Taking its cue from technology-savvy airlines like JetBlue and Southwest, XOJet set itself on a path to full capacity utilization. In aviation, "You have expensive airplanes and high-paid professional teams of people that support the operation of the airplanes," says CMO Nick Solinger, a former Oracle developer who oversees IT at XOJet, which launched in 2001. "Your ability to fly more trips per customer is the thing that makes the business."
Armed with a data warehouse of trip information -- what times of day and year people fly most -- Solinger and his team developed algorithms and set up a reporting infrastructure that keeps the company flying in a highly dynamic environment. "Every single day we get up, there is no schedule for the aircraft, and we have to go make a schedule out of all the requests that we get from the customers and figure out how to make it work," he says. The system lets XOJet schedule its maintenance of aircraft around peak loads and optimize flight schedules and routes so planes get in earlier to the destination airport to avoid traffic.
The upshot: XOJet went from flying 1,000 hours a year to its current rate of 1,200 hours a year, a 20% increase that basically doubled the profit per aircraft. "If I can fly 10 extra hours over what is in my budget, I will be more profitable," Solinger says. "Having this integration of all the key information helps me unlock these opportunities."
This was first published in November 2007