In the year since it launched its online crewing platform, hullo Aircrew has increased its membership by more than 200%. Now a collaboration with Jet Aviation is opening the door to extensive new development
Among the disruptors launching new products at last year’s EBACE show, hullo Aircrew debuted its online crewing platform, designed to bring freelance and contract aircrew together with operators, quickly and reliably, helping crew members maximise hours, ensuring operators avoid cancellations, facilitating more flights and offering an efficient end-to-end payment service.
With a variety of other benefits included or offered, the platform has continued to expand, with in excess of 2,000 new members signing up since Geneva in 2018, bringing the total to more than 3,000.
Then, in April 2019, hullo Aircrew and Jet Aviation signed a long-term collaboration agreement including funding to enable hullo Aircrew to accelerate its technology development and, according to Elaine Lapotosky, Senior Director, Jet Staffing at Jet Aviation, “Enhance Jet Aviation’s staffing service offerings and customer experience.
“The hullo Aircrew platform available today will continue to be enhanced over the coming months under this new agreement. Additionally, we will further develop the platform for our Jet Aviation customers that we expect to be launching to the market in the fourth quarter this year.
“This agreement is for hullo Aircrew to develop their product so Jet Staffing can have a similar staffing and technology platform to enter new markets and improve customer access to our staffing services. We’re fine-tuning the layout now to better support the US marketplace.”
Edward Cousins, hullo Aircrew’s Director of Business Operations describes the collaboration with Jet Aviation as ‘incredibly exciting’. “It’s fantastic news for us, as a start-up, to be powering part of Jet Aviation’s operations, but our service offering in the last year has also grown.
“Our platform offers freelance aircrew placement, but we’re also offering permanent aircrew, and we’re looking after training records for some clients. Over the last 12 months we’ve added clients from the US across to Australia, from Europe down to Africa and everywhere in between.
“Our crew are spread globally throughout the platform, which makes it much easier for operators when they have aircraft on the move and need crew anywhere around the globe. Going through the system, they can see crew training records, helping then check against the various standards required depending on where their aircraft is.
“We’re seeing UK operators in particular going above and beyond the minimum requirements for Part-NCC training, which means the majority of the European crew in the system are trained above the minimum standard. With the member’s permission, operators can quickly access training records to ensure a crew member’s training is in compliance with their operations manuals.”
Cousins describes the hullo Aircrew platform’s freelance aircrew functionality as ‘exceptionally complicated behind the scenes’, but says: “Our in-house tech team has developed the system to be incredibly intuitive to use, which means our members love using it.
“Whether members are entirely freelance or just looking to fly in their spare time, the platform delivers a fully transparent market place. All the available roles are there to be viewed, applied for or selected for. They can also set their availability through a simple calendar, so they won’t be contacted for roles they aren’t available for.
“Then we have offers of training courses from leading suppliers, covering everything from ground school courses through to simulator training, all at competitive rates and available to freelance crew and operators.”
Hullo Aircrew’s operator and owner members post jobs free of charge, searching available crew on the system but with some of their data redacted. Once they’ve chosen crew for the job, the redaction is removed. There’s no subscription for the service, hullo Aircrew taking commission from both sides of the transaction whenever a job is completed.
Of the 3,000-plus members on the system, at least 45 are operators and, Cousins says: “We also have flight support companies, maintenance organisations, direct owners and brokers coming to us to find crew.” The crew available currently cover more than 130 aircraft types, from the Citation Mustang up to the BBJ and they are based at more than 190 airports. The statistics are impressive, and Cousins illustrates the system’s capability with a simple anecdote.
“One of our users told us they were busy colouring at the kitchen table with their child one weekend when they were asked to supply crew to cover sickness. Within 14 minutes of receiving the request, they’d found and crewed a pilot onto their flight. In an industry where it can take days to find a relevant person it was a fantastic user endorsement for us.”
Nonetheless, it’s clearly not in hullo Aircrews’ nature to rest on its laurels and later this year it plans to launch version two of its platform, including permanent crew recruiting functionality, acknowledging the additional requirements of finding permanent over freelance personnel. Cousins says other developments are also underway, including compatibility with Alexa and various APIs (application programming interfaces) for flight scheduling softwares, enabling users to ‘build flights’, add crew and then immediately find additional crew should there be a shortfall.
Sapphire Pegasus Business Aviation Awards 2019 nominations in the Service Provider and Innovation categories speak volumes for the wider perception of hullo Aircrew’s contribution to the industry.