Operations

FlightView Offers New Smart Phone App

Posted on February 16, 2010

A new Blackberry 8350i application enables customers to save flight information and get alerts on any new updates on their phones.

LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Allston, Mass-based FlightView Inc., a provider of real-time flight information solutions for the aviation and travel industry, now offers a smart phone application that delivers actionable flight information.

FlightView's Blackberry 8350i application was launched in late December 2009. Mike Benjamin, CEO, explained that while FlightView has always been able to work with Blackberry on its Web site. Blackberry customers using the application can save flight information and get alerts on any new updates, such as take-offs, landings, and delays on their phones.

"For the limo guys, what's exciting is that the Blackberry 8350i works with the "push to talk" feature which is really popular with limousine drivers. We also have an app that allows you to not just track the flights but also to enter them into a MyFlights list so they'll send you alerts," Benjamin added.

During the last year, FlightView started working with mobile applications. "It's a really exciting way of delivering particularly that real-time piece of information. We're working on the FlightTrack iPhone app, which is the leading iPhone application in the flight tracking space. We also have our own Palm application and a Blackberry application," Benjamin said. 

Smart phones have been FlightView's fastest growth area by far. "Each phone works a little differently, so you really have to figure out how to make your application work with the different phones," Benjamin said. "The beauty is that we have this database of all these flights. At any given moment there are about 20,000 planes in the air, and we know where they all are. Once you have that, it's just a matter of delivering it, but Blackberries work different than Palms, work different than iPhones, work different than Androids. In that sense the phone market is still maturing." 

In the ground transportation world, FlightView delivers real-time information in several different ways. The method that's been around the longest is the data feed, which usually integrates into scheduling reservation software. Fleet management software companies that integrate with FlightView include Aleph, Global Ground Automation (GGA), Limousine Management Systems (LMS), and Trip Tracker.

By integrating into the reservation software, FlightView is able to do two things: Confirm the reservation information at the time the customer makes it, and keep it updated on the details on the day of travel, such as whether the plane is scheduled to arrive on time, and to which terminal and gate.

One of the things that's important to the limousine market, Benjamin explains, is getting the accurate information on the airport, airline and flight number, information that the customer may not always have exactly right.

Real-time information also helps with driver scheduling. Benjamin recalled a conversation with an operator from the Portland, Ore. area who was waiting for a flight coming in from Europe. "We had the wrong estimated time of arrival, and about six hours before [the flight arrived], we fixed it."

He asked the operator whether six hours beforehand really made a difference. "He said in this case it did, because if [the flight] was coming in one hour early he was able to use one less driver, get one less driver out of bed. They're managing their whole day around these pickups and that allows them to both manage the individual drivers and sometimes limit the number of drivers they need to have overall."

— Nicole Schlosser, LCT Magazine 

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