Virgin Charter

Virgin Charter


Virgin Charter


Press Release

Virgin Charter Harnesses Technology to Offer Convenience and Efficiency in Private Aviation

New York, NY—June 12, 2007—Virgin USA, the North American headquarters of Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group, announced today the launch of Virgin Charter, a new online market place that brings convenience and efficiency to private aviation.

Virgin Charter is a full-service marketplace that brings together buyers who want to book private air travel with safety-rated charter operators. Through Virgin Charter, sellers make their inventory available to a large customer base without changing the way they currently do business, and buyers search for available aircraft, negotiate pricing, purchase private air travel, and manage their entire trip online. Virgin Charter does not own or operate aircraft, and it does not act as a broker.

The Virgin Charter team is led by founder and CEO Scott Duffy, a seasoned Internet executive and private aviation veteran who served as a managing director for one of the largest charter brokers of private aircraft in the world. The team also includes technology and aviation executives from Google, Expedia, eBay and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Said Duffy, "Virgin Charter's centralized marketplace will revolutionize private aviation by providing tremendous efficiencies to what has been a highly fragmented industry."

"The Virgin Group has a long track record in building businesses that offer brilliant customer service and product innovation," said Virgin USA CEO Frances Farrow. "We believe that Virgin Charter's success will also mean success for charter operators and flyers."

"From the time I met the Virgin Charter team, providing the highest standards for safety and quality has been their number one priority," said Jim Betlyon, CEO of Wyvern and CharterX. "We are pleased to be partnering with a firm that goes beyond lip service to bring unprecedented innovation to private aviation."

"We're really excited about Virgin Charter‘s potential in the market," said Sir Richard Branson. "Buckle up and prepare for a lot more exciting news from this impressive team of technology and aviation experts." The company has released a private invitation-only beta and plans to launch its public marketplace later this year.

About Virgin USA

Virgin ( is one of the world's most recognized and respected brands. Virgin USA oversees and is responsible for the expansion of the Virgin brand in North America, blasting into markets where the customer is underserved, offering value for money, good quality, innovation, exceptional customer service, fun and a sense of competitive challenge. Existing businesses include Virgin Atlantic Airways, the award-winning transatlantic airline; Virgin Mobile USA, the leading wireless youth network; Virgin Megastores, the groundbreaking music stores; and Virgin Comics, an entertainment and media company creating original stories and epic myths for worldwide audiences. Building upon the success of these businesses, Virgin USA continues to look for opportunities in North America where it can offer something better, fresher and more valuable to consumers.

About Virgin Charter

Virgin Charter ( is an online marketplace that brings together private aviation buyers and sellers. Virgin Charter brings unprecedented efficiency, transparency and convenience to the industry. The company is privately held and headquartered in Santa Monica, Calif.



Branson's online charter plane service launches, By Kenneth Li - 4th March 2008
(Credit: Reuters)

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Richard Branson's first charter plane experience gave him the idea to start commercial airline company Virgin Atlantic Airways.

Some 25 years after the British entrepreneur chartered a private jet to fly 50 passengers and himself from the Beef Island, Tortola airport to Puerto Rico after their original flight was canceled, Branson will launch on Tuesday Virgin Charter, an online service to charter private aircraft.

Branson said the new business will court the approximate $30 billion market for booking private air travel by letting operators market availability and allowing customers to bid and book online.

He aims to make booking charter flights as easy as booking commercial flights on services such as Expedia, an online travel booking service.

Scott Duffy, Virgin Charter Chief Executive, said the new service is a combination of three of the best ideas on the Internet: the user and seller reviews provided by online auctioneer eBay Inc; Priceline's ability to let consumers offer their own bids on flights and the simplicity of Expedia Inc and Travelocity.

"They (charter operators) will have to get quality right," Branson said in an interview.

"They can't just get away with it (bad service) anymore," Branson said, recounting one recent flight from San Francisco to Los Angeles on a chartered jet that he described as "dire" after a glass of water crashed into his head while he napped.

Most charter flights are currently booked by phone through a broker in a process that can take the assistants of millionaires, celebrities and business travelers as long as a week to complete, executives said.

Virgin Charter, majority owned by Virgin USA, aims to bring a level of transparency and simplicity to a business that does not exist today.

The company launches in the United States, but will be expanded to other regions soon, Branson said.

Virgin Charter is targeting the 2,500 operators of private aviation companies as well as thousands of U.S. customers who currently pay brokers or have to dial-up dozens of operators by phone before booking a flight.

Booking through Virgin Charter's site will shave some 20 percent off the cost of traditional methods by cutting out the broker, a Virgin Charter executive said, as well as days off of the process.

Moreover, the company said its service lets operators maximize bookings and fuel consumption by offering them a way to market flights that are returning empty from an outbound or return flight on an already-booked trip, under a section called "hot deals" on the site.

As part of the launch, Virgin Charter has struck a partnership with Travelocity Business to offer its service to Travelocity's business clients, Virgin said.

Duffy said the company is participating only with operators who have been screened by the company for safety and quality. At launch the service will offer access to about 100 operators, with access to 1,000 private planes.

The service competes with traditional brokers as well as companies that let frequent flyers invest in the jets with other partners.

Well-known for his grand entrances -- just this week he jumped off the Hilton hotel in India to launch Virgin Mobile in the region -- Branson arrived in New York for a round of press interviews quietly on a charter flight booked by his secretary.

With the new service, "She will be able to pick the best price," Branson said.

Virgin Charter can be found at



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Media Man Australia does not represent Virgin Charter

Media Man Australia is in talks with Virgin Charter