Flight-hailing start-up BlackBird secures $10m in funding

Flight-hailing start-up BlackBird secures $10m in funding

Mubasher: The days of road trips seem to be numbered, as taking to the air might be the ideal option considering the number of traffic jams in the world below. Chartering a private jet may no longer be a luxury reserved for the super-rich.

BlackBird, a startup which links travellers to planes and commercial pilots through an app, said on Tuesday that it had raised $10 million in funding from venture capital firm New Enterprises Associates (NEA).

The funding round would help make flights “accessible, convenient and affordable as driving,” BlackBird’s CEO Rudd Davis said in a blog post.

By using the application, passengers can join a prearranged flight, and buy seats on the flight, or they can charter a plane to travel and then pick a pilot from BlackBird’s pre-approved list of trained pilots.

Jonathan Golden, a partner at NEA and a veteran of Airbnb, will sit on BlackBird’s board.

“When flying is as accessible as driving, defying gravity becomes a reality,” Rudd said.

The chances for the startup to garner demand to drive down prices remains a question as prices for flights from Oakland to Las Vegas ranged from $99 to join an existing flight plan to more than $1,100 per seat for a passenger to charter their own plane.

In addition, getting enough airplanes and pilots onto BlackBird’s network remains another challenge, as most people do not own planes.

The startup sources most of its planes from flight clubs and existing networks like JetSuiteX.

Regulations pose another obstacle, as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) already grounded a few start-ups like AirPooler and Flytenow which tried designing a flight-sharing model through connecting private pilots to customers.