By Franklin Thomas, November 2012, Page 24-25Photo- Format_2

What is Invision Air all about?

It’s all about saving people’s time by offering business jets to brave distances in the least time possible and in the process, also meeting the international standards of quality and safety.

There are various levels for people to interface with business jets, from hiring them to occasionally owning them. We present to the market a hand-holding process that takes the client from his/her first step in a business jet (Spot Charters and Jet Cards) all the way till he/she becomes a jet owner (Aircraft Management and Maintenance). No other company in India that has genuine experience in operations is offering such an end-to-end service.

What are the logistics involved?

Running a charter operation according to the international standards requires a setup like a mini airline. The aircraft, the crew, the operations, the sales, the customer support staff, the engineers and the maintenance team—all have to he synchronised. Compared to an airline, it is much more challenging as the whole operation is extremely dynamic. With airlines, you have fixed timings for flights, whereas in our business, the flight timings keep changing. We have a staff of 30 at the moment, with two offices in Mumbai and Delhi and a maintenance base in Nasik.

How much does it cost to fly by Invision Air?

Our four-passenger jet is being offered at a rate of ? 1.5 lakh per flying hour for Spot Charter customers. The quoted amount goes down if you sign up for a Jet Card Membership Programme.

Usually, booking a jet is a rather complicated process…

Not really. At least, in our case. To hook at jet, a client needs to call our toll free number and provide his proposed itinerary. A quick pricing offer is emailed to the client for his approval. Once it’s done, they are required to clear the sum in advance through wire transfer or credit card. Post that, the aircraft is 100 per cent booked for them. We can make an aircraft available within four to 24 hours from the time of the first call. If the client is a Jet Card Member then the process is even faster and they have priority for reservations.

How many passengers can a jet of Invision Air accommodate at once?

Our current fleet has a capacity of four passengers per jet, but by the end of the year aircrafts with a capacity of seven and 10 will also be available. On board, you have the standard amenities with beverages and catered meals. There is also a toilet on board. The aircraft can reach 200 airports within India alone and have a flying range of around three hours.

The aviation sector is passing through a lull. How would you assess the viability of your business in this scenario?

We are still in the start-up phase as we started operations only in March 2011 with a soft launch. Profitability is not expected at this stage. However year to date (April to August), our revenues have increased by over 75 per cent from last year in the same period. The General Aviation (GA) sector (as our segment is referred to globally) and the commercial aviation sector do not necessarily have a direct relationship with each other. The GA sector is more connected with the GDP of a country. So, there has been an impact due to the generally economic downturn but this has been only a small dip. Also, with more business class seats being eradicated from the market by commercial airlines, it has resulted in more high-profile clients looking for services like ours. And, our service costs only about two or three times more than last minute one-way business class fares.