(Mikhail Starodubov / Shutterstock.com)
Zurich - Wannabe jetsetters can now hail a private plane anywhere in the world from their smartphones thanks to an app that makes luxury air travel more accessible, at least to those who can afford the $7 000 (R80 684 at R11.53/rand) membership.
JetSmarter, the brain child of Sergey Petrossov, 26, allows users to hire a jet in a matter of seconds. "Our goal as a company is to democratise private aviation," he told Reuters in Zurich, where the company will open a European office in 2015.
Launched in March last year, the app has been downloaded over 300 000 times and facilitated more than 1 000 flights so far in 2014.
While the average ticket costs around $20 000 (R230 600), those who become members for $7 000 (R80 684) a year can get free or discounted "empty legs" flights, which travel empty when a plane returns to its home base after dropping off passengers,
The average JetSmarter member is tech-savvy, aged between 25 and 50 and earns at least $1 million (R11.5m) a year, according to Petrossov. A-list celebrities, royalty and sheiks are among its users.
Some of the most popular routes include the "Golden Triangle" between Miami, New York and Los Angeles. But almost anything is possible. JetSmarter once received a request to transport a tonne of gold between South America and Europe.