Nowadays, air charter operators continue to face a number of challenges. However, an air charter service provider can take off and land safely inside any market sector as along as he has a lucrative marketing strategy.

In order to develop an effective aviation marketing plan, it’s critically important to perform an accurate assessment of different market segments. This basically means to conduct a thorough market analysis which can give you valuable insights into potential target markets and competitors. This, in turn, will allow you to determine the size of the markets you’re considering entering along with how much of those markets is actually attainable and the behaviors required to drive sustainable business growth.

Though a market analysis can provide a clear picture of what kinds of services and products may bring profit, the worst possible move an air charter company can make is to rush hastily into market research. To make the most of your aviation marketing investment, you need to fine-tune your approach to analyzing markets. To help you with this difficult endeavor, here are the most important five questions any Part 135 operator should go through before beginning an aviation marketing analysis.

Q1: What is the size of the aviation market you intend to enter? Are there any opportunities for business growth?

A: Even if you have all the resources necessary to conduct a market analysis, you need to make sure the potential opportunities are worth the investment. If there’s no room for growth within a particular market segment, for instance, conducting a comprehensive market analysis makes no sense. The best strategy to expand your aviation business internationally and capture some really profitable growth opportunities is to focus on the world’s fastest growing aviation markets. One of these markets is China. Requiring about 70 million scheduled airline seats per year, Chinese demand for air travel is far exceeding the capacity of the airlines currently serving this market. Therefore, China’s GA sector represents a potent lure for many air charter service providers and a good base upon which Part 135 operators can expand.

Q2: Are there any other air charter companies operating in the market?

A: Finding a new market where there is no competition can be very difficult – and not necessarily desirable. Flourishing businesses in a particular market sector indicates the fact that there is a good chance of earning positive economic profits. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s ITA, 2,649 commercial aircrafts were operating in China at the end of 2015. But in its “China’s Current Market Outlook 2015,” Boeing predicted a need for 6,330 new aircrafts in the next 20 years. What’s more, “China’s domestic traffic [is expected to become] the world’s largest air-traffic market,” based on a new report.

Q3: Do your current products and services fit into potential target markets? Is there anything you can do to stand out and keep ahead of competition?

A: In addition to identifying a potential new market, sizing up your competitors and their position in that particular market is critical to your company’s success. By studying your competitors, not only will you get a clear picture of their strengths and weaknesses; you can also strategize ways to make the most of the things that set you apart from them. For instance, providing faster, more convenient, more affordable and more reliable services is a great strategy to overtake your competition.

Q4: Are you overestimating your reach?

A: It’s easy to assume that China’s GA industry needs the air charter solutions your company provides. But to get a more realistic picture, a better approach would be to study your target customers. Besides establishing the gaps your products and services can fill in a potential new market, reach out to small groups of potential customers and see if they’re willing to pay for your products and services.

Q5: What’s the main purpose of aviation marketing research?

A: Before diving into this topic, there is one small piece of advice we would like to give you: don’t fall into the trap of conducting research for research’s sake. Deciding on the next course of action you need to take after you complete the market analysis can help you determine exactly how you’ll implement your findings. As an example, some air charter operators use market research to expand into the global GA markets; others analyze markets to solve some common business problems and compete for more market share within a certain segment. Having a clear purpose from the very beginning will enable you to streamline the path toward achieving your short- and long-term business goals.

It’s very important not to think about these questions as a way to rule out air charter business growth. The answers to these questions could very well open up new insights and lead your air charter company toward finding new opportunities for expansion. Just like Mike Thorpe – the co-owner of Drones Plus, a company that has reached the top of the commercial drone middle-market ladder in just one and a half years – said, “business is all about managing growth.” But managing growth properly is possible only if you have an effective marketing plan.

For further insight into the best marketing strategies for air charter service providers, we invite you to get in touch with our aviation marketing experts at Blue Sky Innovations. In addition to helping you conduct a comprehensive aviation market analysis, our consultants will take what you’ve done over the past years to enrich your current marketing strategy and map a successful plan forward.

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Ana Fontes is the Executive Vice President and co-founder of Blue Sky Innovations Group. Ana is a multilingual native of Brazil and an American citizen. She has been working in cross-cultural markets for 27-years providing marketing and consulting services to many international and US-based companies. Ana can be reached at 972-294-5811.

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