—one that manages reservations for on-demand trips and another that manages a fleet of aircraft and its support staff.
The person behind the DayJet concept was Ed Iacobucci, a Silicon Valley superstar who cofounded Citrix Systems in 1989. He drew some Citrix veterans—two of them Russian rocket scientists, literally—to the new project along with other software developers. The team then spent more than three years creating, refining and testing the system.
In 2002, DayJet ordered 239 Eclipse 500 very light jets (see photo, top) then still in development. Iacobucci calculated that even with two pilots up front, the minijet’s break-even load factor would be about 1.3 passengers. Unfortunately, he never got to prove that. The company planned to begin operations in Florida in 2006, but a struggling Eclipse was a year late in starting deliveries. DayJet eventually got 28 jets, but by then the recession of 2008 had a stranglehold on the economy. That, combined with the late start and lack of capital, ultimately resulted in the company suspending operations just one year after launch.
However, a group of Silicon Valley investors recognized the potential of the DayJet computer program. They purchased the technology and created BoldIQ. Based in Redmond, Washington, the 20-person enterprise is led by Roei Ganzarski, the former chief customer officer for Boeing’s Flight Services division and one who had monitored DayJet’s evolution.
Ganzarski describes BoldIQ as “a dynamic resource-optimization company” that aims to derive the best possible use of an organization’s assets “executable at the click of a button”—exactly what DayJet programmers “designed beautifully” a decade ago.
If given enough time and information, some optimization process might deliver even better results, but good, feasible, fast results are more valuable to business, Ganzarski says, paraphrasing Gen. George S. Patton, Jr.: A good plan executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.
Today, BoldIQ’s technology is employed by charter, fractional, managed business aircraft operators and aviation service companies, including Jeppesen, Executive AirShare, Bye Aerospace, JetSuite, Europe’s GlobeAir and New Zealand’s Merlot Aero. It also serves ground transportation providers and mobile workforce outfits by “getting the cable guy and repairman to the job” most efficiently, Ganzarski says.
Its next target is the health-care industry, with the goal of improving efficiencies to allow doctors and nurses to treat more patients.
Iacobucci died of cancer in 2013 at the age of 59. Ganzarski sees DayJet’s computerized engine as a true legacy of a man he lauds as a “software guru.” And by continuously building upon and refining that core technology, BoldIQ is “commoditizing optimization” that can benefit small and medium-size businesses.
As for those Russian rocket scientists? They’re still at it. In fact, six of DayJet’s original programmers are among BoldIQ’s employees, which is a tribute to a good idea, well executed. At the click of a key.
Click here to read the full article on Aviation Week
It’s happened again. A localized power outage in Atlanta took down the computers of one of the world’s largest airlines — Delta. Last month, a failing router took out the computer system at the nation’s fourth largest carrier — Southwest. And these examples follow a long list of others over the years.
The outages leave carriers scrambling, often for days, trying to help passengers find available seats on subsequent flights, even after the carrier’s computer system is back up and running. And when you think about it, an airline is a giant system of moving parts, a precisely timed ballet where pilots and flight crews go from one flight to another. Planes have to end up in the right cities in the correct configuration, all within a tight regulatory framework.
When the computer system goes haywire?
“You’re basically trying to solve one problem at a time, and that’s where the term continuous firefighting comes in. You solve one fire by creating another one later on,” says Roei Ganzarski, President and CEO of BOLDIQ a company that makes optimization software for day to day operations of airlines, trucking companies and other businesses where everything is in motion simultaneously.
Ganzarski says that software can also put things back together after a disruption.
“To give our customers a plan that’s better than what they could on their own, at the time they need to make that decision. And that’s what becomes an optimization solution,” says Ganzarski.
It all involves the heavy use of mathematics. It’s sort of like a big jigsaw puzzle.
“Disruptions will happen,” says Ganzarski. “No matter how good you prepare. It could be hardware or software, human disruption, things will happen. The main question: what do I do about it?”
From the 12 candidates that BoldIQ met during the WTIA ‘speed dating’ style draft day – an event setup by the Washington Technology Industry Association aimed at matching up technology candidates from underrepresented schools in the Washington region with tech companies – four candidates were called back in for full team interviews, and this week, two were hired to join the BoldIQ team as support engineers. Overall a great event and a worthwhile investment of time for the candidates and for BoldIQ.
On Saturday June 25th, BoldIQ president & CEO, Roei Ganzarski, together with VP Engineering & Development Christer Lundin participated in WTIA’s Draft Day. This was an event setup by the Washington Technology Industry Association aimed at matching up technology candidates with tech companies. The unique part of this program is the focus on women and minorities from underrepresented schools in the Washington region.
Today BoldIQ team members got to spend time with the United States Army’s best warriors – the U.S. Rangers.
We got unit capability briefings; a tour of the Ranger complex; a close look at the Rangers’ unique special operations equipment (very cool!); and a viewing of the Second Battalion Memorial honoring fallen Rangers
This was a truly unique opportunity and we thank the Rangers for it and for all that they do.
Europe’s largest Citation Mustang operator, GlobeAir of Austria, is adding another six to bring its fleet to 20 of’s very light jets.
GlobeAir is showing that the niche market for very light jets may be growing. Last year the company posted a profit of EUR2.3 million on revenues of EUR17.5 million, and the number of flights operated rose from 5,100 to 6,000.
“Our charter sales rose 20%,” says Founder and CEO Bernhard Fragner. “At the moment I think our product is at the right place at the right time.” Overall, he notes, very light jet activity in Europe is 22% up year-on-year, whereas most other sectors are flat or around 2% down.
Fragner says Europe is struggling economically, except for the UK and Germany, and that a lot of his customers previously used mid-size cabin aircraft such as the Citation XL and XLS to fly just one or two people.
“They survived the 2008 financial crash through streamlining their own companies, cutting costs and giving better value,” he explains. “Basically, in 1.5 hours and with just one or two passengers they can get to most places in Europe and don’t need to fly in an XLS,” which according to Fragner is around 30% more expensive than a very light jet. “Sometimes we fly four passengers aboard our Mustangs, but our average is 1.4 passengers per flight… so with our niche I believe we can continue to grow.
“What helps us significantly is our fleet size, in that we can guarantee a flight, whereas an operator with only two to three aircraft cannot. Given my fleet size I can always find a solution.”
So is the term ‘Air Taxi’ dead? “We learned in Europe that this business is still discreet, and that people are not willing to share the cabin – we tried the cabin-sharing model and found it doesn’t work in Europe,” he says.
Fragner believes that the great differentiator between his operation and others is its ‘can do’ attitude. “I think from day one we focused on the customer even if it cost us money to put things right.”
The key to the success of Globe Air is basing the aircraft where the market is, and the most stable market at the moment is London, so its aircraft are distributed among that city’s airports, of which the busiest are Luton and Biggin Hill. Across the Channel, Paris-Le Bourget, Geneva and Nice are next busiest. “We have aircraft permanently based at those airports,” Fragner says.
The six new aircraft will be spread across the network to meet growing demand in the London area and in Zurich, while Munich will also have a permanently based aircraft.
Fragner’s advice is to question every expense. “A simple thing that we questioned was why should a GBP100 landing/handling fee cost GBP110 every time we used the same airport? We found the handling agent was charging a GBP10 administration fee each time, as he had to forward the fees to the airport authority. So we opened an account directly with the airport and now pay monthly rather than per-flight.”
Market development is still a key to continuing growth. “Our industry is really great at marketing itself within the industry, but we have to market ourselves better and address the potential customer base directly,” says Fragner, who tries to spend two days per week talking to new potential customers, and every week he finds one or two that have never heard of business aviation.
“These are millionaires and entrepreneurs, very successful people, and they are the last to learn how they can save more time efficiently. Their perception is that business aviation is just for the top celebrities, that using Gulfstreams and the like costs hundreds of thousands of dollars per flight. We offer them a 50% discount on their first flight, then once you have them at the aircraft they come again.”
Austria-based executive air charter operator GlobeAir (Booth B051) is here announcing a partnership with U.S.-based JetSuite to offer each other’s “last mile” service to those customers who travel back and forth across the Atlantic. GlobeAir and JetSuite specialize in very light jet flights, with Cessna Citation Mustangs and Embraer Phenom 100s, respectively. GlobeAir has been bucking a downward trend in the air charter market, according toCEO Bernhard Fragner.
A new cabin interior, created by an automotive designer and featuring leather seats hand-crafted in Florence, Italy, has been created. It has already been fitted to 12 of GlobeAir’s 14 Mustangs. Downtime for installation is said to be only two days. The work was supervised in house, a lower-cost option when compared to the quotes obtained from refurbishment specialists, Fragner said.
EASA has just approved GlobeAir as a pilot-training provider for the Mustang. Another recent investment has been the addition of a second mobile repair team.
In the first quarter, GlobeAir saw a 17 percent increase in movements, which translated into a reported 10 percent sales growth. Fragner therefore hopes revenues to swell to €23 million in 2016. Last year, revenues stood at €18.6 million. “We have hit the bottom level of pricing,” Fragner added.
In future, Fragner sees a need for a second maintenance base. He also would like to grow the fleet to 20 aircraft, a threshold estimated to minimize deadhead legs. “From our 10th Mustang, we saw economies of scales kicking in,” he pointed out.
story by Sarah Murray
Few fleet managers would see attacks by bald eagles on their vehicles as a threat — that is until news emerged that Dutch company Guard From Above is training birds of prey to intercept hostile drones. However, while the birds will target unauthorized machines used in the execution of crime, legitimate commercial drones are not in their sights.
Aside from their offensive potential, drones offer a growing range of applications in the fields of security and surveillance. Much attention has focused on the possibility of drones delivering packages. But the difficulties of navigating urban areas safely means that, for now at least, there is greater commercial potential for use of drones by industries whose operations are in remote locations.
Monitoring the integrity of large, distant infrastructure such as wind farms and oil and gas installations is one task to which drones are suited. Monitoring gas flaring at oil and gasfields is one such example where drones can replace human surveillance, whether from the ground or aircraft.
“When you’ve got plants and machinery moving around, that’s where it’s ideal,” says James Harrison, co-founder and chief executive of Sky-Futures, which uses drones to inspect oil and gas installations. “They’re flying computers that can capture a lot of details and data that humans can’t, and from angles and places humans can’t get to.”
Moreover, drones do not get tired or bored. “Drones replace the individual where the job is very remote, tedious, time-consuming and prone to human error,” says Roei Ganzarski, president and chief executive of BoldIQ, whose software helps companies manage complex operations.
Drones can also help reduce the risk of fighting fires, particularly in areas prone to outbreaks such as Australia and parts of the western US, by helping crews understand more quickly the direction in which the fires are moving.
“With the smoke, you don’t want to put up a piloted aircraft,” says Mr Ganzarski. “A drone could fly into the fire and give real-time information on where to go to and where not to go to avoid risk.”
Farmers are harnessing drones’ capabilities. By flying over fields, the machines can collect accurate images of the state of planted crops, providing more detail than satellites. This allows farmers to identify areas where crops need more attention to increase yields. Using drones to spread fertiliser or pesticides across large areas of land means any accidents involve a machine rather than putting pilots at risk of injury or death in light aircraft. Across such industries, drone fleets could start to emerge as companies see the potential for the cost savings and increased safety during surveillance and other operations, says Simon Menashy, investment director at MMC Ventures, which has invested £2.5m in Sky-Futures. Many oil and gas operators are interested in deploying drones on their platforms permanently, says Mr Menashy. “And there are 10,000 oil rig platforms in place around the world.” But as the industrial use of drones spreads, a question for operators will be how to navigate the vast amounts of data generated by fleets of flying robots.
In some ways, managing drone fleets will not differ from other fleets. After all, logistics companies have long used software to collect real-time data on trucks and other vehicles to devise fuel-efficient routes and faster deliveries. However, the type and volume of information drones can collect and transmit will demand new forms of data analysis.
“There’s one big difference in the operation of drones versus trucks, vans and taxis, and that’s the threedimensional element,” says Mr Ganzarski. “A drone doesn’t just go down a fixed road — it can fly anywhere and at any altitude.” Rising drone usage may not spell the end of other types of fleets. “You’ll see a lot of companies taking on drones,” says Mr Ganzarski, “not necessarily as the main vehicle, but as a supplement or part of a mixed fleet.”
Meanwhile, data management, emerging regulations covering the operation of drones and the need to take steps to ensure they fly safely will create new challenges for fleet managers.
This is not seen as a barrier to the growth of drone fleets, however. According to the Teal Group, a US-based research and analysis firm, global spending on the production of unmanned aerial vehicles — for both military and commercial use — will reach $93bn in the next 10 years. It is an industry with high-flying potential — in every sense.