Kyle Patel, Executive Director of BitLux, the first private jet company to adopt a cryptocurrency-focused model, shares his vision about how digital currencies — amid recent turmoil in the U.S. — continue playing a prevalent role in business aviation demand.
We live today in an ecosystem where tighter regulations are a norm after cryptocurrencies in the U.S. were hit by high-profile bankruptcies that generated uncertainties among digital currency investors.
Does that mean that crypto-fueled private jet demand has dropped in the last few months? Not even close, as those using crypto to charter a private flight understand that by doing so, they’re exponentially increasing their odds of a time-efficient experience by not having to rely on the usual fiat-based infrastructure with poor service hours.
In fact, for BitLux, more than 50% of flights in 2022 were booked using crypto, and that number has not decreased after the recent industry turmoil.
Relying on banking hours will not go the distance for private jet passengers. Monday to Friday, from 9 to 5. What happens to unexpected flights during the weekend, considering that large sums are involved? Massive transaction fees, merchant fees, processing fees, fraud prevention, and an entire array of systems that provide a service but can be ultimately cumbersome.
The financial freedom, efficiency, privacy, security, and accuracy provided by cryptocurrency are unique and explain the increase in its use to charter private flights. Those same traits are shared by this aviation segment.
Most crypto users seek a safe, secure, anonymous, efficient, and convenient payment method. Non-coincidentally, there is an identical expectation for private jet passengers for their travel experience. Connecting both worlds with the same language is therefore vital.
“Currency as we know it, the idea and concept itself, is changing for many people and we have been working for years to develop the proper infrastructure and internal processes to facilitate exactly that. Not just for our payments, but our philosophy.”
For crypto users, it is still more about ownership and control of their finances without intermediary interruption, less dependence on others, and taking a sense of pride in managing the overall narrative.
The previous facts are relevant considering the aviation industry relies on archaic methods and commodities to operate. With flight logbooks still handwritten, and an overall infrastructure-reliant industry, the new-minded players willing to innovate and adapt to modern trends are bridging that gap between modern-day financial tech and outdated services. Sure, this requires investment in technology, specifically targeted to the user experience, a historically abandoned piece within private aviation.
Modern aircraft and top-notch facilities are important and a great start, but a slow business model will not go the distance. Technology and flexibility will. Being able to pay for a flight on the spot with cryptocurrencies is an open invitation to a whole new realm of customers that only a select few private aviation providers who are willing to adapt will get a piece of the crypto travel pie.
Why on-demand charter is best suited for crypto
With utmost flexibility and without long-term commitments as private jet cards and other membership models in the industry, on-demand private aviation adapts to crypto because of its one-off nature. With no strings attached and the possibility to control the travel experience by choosing any type of aircraft for a flight, crypto users ultimately decide how to fly.
Other forms of private aviation offer a fixed fleet of aircraft and a long-term commitment based on several flying hours (and good luck getting out of that deal).
How about owning an aircraft? Well, the travel industry is not fully evolved. When a client uses crypto to account for all the costs of owning an aircraft, most of the infrastructure still requires paying services in fiat. This includes but is not limited to, paychecks, fuel bills, handling bills, taxes, etc. In other words, if paying with crypto is what you want, relying on the few on-demand private charter companies that accept any type of digital currency is the way to go.
The pandemic allowed the industry to break demand records, especially during 2022, with a shift in consumer behavior and expectations surrounding the industry. New frequent flyers won’t be going back to first-class commercial anytime soon and we fully expect that many will continue paying for their private jet charter using crypto. Recent turmoil has added uncertainty to the discussion, yet those savvy crypto adopters will continue exchanging what they earn for what they want – time efficiency by using a crypto-fueled private jet charter.