AirSXM will be established to utilitize available commercial and charter airline capacity to airlift passengers booked through travel agencies, tour operators and hotels.
AirSXM will provide travel agencies who specialize in dynamic packaging with airlift at cost-effective price. The component airlift is an essential ingredient in any vacation package that requires flying the customers to their holiday destination.
AirSXM will specialize in a limited number of destinations starting with St. Maarten and then the rest of The Caribbean (especially The Dominican Republic and Cuba), Belgium, Canada, Indonesia, South Africa and South America.
AirSXM will exercise the practice of chartering commercial assets on a "non-scheduled" basis, where a plane and its crew are assigned a specific route on a request by request basis. Using the commercial carriers in this manner utilizes one of their primary strengths: their existing physical command and control systems and their air operations personnel.
Airlines have the tools and the people to solve large problems in the area of air operations. This includes the ability to create and analyze a concept of operations, such as a hub and spoke architecture, and perform the planning functions of flight planning, crew and maintenance scheduling. They also possess tools that facilitate the smooth execution of the resulting schedule.
AirSXM will be the first actual airline that will operate a virtual airline commercially. The goal is to develop a prototype system that creates a "Virtual Airline" from commercial assets for the purposes of strategic airlifts.
The AirSXM Virtual Airline System will be implemented as a distributed decision support system that ties together the various air operations centers of the commercial carriers with the AirSXM central coordinating facilities.
The functional architecture of the system consists of a set of interacting tools that work in conjunction to accomplish the airlift from visualizing basic movement requirements through airlift execution.
The tools that make up the AirSXM Virtual Airline are the Demand and Capacity analysis tool (DCAT), the Airport Station Manager, the Concept of Operations tool, the Carrier Strength Assessment Tool, and the Flight Assignment Tool.
DCAT allows AirSXM coordinators to visualize and optimize the overall airlift schedule. In addition, DCAT locates and schedules commercial airlift capacity. The second tool, the Airport Station Manager, provides detailed scheduling at all point-to-point airfields (as close as possible to the departure and arrival points of the passengers) while accounting for the dynamic nature of the airfield's capacity, usually referred to Max on Ground (MOG).
AirSXM will be the coordinating agent between the travel agents, travel consolidators, tour operators and hotel accommodations needing airlift (seats) and the commercial airlines (such as KLM, Air France and DCA) and charter companies (such as Martinair, Transavia, HollandExel and Dutchbird) providing capacity.
AirSXM will be in essence an airlift consolidator. Where necessary AirSXM will utilize the capacity provided by NCA and ExelAviationGroup. AirSXM will provide point to point airlift to get passengers booked through independent travel organizations.
The present way the charter business operates is that tour operators create packages, arranges the airlift (provided by Martinair, Dutchbird, HollandExel, etc.) and the travel agents sell them.
Travel agents, hotels and other travel related organizations who want to create their own packages have the problem of not finding appropriate airline tickets that are convenient and a perfect match for the package.
The component airline ticket fares makes that packages unnecessarily costly because these travel organizations on their own do not have the required volume to demand lower airfares.
This is where AirSXM as a airlift consolidator comes in. AirSXM will take inventory of the travel demand from travel agents, hotels and other travel related organizations and create a network of airlift on a seasonal or year round basis.
AirSXM will concentrate her sales acquisition activities towards the following target markets:
- tour operators
- travel agents
- other travel related organizations
AirSXM will offer this service to travel agents allowing them to book their passengers via AirSXM's online reservation system. AirSXM's online website will be modeled after www.AirSXM.com.
As opposed to other virtual airlines that in reality are trading names of established airlines such as Basiq Air which is the virtual airline created by Transavia as a brand name for their low cost service, AirSXM is a "real" virtual airline that operates independent of an airline carrier or charter company.
Tour operators are steadily becoming competitors for existing travel agents with their direct sellers' activities. Internet has provided hotels the means to allow customers to book directly with them therefore bypassing tour operators and travel agents.
You may wonder why would a tour operator get exited by AirSXM when they are big enough to charter a plane themselves? The answer is because chartering a plane to carry passengers to a destination requires that you do a second charter specifically to bring them back. Resulting in twice the cost of a regular airline ticket on the same destination.
AirSXM will circumvent this problem by working the routes on both ends by planning the airlift in advance, consolidating demand and selling tickets directly on these routes.
If you are a tour operator, travel agent or hotel owner then contact AirSXM to discuss your airlift requirements. The first step is to analyze your needs in terms of number of seats, travel dates and time schedules. Secondly, we will approach our travel partners (tour operators, travel agents and travel organizations) to confirm their demand and then we will contract the assets to provide the airlift.
Other articles in this series:
Introduction of a New Role for Travel Agents
Introducing the Caribbean Airline Aviation Alliance
Next article: "Incentivization As Another Key Element To Resolve The Practical Issues Surrounding The Virtual Airline Model"
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