Kathryn B. Creedy.
Aviation Ready for Cryptocurrencies?
Monarch Air Group says yes.
ryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin have
been getting a lot of press lately; first for an expansive bubble and lately for
a dramatic crash in value. But despite that, Monarch Air Group thinks business
aviation should consider accepting cryptocurrencies.
“We see it as a must have
for 2018 and beyond for private jet providers,” MAG Executive Director
told BlueSky. “The private jet market has the volume, needs and
transaction size to support its ascending use. Therefore it’s not an
understatement to project a steady growth in flights booked through Bitcoin,
although there’s hardly enough data to decisively support the statement since
the whole trend in cryptocurrencies movement is still on a developing curve.
"But one thing is certain,
cryptocurrencies’ digital nature mesh very well with today’s digital charter
booking systems, allowing customers to click their way to their next destination
without a middleman in the process.”
The move was in response
to a trend Monarch Air Group saw in the market - the use of
cryptocurrencies for booking private flights, especially during the
last three months.
“We are constantly
evolving and offering our clients easier ways to charter and whether
you agree to it or not, cryptocurrency is a reality,” Gitman said.
“The move was aimed
towards customer service, accessibility and customization. We
identified a large group of people interested in using
cryptocurrency to acquire real services such as aircraft chartering.
We looked into it and learned how to accept it.
"I was surprised just
how easy it was to set up. The announcement we’d accept Bitcoin,
triggered interest from clients. We had a lively discussion in the
office and there were split between naysayers and those who have
invested. In fact, one of our biggest advocates for Bitcoin was an
account manager who had invested and received a request for it.”
MAG Executive Director
Monarch provides on-demand air
charter and private jet solutions for Fortune 500 companies, government agencies
and high-net-worth individuals around the globe. Through a network of
subsidiaries and joint venture agreements, it has broadened its market which now
includes the United Nations, the US and Canadian defense departments, the World
Food Programme, and various NGOs which speaks to its high standards that must
pass multi-government regulatory rigor.
“It’s been an interesting
development to see how our clients are starting to experience this new payment
method,” said Gitman. “Traditional transactions still account for the vast
majority of our flights; whether by card, check or wire, and will continue to do
so in the upcoming years. Our clients asked for this possibility and we
delivered, now it’s up to them to continue driving the record growth of the
In responding to a question about
Bitcoin’s volatility, Gitman admitted Fort Lauderdale, FL-based MAG has only
done a single transaction - a Cirrus SR-22 flight between Allegheny County
Airport in Pennsylvania and a small airport in Massachusetts.
“Once we accept Bitcoin as
payment, it is entirely up to the company to decide whether to keep the funds in
cryptocurrency or convert to a more conventional currency,” he said. ”If the
company decides to keep the funds in cryptocurrency it’s a corporate investment
decision not related to any particular transaction, just as if the company would
have decided to buy cryptocurrency. As a company, Monarch does not make any
speculative investments. We think providers should keep an open mind, especially
considering the high fluctuation in the crypto coin prices; its unstable nature
will prevent some clients to continuously use it as the primary paying method.”
But that means business aviation
companies need to be savvy investors watching cryptocurrency markets as they
would any other such investment. Investors are told again and again to invest
for the long-term and over time, they will be rewarded. Thus, it is likely that
will also be the case for cryptocurrencies.
The first bitcoin-powered flight
was recorded in January 2014 when Belgian tech entrepreneur and bitcoin
millionaire, Oliver Janssens, flew from Brussels to Nice Cote D'Azur on a flight
booked through UK booking platform, PrivateFly. In November 2017, Swiss
charter and management company, Premium Jet, announced that they would be
accepting charter flight payments in bitcoin and shortly afterwards (in December
2017) 'All-You-Can Fly' airline, Surf Air, made a similar declaration.
“That is the entire philosophy
behind business aviation,” he said. “The whole industry is about making it
easier on the customer. I think cryptocurrencies have propelled this market to
new heights, giving clients a swifter, secure and universal transaction system.
Speed and security are the main assets of such cryptocurrencies as Bitcoin and
Ethereum. This provides a win-win situation for business aviation providers and
clients; the charter company doesn’t have to rely on business hours to receive a
transaction and the passenger will have its payment processed in no more than 30
About the Author
Kathryn B. Creedy is a veteran aviation
journalist and author who has covered almost every facet of commercial and
She began her aviation work focusing on
regional airlines in the immediate post-deregulation period. She founded
Commuter/Regional Airline News in 1982 building it to become the bible of the
industry. Kathryn has written for Forbes Online and is the author of Time Flies
- The History of SkyWest Airlines in which she chronicled the post-deregulation
history of the US regional airline industry.
Kathryn’s byline has been seen in all of
the top aviation publications. Her talents migrated to the web, when she
returned to the editorship of C/R News - then called Regional Aviation News - in
2005 and took over editorial management of AviationToday.com. In addition, she
founded the VLJ Report, covering the emerging very light jets in the business
Kathryn’s work has covered the abandonment
of over 400 communities driven by changes in the US airline industry and she
sees tremendous opportunities to fill the void in intra-state and intra-regional
air transport. She has not seen this much activity in this segment of regional
transportation since the 1980s.
welcomes your comments:
BlueSky Business Aviation News | 8th February
2018 | Issue #450