Flapper, considered the first boutique private airline in Brazil, has announced its intention to open Mexican operations in the second quarter of 2020. The company cites a large domestic market and low utilization of technology as the key motives behind selecting Mexico as its first international market. Paul Malicki, Flapper’s CEO, is confident that it will leave a permanent positive impact on the local business aviation scene. Mexican market is attractive for us for a number of reasons, including large domestic fleet, proximity to the US and an existence of a private aviation hub in Toluca Airport, says Malicki. At the same time the faces the same challenges as Brazil, with little utilization of technology and large fragmentation of air taxi segment. Our intention is to turn private aviation into the mainstream travel option and increase the size of the existing market – he continued.
More than 35 percent of the customers of Flapper never flew private before, according to Malicki. By offering seats in general aviation aircraft and simplifying the charter booking process, Flapper claims to increase the use of such services, especially among corporations and end clients. The app, which currently counts 160 thousand users in Brazil, is yet to be localized to Spanish language and the local currency – the key project that the company undertook for 2020.
As of today, Flapper has already registered its first 10 air taxi operators and is in advance discussions with the Mexican investors who will finance its expansion. It evaluates the size of the market to be of around 700 million dollars. Its plans include offering high-season flights between Toluca and Acapulco, as well as offering “empty legs” across the country. The proprietary quotation system will be used by charter clients who can receive prices in real-time.
In Brazil, Flapper has so far transported more than 10,000 customers. Out of more than 450 helicopters and airplanes homologated for commercial operations in the South American nation, it currently commercializes 350 aircraft and follows its own safety-audit processes. Flapper also highlighted its association with Wyvern – a milestone it achieved in December. The certificate is awarded to brokers and air taxi operators who comply with international operational safety standards, generally considered superior to those of local civil aviation authorities.
Flapper's most popular destinations are located along the coastline of São Paulo. Strategically located between Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, cities such as Angra dos Reis, Paraty, Ilhabela, or Juquehy are a perfect target for high net worth individuals - many of them owning yachts and condominiums or visiting the region’s upscale hotels. The route to Angra dos Reis is the most popular, as the company expands its scheduled weekly flights, which departs from Campo de Marte Executive Airport in São Paulo. The Caravan Grand-based flight costs less than US$ 300 per person, offering a space for up to 9 passengers.
Despite Brazil being its main market, Flapper states that it has already made several flights in neighboring countries and intends to increase its offer in Spanish-speaking Latin America.