The Good Life

Up in the air

Baron Aviation wants to take the charter plane business into small towns

Owning a charter plane has always been something that required years and years of waiting for the perfect amount of money, the right model and hopefully finding something that not only serves your professional, but also your personal purposes. Baron Aviation decided to eliminate a problem that the 50-odd-year-old charter plane business has been trying to solve.

Rajeev Waddhwa, chairman and CEO of Baron Group says, “I got the idea to become a virtual operator. We bought people’s surplus planes and started servicing brokers who book these planes for potential customers.” Looking at an alternative to ownership, they started giving access to charter planes and helicopters for all kinds of purposes. Over the last few years, they have hosted kitty parties in the air, customised the planes for weddings and many more events. By helping organise events such as these, they are trying to get the female customers roped into the decision to use the service as well. Says Waddhwa, “Right now, using charter planes is something that is still seen as something that more men do than women. Even if women do travel by charter plane, it is to accompany these men. We would like to change that with our service offerings.”

Their service, Baron Eagle, allows the customers to sign up for the programme and depending on their level (silver, gold or platinum), they have 15-20 flights to choose from at the moment for various purposes. Right now, with 70% of their clientele on the programme, they’re looking to expand to other parts of the country as well. Says Waddhwa, “In western countries, we have noticed that smaller towns have roads, an airstrip as well as a community centre. We are confident that by attracting business communities to use these planes, we will be able to bring business to small towns as well and encourage more use of these planes.”

Ranging from anywhere between ₹2 lakh-₹8 lakh per hour for at least six passengers, those booking the flights can customise it to suit their purposes at the moment. Looking ahead, Baron Aviarion is only planning to hyperjump into the future as much as they can.

Says Waddhwa, “We are planning to take our booking platform online in a while so that we can maintain transparency while booking and also help the customer pick a flight as per their convenience and preference without having to call us.” By eliminating the human contact and hidden costs, they’re only hoping to make their services more easy to access for those who can avail of it.

Besides this, they are also looking to tie-up with luxury brands so that they can offer souvenirs and personal car pick-up services as well to be able to attract ultra HNIs. They are also looking to attract celebrities by tying up with luxury holiday planners so that it can be an extension of their charter plane service as well. Waddhwa smiles, “We don’t want to deviate from being a private jet. But, we’re only going up from here.”